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Louis L’Amour, successful author of more than one hundred western novels with more than two hundred million copies in print, received 350 rejections before he made his first sale. He later became the first American novelist to receive a special congressional gold medal in recognition of this distinguished career as an author and contributor to the nation through his historically based books.
Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by twenty-seven publishers. The twenty-eighth publisher, Vanguard Press, sold six million copies of the book. All of Seuss’s children’s books went on to sell a total of more than one hundred million copies.
Margaret Mitchell’s classic Gone With the Wind was turned down by more than twenty-five publishers.
Mary Higgins Clark was rejected forty times before selling her first story. More than thirty million copies of her books are now in print.
Chicken Soup for the Soul was turned down by Thirty-three publishers in New York and another ninety at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California, before Health Communications, Inc., finally agreed to publish it. All the major New York publishers said, “It is too nicey-nice” and “Nobody wants to read a book of short little stories.” Since that time, more than eight million copies of the original book have been sold. The series, which has grown to thirty-two titles, in thirty-one languages, has sold more than fifty-three million copies.
Jack London received six hundred rejection slips before he sold his first story.
Eight years after his novel Steps won the National Book Award, Jerzy Kosinski permitted a writer to change his name and the title and send a manuscript of the novel to thirteen agents and fourteen publishers to test the plight of new writers. They all rejected it, including Random House, which had published it.
Novelist Carson McCullers endured three strokes before she was twenty-nine. While she was crippled, partially paralyzed, and in constant pain, she suffered the profound shock of her husband’s suicide. Others may have surrendered to such afflictions, but she settled for writing no less than a page a day. On that unrelenting schedule, she turned out many distinguished novels, including Member of the Wedding, The Ballad of the Sad Café and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.