Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

Your favorite writers may seem like literary gods now, but at one time, they were just struggling, starving artists looking for their big break. The Onion asked several famous authors to describe their biggest rejections, and this is what they said.

Advertisement

2 / 19

R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“Nobody would publish my 40,000-page Goosebumps manifesto, so I had to break it down into 235 smaller books.”

Advertisement

3 / 19

Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“Sure, I’m successful now, but when I was in high school, I got cut from the varsity writing team.”

Advertisement

4 / 19

Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“We had a hell of a time getting All The President’s Men published...but then Nixon ordered the Watergate break-in, and everything just kind of fell into place.”

Advertisement

5 / 19

J.D. Salinger

J.D. Salinger

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“No one was interested in The Catcher In The Rye until I explained to them that it would eventually make the assassination of John Lennon much more interesting.”

Advertisement

6 / 19

Stephen King

Stephen King

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“I wanted to be cast in bronze and displayed as a permanent exhibit at my town’s Halloween parade, but the mayor said no.”

Advertisement

7 / 19

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“I wrote about 15 manifestos before it finally clicked.”

Advertisement

8 / 19

Judy Blume

Judy Blume

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“The first publisher I submitted Forever to turned it down flat, claiming it ‘failed to comply with their submission guidelines that require no special fonts or characters in manuscripts.’ That stung, but it didn’t stop me from believing in the book.”

Advertisement

9 / 19

Jack London

Jack London

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“I sent The Call Of The Wild to every publisher I could find, still none would have it. Only after the rejections did I get the idea to make the book about a sled dog, and not a naked man named Rupert running about on all fours in the Yukon.”

Advertisement

10 / 19

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“I spelled my name wrong on my book and when I submitted a request for the publisher to add the ‘n,’ they said ‘No.’”

Advertisement

11 / 19

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“I had to shop The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe to seven publishers. Or wait. Sorry, I’m thinking of C.S. Lewis. That was his book.”

Advertisement

12 / 19

George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“I have two completed Game Of Thrones manuscripts on my computer, but I can’t convince anyone to take them.”

Advertisement

13 / 19

Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“I was so stung by one publisher’s rejection of Lolita based on that character’s age, I ended up lowering it from 82 to 12.”

Advertisement

14 / 19

J.D. Vance

J.D. Vance

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“Sorry, but I wouldn’t know what rejection feels like.”

Advertisement

15 / 19

Alex Comfort

Alex Comfort

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“My first version of The Joy of Sex was actually called Sex Is Bad And Does Not Feel Good. I did a couple rewrites, and the rest is history.”

Advertisement

16 / 19

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“After The Satanic Verses, I tried making it up to the Ayatollah by writing a novel about him called Ayatollah’s Big Day. Unfortunately, he hated that one, too, which really bummed me out considering all the work I had put into it.”

Advertisement

17 / 19

Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“After spending so many Tuesdays with him, it broke my heart to have to do that to Morrie, but the suits at Penguin said it just didn’t work with the old man alive.”

Advertisement

18 / 19

Jason Peterson

Jason Peterson

Illustration for article titled Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections

“All of my books have been rejected so far actually. That’s why you’ve never heard of me.”

Advertisement

19 / 19