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The Five Minute Writer’s Quiz

Are you Ready to be a Writer?

So you want to write a book? OR maybe you have started … take this 5 minute quiz and assess where you are at in your journey towards being a published author.

Answer YES or NO to the following Questions.

Do you know who you are as a writer?

  • I know my writing voice
  • I write everyday
  • I am confident in myself as a writer
  • I believe in my dream to be a writer
  • I can in one sentence explain what sort of writer I am
  • I can in one sentence explain the message I want to leave the reader
  • I know exactly what I want to write

 

What do you know about your book?

  • I know my characters in detail
  • I have an idea and I have started, my book has a title, chapters and plot
  • I know what I am going to write about
  • I know my book’s genre
  • I can name 3 authors who write in the same genre as me
  • I can in one sentence explain what my book is about
  • I have started writing and it is going well

 

Is your book ready to be submitted to a publisher?

  • My book is finished and I know what to do next
  • I know how to write a synopsis
  • I have an idea bout the publishers I want to use
  • I have researched the market for my book
  • I have had my manuscript edited
  • I have had a manuscript appraisal
  • I have had my manuscript proofread

 How did you go?

Did you come up with more ‘ticks’ for ’Yes’ than ‘No’?

If so you are on your way to achieving your dream.

If you answered NO to 3 or more help is available to get you on your way, keep you on teh path and walking towards your dream.

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As a professional writer, published author, life coach and mentor I assist many budding authors with: the mechanics of the writing process, tips on how to write their proposals and cover letters, how to construct a synopsis and select the right publishers – read more about my services here – Creative Mentoring Services.

In addition I have written articles relating to the process of writing:

Essential Tips For Writers

The Writers Dream … Turning it into a Reality

The desire to write a book is shared by many. As a matter of fact, I was surprised to find that recent surveys show that more than 90% of the population say they have a secret desire to write a book.

I believe that this longing to write is our creative spirit’s way of encouraging us to share our unique voice with the world. After all, each of us has a story to tell. Sometimes the story is about us, and sometimes the story is about something we feel passionate about.

Too often the desire to write a book goes unrealised because of the dream stealers who remind us that “writing a book is hard work” or “getting published is next to impossible.” I remember those words well and, if I had listened to them, I wouldn’t be writing to you today.

…take consistent action towards your goal…”

Practicing extreme self-care means paying attention to your soul’s desire in spite of any resistance you may encounter. It doesn’t mean that you have to do it right away; you just have to take consistent action towards your goal so that your soul knows you’re paying attention.

Every creative project has its own timing. When I first began working on my book, I decided to put it aside after a year of frustration and hard work. Although I felt disappointed and confused, I now realise that the time wasn’t right and I needed to grow a bit more before sharing my work, I needed to grow in confidence.

 …know the steps involved or the steps that will have you walking towards that dream…”

There are many ways to tell your story – writing a play, painting a picture, or composing a song. Since so many people long to tell their story in a book, it is important to know the steps involved or the steps that will have you walking towards that dream.

Whether you decide to tell your story in a book, painting, or a song, pay attention to your inner longings by taking one action to honour the desire. That is to do something DAILY – yes DAILY! You might simply keep an idea journal, or start reading a book on writing a proposal. The point is this – do what is necessary to keep your dream alive!

Remember …

… complacency is your worst enemy.

If you’re comfortable, if you’re rolling along without having to really think, if you haven’t had to challenge yourself, if you don’t think you have to read or research – you’re wasting your time. Writing from a position of comfort will never say anything worthwhile OR anything based on an understanding of the craft and respect associated with writing. I am not saying writing shouldn’t be easy – that I cant flow, what I am saying is that it is etiquette to research and read other writing styles – a musician listens to music, a painter appreciates art … you get the picture – (pardon the pun.)

Four easy steps that will have you jettisoning towards your dream …

  1. Discover who you are as a writer – what is your writing voice?
  2. DO something daily
  3. Read and read more
  4. Research your genre, get to know your genre intimately – that is the authors in your genre, the publishers in your genre and so on.

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As a professional writer, published author, life coach and mentor I assist many budding authors with: the mechanics of the writing process, tips on how to write their proposals and cover letters, how to construct a synopsis and select the right publishers – read more about my services here – Creative Mentoring Services.

In addition I have written articles relating to the process of writing:

What Is Genre?

