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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bad Books

James Joyce's Dubliners was rejected by 22 editors.

Dr. Seuss's first story was rejected by 27 editors (and called silly nonsense to boot).

Navokov's Lolita was rejected by more than 40 editors.

Famously, John Gardner wrote: "One should fight like the devil the temptation to think well of editors....By the nature of their profession they read too much, with the result they grow jaded and cannot recognize talent though it dances in front of their eyes."


Anonymous said...

Well, I take your points about my rejection letter, but if you only knew how rare it is that an etire manuscript is read in this industry--and read with care... Anyway, the role of agent is not to act as advisor or soundboard. Writers contact agents when they want to get their work published and in the best of worlds, agents are able to help with that. It is sad to say that so many manuscripts I receive are so terrible that I can't get through 3 pages, let alone 300. In the end, a writer is best served by an agent who is passionate about the work so that they will work hard to get it out there and make it possible for the writer to keep doing what they love to do. I once received a mainstream mystery from someone looking for an agent to represent it. He already had an offer from a publisher and wanted me to negotiate the contract. The manuscript was so boring and bad, that I rejected it. I knew he would have no trouble finding someone else and I felt good about my decision. Hold out for an advocate of your work. Everyone has an ideal audience they are writing for--however large, however small.

Writer, Rejected said...

It is very disturbing that anyone with a computer thinks he/she can write a book, which means you read a lot of bad stuff. Clearly being an agent is no walk in the park. I admire that good agents and editors have a kind of persistent sparky belief(against all odds) that the next manuscript is going to be a great sellable work they've been waiting for all their careers; there's a talent and tenacity in that kind of faith, too, and it's what makes the publishing world go round. Also, you seem like a good egg.

Wisewebwoman said...

Tumbled into your blog via That's so Pants and have bookmarked it for more thorough reading.
I've enjoyed what I've seen so far.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Of course, except for THIS editor *laughing* -- but maybe because I was and am a write first and an editor by accident!

Kathryn Magendie said...

I just read the comment from the agent -- *smiling*

I've had my ms read by a few agents - every one said I was a talented writer and my characters compelling and etc--I did recieve comments to be most proud of, I suppose - and I suppose I should feel happy to have my entire ms read by agents and get those great comments....but in the end, it's still rejection *boo hoo hoo wahhh! sob* (laughing...)ah well - that's life! Can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen - that's the attitude I have to have and do have -- if not today, then tomorrow

"After all, Rhett, tomorrah is anothah day.... and as gawd as my weet-ness ah'll nevah go hongry agin...."

Crystal said...

Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected 121 times before going on to be accepted and is now published in twenty-seven languages, has sold millions of copies and has been described as the most widely read philosophy book, ever.

That's inspiration!

Writer, Rejected said...

I like those gummy bears!