Nearly every writer has the disappointing experience of receiving a rejection letter. With my book PRINCESS, which has gone on to sell many millions of copies and is still selling, my agent at the time received 10 or 12 rejection letters, while only two editors/publishers (WILLIAM MORROW and ST. MARTIN’S PRESS) who were interested in the book. Some of those editors who finally rejected the book called me to chat about the book and the princess. I remember one editor telling me, “Well, no one really cares about a Saudi princess, so I’ll have to pass.” I heard later that she lost her job because she rejected PRINCESS, which became a huge bestseller in many countries. Over the years I’ve discovered a number of editors who are gems, all women in fact, who love the books I write and do the best they can for me. But most editors are just like the rest of us, and they make decisions on their personal likes and dislikes in a book. Also, there is a lot of fear in the business of making a mistake by buying the rights to a book that does not do well. So, a lot depends upon their decision. However, when we read the stories of really famous authors whose books sell worldwide in the millions, it is a shock how often such books are dismissed as being unworthy of publishing. I had one editor reject ESTER’S CHILD because she told me that she didn’t “Like nice Arabs taking a central role in a book!” I was shocked that she let her prejudices interfere with a business decision. ANYHOW, it’s interesting to read this blog written by one of the greatest bloggers online. I think you’ll enjoy it, too.
For any aspiring writer, a rejection letter, regardless of the provenience of said letter, is one of the most dreaded of objects. In this line of work getting rejected is considered a sort of literary murder – people are knowingly destroying something you’ve spent time on, and a lot of it. But the thing is everyone got rejected, more or less. I can think of very few instances when writers found publishers/agents from the first try. Or the second, or the tenth.
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