The Importance of Knowing your Writing Genre

Another Step Towards Creating your Writing Dream

Genre is a term used to categorize. In simple terms it means – kind, sort, form, variety, or category. Most readers are attracted to a particular genre (or a couple) and these readers become part of your market as an author.

Researching the market for your genre is essential if you want to successfully target your book.

Your job as a writer is much more than just writing. Anybody can sit down and write a story or a book – that is simply a matter of applying butt to chair and typing out three, four, or ten pages a day until the thing is done. But not every book is saleable, not every saleable book will find an audience, and not every book that finds an audience will be able to bring the readers back for more of what the writer is selling.

It is essential as a writer to know everything about your book – the genre – other authors – the readers etc.

Examples of Genres

Mystery

The characters are usually fictional but they behave in realistic ways. There is a problem that needs to be solved. A mystery may have a detective or a spy as a main character.

Biographies

A biography is a book of true stories about the life of a real person. The author is a different person than the book is written about. The person in the biography can be dead or alive. The author describes how the person affected others.

Fantasy

A fiction story where there is a struggle between good and evil. Often times, there is magic. The characters or objects do things that couldn’t happen in real life.

Poetry

It usually touches your feelings. It may or may not be written with rhymes. They are often read aloud. Some poetry is put to music and become lyrics.

Realistic Fiction

The characters behave in realistic ways. There is usually a problem or conflict to be solved. The setting is in modern times.

Historical Fiction

Some characters may be real and others are fictional. The story takes place during a period in history. Real events from history can be mixed with fictional events.

Science Fiction

These stories are written with future ideas such as space travel and new technology. The characters are fictional.

Non-fiction

These books provide true facts and information about different subjects.

Romance

A story about character’s relationships, loves, affairs or engagements.

Crime

A story about a crime that is being committed or was committed. It can also be an account of a criminal’s life. It often falls into the Action or Adventure genres.

Horror

A story designed to scare or frighten the audience, through suspense, violence or shock.

Reference

These books provide true facts and information. Some examples include: dictionary, almanac, atlas, thesaurus, and encyclopedia.

“Knowing your genre empowers your book’s marketability …”

Getting to know your genre … a few tips:

Go to your bookstore or a library and pull out books in the same genre as yours.

  1. Take note of the author
  2. Take note to the publisher
  3. Take note of the Agent
  4. Take note of the style
  5. Take note of the title and blurb

 Answer the Following Questions:

  1. What is your books genre?
  2. List five books of your genre?
  3. List five authors of your genre?
  4. Do you know what publishing houses publish books of your genre?

Finally, read everything you can about your genre.

Understanding more about genre and the genre in which your book falls into empowers its marketability and the potential of getting it published.

~~

As a professional writer, published author, life coach and mentor I assist many budding authors with: the mechanics of the writing process, tips on how to write their proposals and cover letters, how to construct a synopsis and select the right publishers – read more about my services here – Creative Mentoring Services.

In addition I have written articles relating to the process of writing:

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Another Step Towards Creating Your Writing Dream

An insight into my journey as a writer …

When I studied Creative Writing and during my uni years, I was asked to write a definition of writing, to explain writers block and a define writers intention.

Here is what I wrote.

My definition of writing

Write in a clear concise manner my definition of writing, a writer, my present attitude to writing, my present writing goal, writers block and why I may experience a block.

Clear?  Concise?  I am asked to define writing!  What is clear?  An ambiguity.  Concise?  According to the dictionary “expressing much in few words, terse, brief and pithy as language”. Writing, what a delicious sound, “one who expresses ideas in writing!”

How can I separate any of these terms, conditions, requirements.  They are pulled together along the same string.  They are connected, touching and verge on the same meaning intention and significance. The objective gravitates to the one and same purpose, translated through the eyes of the writer and the discovery of the reader. 

Each perceives differently. 

I present a challenge.  If I am to define myself as a writer I define it as passion and creativity.  It is impossible for me to be concise and terse according to this definition.  As for the word clear, clarity; purely subjective. 

This is my present attitude.

The Intention

The intention of the writer invariably differs from the readers interpretation.  The end is the same.  The act of writing has the same effect as does the act of reading.  It takes me beyond my present reality.

So the origin of the string begins with an initiation.

An initiation of source.  It begins with a journey.

I am a writer.

I put my thoughts on paper.

My thoughts are part of my vision and intuition it can be a state of altered consciousness.  This is a period of self-analysis, emotion recollected, a corner-stone of life seen through a temperament, introspective, and subjective.

