If you’re turning to self-publishing as a result of endless rejection letters and demoralizing by traditional publishing companies, don’t let it get to you. We’ve all been there, you’ll find it difficult to talk to one author who hasn’t had their work rejected by the editors they dreamed of working with, however it is up to you to show them that they made a mistake, and there is no doubt in the world that they do make mistakes. Take, for example, William Golding, the author of Lord of the Flies. The book was published in 1954 after being rejected by 20 different publishers and Faber and Faber decided to take a chance on it. The book was slow coming after being published and soon went out of print before it had a revival in the 1960s and became required reading in many schools and colleges. The novel has sold millions of copies and become a household name, while it has also been adapted to film twice in English and once in Filipino. What’s more, patient author William Goldberg won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983 and was even appointed a Knight Bachelor by Her Majesty the Queen in 1988. Now if that isn’t literary success, I’m not sure what is. We bet those publishers kicked themselves after learning of his success.
One particular author was rejected 12 times by various publishers until the daughter of one of the editors refused to give her manuscript back for the book to be rejected. This little girl gave J. K. Rowling her big break as Bloomsbury agreed to publish her work, but not before warning her that she better find herself a day job, as she had no chance of making it as a children’s author. That stubborn editor couldn’t have been more wrong, however, as the Harry Potter series of books are some of the best-selling novels of all time, and the final four novels consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history. And it doesn’t just stop there, with authors including L.M. Montgomery, E.E. Cummings, Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell are amongst some of the greatest writers to have been rejected by publishers too obstinate to see their clear talent.
But you might be surprised to learn that the self-publishing revolution has long been a solution to first time authors’ publishing woes, as no other than Beatrix Potter and Marcel Proust both self-published their first novels; respectively The Tales of Peter Rabbit and In Search of Lost Time, in order for them to gain the attention they deserved. And who could imagine a childhood without Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle Duck, or the literary world without a Proust to refer to? Exactly. So what if the publishers rejected you, they rejected so many other people too, and it only made them stronger.