Are you struggling to find motivation to write in face of rejections from publishers and criticism from editors? If your answer is in the affirmative, you should know that success never comes easy. It won’t for you and it didn’t for these prolific writers who are either bestsellers today or whose works are considered classics. The goal is to believe in yourself, be confident in your work and persist despite all rejections, just as these authors have done. We bring you the list of famous authors who struggled to get published in the initial phase of their career.

JK Rowling

Famous Writers Who Struggled To Get Published (JK Rowling)
Famous Writers Who Struggled To Get Published (JK Rowling)

This beloved author of the Harry Potter books crafted their basic plot on a train journey! And what’s more, at the time she had just enough money not to be on the streets, was struggling with a divorce and was a single mother. She wrote the first Harry Potter book in a hotel while her child was asleep. She was clinically depressed, and to add to that. the book faced 12 rejections before Bloomsbury accepted it. If JK Rowling can get through this and come out stronger and more successful than ever, so can you!

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott
Authors with rejections (Louisa May Alcott)

Author of the adored classic Little Women, Alcott was allegedly told to “stick to your teaching, Miss Alcott, you can’t write” by her publishers. And in her novel, she has told through her character Jo the sexism present in the publishing business. As a woman writer, she was continually rejected by her publishers. However, she didn’t lose hope and determination. When she finally got published, the book became an overnight bestseller. It is still one of the most revered classics which has inspired films starring actresses like Emma Watson as well as wonderful retellings.

George Orwell

Famous authors Who Struggled To Get Published (George Orwell)
Famous authors Who Struggled To Get Published (George Orwell)

George Orwell never shied away from embracing democracy in its true sense by expressing his political opinions, no matter how contentious and dubious they might be. In Animal Farm, he talked about the power dynamics of the Soviet Union allegorically. TS Eliot rejected the book. This was because “although it was a literary gem, it was not the right point of view to criticize the current political situation”. Orwell himself had expected rejection, due to what he called the “intellectual cowardice” of society. In retrospect however, his work is considered one of intellectual an literary superiority as well as impeccable foresight.

Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov
Authors with rejections (Vladimir Nabokov)

This is the one name of this last that isn’t surprising. Nabokov’s classic Lolita is still a highly controversial book. When he wrote it, it was abominable. For those who don’t know, Lolita is the story of a pedophilic sexual predator and his escapades with a young girl. Not only was the novel rejected by every known publisher, but also it was banned until 1958 in the UK. One publisher l it “nauseating for an enlightened Freudian and revolting for the common masses.” In fact, it had to be published in France. However, now, in her essay titled “Confessions – Rejections I regret,” Caryn James admits that her rejection of the novel was a mistake. Today, the book is incorporated in almost every literature class taken. Takeaways – do not compromise on courage and honesty while writing..

William Golding

Famous Writers Who Struggled To Get Published (William Golding)
Famous Writers Who Struggled To Get Published (William Golding)

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies faced rejection 20 times and was banned because of its content. Editors claimed that it was full of violence and inappropriate language.It was rejected by every publisher it was sent to, until an editor at Faber fished it out of the archives and gave it a nod. Even his poems which were published in 1935 took approximately 30 years to gain recognition. Once he did get recognition, though, nothing could stop him. He went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Lord of the Flies is part of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels and ranks 41st on the list. It’s an indisputable classic today and read by literature lovers all over the world.

Amish Tripathi

Authors with rejections (Amish Tripathi)
Authors with rejections (Amish Tripathi)

Arguably one of the most popular contemporary Indian authors, Amish gained widespread success for his Shiva trilogy and Ram Chandra series. But before he became so acclaimed, 20 publishers rejected this book. Since his books were based on theology, religion and mythology, publishers claimed that they would not go down well with the public. Today, however, his books have sold 5.5 million copies and have been translated into 19 regional and international languages. He’s also considered one of the top 100 celebs of India. Lessons to learn from Amish – don’t shy away from controversy. Write what your heart tells you to.

Sylvia Plath

Famous authors Who Struggled To Get Published (Sylvia Plath)
Famous Writers Who Struggled To Get Published (Sylvia Plath)

This famous writer of “The Bell Jar” wrote about uncomfortable topics that were swept under the carpet in her day and age. She wrote about depression, suicide, mental health, death, patriarchy and the human body. So it’s no wonder she faced ample of rejections, including one by an editor who said, “There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.” However, she claimed that she loved rejection slips. She felt that they showed her that she had tried. Isn’t that what matters in the end – that you put your best foot forward, that you had something to pour your heart and soul into, something worth trying and fighting for?

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