The objective is to assemble these thoughts through skill to captivate the reader entice and disarm, to invite the reader to turn the pages in excited anticipation towards the journeys end. To make a statement, to change a life.  It can be anything I can get away with it can be anything the reader wants to get away with.

This is my goal, my ambition, my attitude.

The block

When a knot forms in the string I experience a block. It hinders and obstructs; it obscures my view.  The knot is a mere representation of blocked feelings, an unwillingness to allow my vision to flow on to paper. It represents more than writers block, it represents a block from within. 

If I am to undo the knot, I must first recognise the source. The source is perhaps my immediate environment, the pattern of my day, emotional entanglement, loss of focus of my goal; my ambition; my attitude. 

I regain my focus, untangle my mind, collect my thoughts. 

The knot is gone and the string is smooth.

Some games that will help you to push through the block 

Make endless lists -

one word lists of the things that excite you, the things that scare you, the things that you dream and fantasize about and hope for, the things you dread and fight to avoid. It is absolutely essential that these words have some special meaning to you.

Great topics for lists are:

1. Childhood memories
2. Dreams and nightmares
3. Ten gifts I’d give myself with magic
4. If I could spend a million dollars, I’d buy
5. What I want most in the world
6. What I’d do anything to avoid
7. Things that are creepy
8. Things that are sexy
9. Best foods
10. Best times

Use these lists as triggers for writing games like the following:

• “Three Words”

Randomly choose one item from each of three lists. Use these words to create a title – you’ll get something weird like “Lake Bones Ice Cream,” or “Naked Broken-Glass Monkeys.” Without allowing yourself to think about these words or censor what you’re putting on the page, just start writing, letting the words conjure images and stories for you. Write for ten minutes without allowing yourself to stop or correct anything.

• “Chasing Your Tail”

Start with a random word on one of your lists. Write for two or three minutes on that word, not allowing yourself to stop writing, to back up, or to correct. Immediately choose by random means a second word from any one of your lists. Start writing again, connecting this word to what you were writing about before.

Write for two or three minutes; then pick another word which you connect to the subject you’ve been writing about with the first two. Run with this pattern of choosing and following for as long as you wish, or can.

• “Theme”

Randomly choose only one word, and write for ten minutes on just that word, exploring everything about it that matters to you, why the subject is compelling to you, what memories it stirs in you, what hopes or fears it shakes loose in you, places, sounds, scents and tastes that appear as you’re writing. Don’t censor, don’t stop writing for any reason, don’t correct.

Again, you can come up with endless variations on these games that you can play by yourself or with other writers in writers’ groups. The idea is to dig beneath your surface and start freeing up things that you have kept hidden even from yourself.

~~

As a professional writer, published author, life coach and mentor I assist many budding authors with: the mechanics of the writing process, tips on how to write their proposals and cover letters, how to construct a synopsis and select the right publishers – read more about my services here – Creative Mentoring Services.

In addition I have written articles relating to the process of writing:

Discover Your Writing Voice

Another Step Towards Creating Your Writing Dream

 

Your job as a writer is much more than just writing. Anybody can sit down and write a story or a book – that is simply a matter of applying butt to chair and typing out three or four or ten pages a day until the thing is done. But not every book is saleable, not every saleable book will find an audience, and not every book that finds an audience will be able to bring the readers back for more of what the writer is selling.

Your job – if you want to make a living at this – is to sell yourself. You are selling your unique perspective on life, your unique collection of beliefs, fears, hopes and dreams, your memories of childhood tribulation and triumphs and adult achievements and failures . . . your universe.

Your goal is to achieve all three of those milestones:

1. To write your book
2. To sell your work
3. To reach first-time readers with it
4. To win these first-time readers over as repeat readers of your work

You do that by offering them something they can’t get anywhere else – and the only thing in the universe that readers cannot get anywhere but from you is . . . you. Which means you have to put yourself on your page. This is what is known in the writing business as developing YOUR VOICE.

Voice isn’t merely style. Style would be easy by comparison. Style is watching your use of adjectives and doing a few flashy things with alliteration. Style without voice is hollow. Voice is style, plus theme, plus personal observations, plus passion, plus belief, plus desire.

“If you don’t care about the things you write about you will never find your real voice …”

So ….what is voice?

Ask any editor what he or she is looking for in a new writer and, nine times out of ten, the answer will be “a fresh voice.” Then ask those same editors to define voice and their answers will be variations of “I can’t put it into words, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

Webster’s defines voice as “distinction of form.” