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10 famous books that were initially rejected by publishers



  •  Writing a book is hard work, and many aspiring writers are almost ready to quit after a publisher rejection or two. We want to tell them: "Don't give up!" You will be shocked to learn how many world famous books (and writers) have gone through setbacks on their way to literary stardom.

  •  Even the best-selling authors of all time, such as J.K. Rowling and Stephen King, who can now swim in the money like Scrooge McDuck in gold, have received numerous nos from book publishers.

  •  We present you the top 10 famous books that were initially rejected by publishers.

10 Dune, Frank Herbert

  •  Dune, first published as a standalone book in 1965, is today considered one of the most popular science fiction works. George Lucas has admitted that Dune was one of the inspirations for Star Wars.

  •  But on the way to fame, Herbert's novel was repeatedly rejected by publishers. Since 1963, it has been serialized in the Analog Science Fiction magazine, and even won the prestigious Hugo Award, but publishers were in no hurry to release Dune as a book. They did not like that Herbert's work was too long and old-fashioned, and the characters seemed too implausible. Only a small publishing house "Chilton Books" decided to publish "Dune" in the form of a single work.

  •  There are currently six published novels in the Dune universe. And in 2020 (or in 2021, if the premiere date is shifted due to the coronavirus), the film "Dune" directed by Denis Villeneuve should be released. It will replace the not-too-successful version of the 1984 film directed by David Lynch.

9. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

  •  Nabokov's masterpiece had difficulty finding a publisher because many considered the book too obscene for public consumption.

  •  One editor wrote: “This is sickening, even for an enlightened Freudian. For the public it will be disgusting. It won't sell and will cause immeasurable damage to a growing reputation... I recommend burying it under a rock for a thousand years."

8 Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell

  •  This novel was written by American writer Margaret Mitchell, who worked as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal but had to leave her job in 1926 due to a physical injury. Her husband gave her a typewriter so that Margaret would dispel her boredom. Who knew that this simple step would be the first on the road to world fame?

Despite dozens of publisher rejections, the epic about the American Civil War, which took away the youth and carelessness of Scarlett O'Hara, was able to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1937, and became the basis for the creation of one of best movies of all time.

7. Lord of the Flies, William Golding

  •  One of the rejection letters sent to Golding read: "An absurd and uninteresting fantasy that is boring nonsense." But this is said about a work that critics later called one of the most important books of the XNUMXth century.

  •  In the end, Faber & Faber agreed to publish the book, but with one condition. The author had to remove the first few pages, which described the horrors of nuclear war. Only the nightmares of human nature remained.

  •  In 1983, William Golding received the Nobel Prize in Literature for Lord of the Flies. And in 2005, the novel was included in the top 100 best works in English since 1923 according to Time magazine.

6. "Frankenstein or Modern Prometheus" by Mary Shelley

  •  Surprisingly, the author of the book about the chemist Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created from dead flesh was an 18-year-old girl. Moreover, the work was written on a bet: one rainy evening, Shelley, her husband Percy and their friend Lord Byron gathered by the fireplace and argued who would write the best work about the supernatural. From that day on, Mary began her work on Frankenstein, which became the world's first gothic novel.

  •  The first copy of Frankenstein, published in 1818 by the small publishing house Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mayor & Jones, was limited to 500 copies, and Shelley's name was not even on the cover. She had to wait 13 years, until 1831, to see the commercial success of her book.

  •  Today, Frankenstein's Monster is one of the most iconic figures in horror history, perhaps second only to Dracula.

5. Carrie, Stephen King

  •  Stephen King's first published novel, Carrie, hit bookstores on April 5, 1974, but its road to publication wasn't as easy as you might think.

  •  At first, "Carrie" was supposed to be a short story, but after writing only three pages, King threw it in the trash. Luckily, his wife took out a draft and advised her husband to turn Carrie into a novel. But that was not the end of King's suffering. Ahead were the refusals of book publishers.

  •  One rejection letter stated: “We are not interested in science fiction that deals with negative utopias. They are not for sale."

  •  When Doubleday Publishing agreed to publish the book in hardcover, King was overjoyed and used his $2500 advance to buy a new car.

4. Animal Farm, George Orwell

  •  This world-famous book was rejected by several publishers for fear of upsetting relations between Britain, the US and the Soviet Union.

  •  And even when the novel was published, Orwell was criticized. George Soule wrote in The New Republic that Animal Farm "perplexed and saddened me. Turned out to be boring overall. Allegory turned out to be a creaky machine for awkwardly saying what could be said better directly.

3. A Crack in Time by Madeleine L'Engle


  •  Having crossed the 40-year mark without much literary success, Madeleine L'Engle almost gave up writing. But after a 10-week camping trip, she found inspiration to create A Wrinkle in Time. It has become one of the best books in the genre of children's fantasy.

2. "The Diary of Anne Frank", Anne Frank

  •  Jewish girl Anne Frank and her family were sent to a concentration camp after they were arrested by the Gestapo in 1944. Anna's father, Otto Frank, was the only surviving member of the family. When he was given his daughter's diary, he decided to publish it.

  •  This true story reveals the threats that Jews had to face during Nazi Germany. Although Anna was murdered at the age of 15, this book remains an upbeat story despite the terrible ordeal the girl went through.

  •  One of the publishers, who refused to publish the diary, said of him: “The girl, it seems to me, does not have a special perception or feeling that would raise this book above the level of “curious”.”

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling

  •  JK Rowling's debut novel sold more than 107 million copies, but this success might not have happened if it weren't for Alice Newton, the eight-year-old daughter of Bloomsbury founder Nigel Newton. She found the first chapter of the novel and asked her father to read the rest of the book, which Bloomsbury subsequently agreed to publish.

  •  Fun fact: The publisher was concerned that Rowling's book was a "boys' book" and the initials of J.K. Rowling appeared on the covers of the first Harry Potter books so that the male audience would not be prejudiced against the stories written by a woman.

  •  Rowling was also advised to take a day job rather than rely on writing as a career, and was only given £2500 as an advance. We all know what happened next: the books and then the film series about the Boy Who Lived brought J.K. Rowling worldwide fame. As for the "boy's book", it is universally loved by people of all ages, genders, social classes and cultures.