Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

January 21, 2012

Famous Rejection Letters – Part Two

In a previous post, I gave a list of famous rejection letters.

As I said in my first post, publishers claim that their rejections are not necessarily based on value judgments.  But it makes you wonder. How did they arrive at the decision to turn down these famous pieces of work?

Margaret Mitchell received “that” letter 38 times. The book? Gone With The Wind.

James Joyce’s Dubliners was rejected 22 times! And even after it was published, only 379 copies were sold in its first year. To make matters worse, Mr. Joyce admitted that he purchased 120 of those copies himself.

So here are some additional rejections of famous works.

“A very bad book.” Told to Pierre Boulle about his “Bridge Over River Kwai”

“The book is not publishable.’ regarding – “Who Killed Viriginia Wolfe?”

“…too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling” told to Dr. Seuss, about his book And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.

“This is a work of almost-genius – genius in the power of its expression – almost in the sense of its enormous bitterness. I wish there were an audience for a book of this kind. But there isn’t. It won’t sell.” told to Ayn Rand about her book The Fountainhead

“Jonathan Livingston Seagull will never make it as a paperback” the book written by Richard Bach ended up selling more than 8 million copies.

“…she is a painfully dull, inept, clumsy, undisciplined, rambling and thoroughly amateurish writer whose every sentence, paragraph and scene cries for the hand of a pro. She wastes endless pages on utter trivia, writes wide-eyed romantic scenes …hauls out every terrible show biz cliché in all the books, lets every good scene fall apart in endless talk and allows her book to ramble aimlessly …” The author was Jacqueline Susann and the book was “Valley of the Dolls”

“An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would “take”…I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book’.” This was written about The War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells. Here is another wonderful critique Mr. Wells received about The Time Machine; “It is not interesting enough for the general reader and not thorough enough for the scientific reader.”

“It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.” Was in the rejection letter that Ernest Hemingway received regarding his novel “The Torrents of Spring”

“an absurd and uninteresting fantasy,” regarding Lord of the Flies

And probably the most ironic rejection is:

“You’d have a decent book if you’d get rid of that Gatsby Character.” told to F. Scott Fitzgerald.

So stick with it. Maybe one day you can flaunt their rejection letters when your book hits the bestseller list.


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