All writers receive a rejection letter sooner or later, and it hurts. Some will make you re-examine your story and do a much-needed edit on it. Those are beneficial because they help us grow as authors. Those I honestly like to receive.
But every now and again, you get one that makes you laugh out loud. My very favorite rejection was from a judge in a contest. I submitted a story about being trapped in a store. It was based on the idea write what you know. I worked in a store, so I thought it had relevance. I am sure I’m not the only one who considers being trapped at work their worst nightmare.
Here is the comment I received from the judge. “I’ve never worked in a store, but I know they don’t work the way you described. You should do more research into what it is like to work in the job before you write about it.” And yes, she gave me a score of 1 out of 5. Guess I have to pay better attention to what goes on around me while at work.
So I did some research about rejections and found these other authors were rejected too.
Stephen King’s novel, ‘Carie’. “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”
William Golding’s novel, ‘Lord of the Flies.’ “An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.”
Joseph Heller’s novel, ‘Catch 22’. “I haven’t the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say. Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level.”
George Orwell’s novel, ‘Animal Farm’. “It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”
And my personal favorite, Tony Hillerman’s Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels. “Get rid of all that Indian stuff.” Yes, that would make Tribal policing more realistic.
I am glad these silly rejections did not stop these wonderful authors from writing. Every time I get a silly rejection, I read over this list and smile as I realize I’m in good company.
What are your favorite rejection stories?