As a writer, I was very intrigued to find that some authors who were rejected during the beginning stages of their career eventually ended up becoming critically-acclaimed writers. I never realized that some of the greatest writers of all time also had to face critique. This certainly helped put things into perspective. This list of top authors who were rejected at least once during their careers as writers may shock you!
1. J.K. Rowling
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
As one of the most famous authors who were rejected, I think that this news took the world by storm when it was first announced by J.K. Rowling herself. Rowling's fan base is so expansive and diverse that it is hard to believe that there was ever a time where people were not fans of the “Harry Potter” series. She once stated in an interview that the reason why she never allowed the criticism from publishers stop her from writing was because she needed the money to take care of her family. This is highly admirable!
2. Harper Lee
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
“To Kill a Mockingbird” is one of my favorite novels of all time. Did you know that Harper Lee's fascinating book faced rejection before finally sealing the deal a few days later? Reading this in the 6th grade cemented my desire to one day become a published author.
3. Shel Silverstein
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
I was incredibly shocked when I learned that the work of this famed poet has not always been so well-received. After the initial rejection, Silverstein went on to write some of the most famous poems in his book “The Giving Tree”.
4. Lucy Maud Montgomery
“Humor is the spiciest condiment in the feast of existence. Laugh at your mistakes but learn from them, joke over your troubles but gather strength from them, make a jest of your difficulties but overcome them.”
I have always been a large fan of the “Anne of Green Gables” book series. It is very inspiring to see that Lucy Maud Montgomery fueled the publisher's dislike of her writing into what is now universally agreed to be an incredibly successful franchise. I am relieved that the denial of her publishing request did not discourage this talented writer.
5. Herman Melville
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.”
The ingenious ambiguity found in Herman Melville's “Moby Dick” makes it hard to believe that he was ever met with less than the applause of an enthusiastic audience. One of my favorite works by this amazing author is “Bartleby the Scrivener”. I never get tired of reading the hilarious line “I would prefer not to.”
6. Margaret Mitchell
“Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect.”
Author of the cult-classic “Gone With the Wind” was not always at the top of the list of widely celebrated authors. Can you imagine a world where this novel (or the film adaptation) does not exist? With insightful lines like the one featured above, I certainly can't!
7. Kathryn Stockett
“Wasn't that the point of the book? For women to realize, we are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought.”
The novel by the final author on this list inspired an Oscar-nominated film adaptation. Kathryn Stockett's book “The Help” deals with realistic themes and settings during the 1960s. How could anyone not be utterly moved by the strong message of friendship and equality embedded into the very core of this novel?
The biggest inspiration that you can take from this list is the fact that none of these authors gave up on their dream. Rather than bowing in the face of defeat, they faced fear and criticism head on, eventually coming out on top! Were you surprised by any of the authors on this list?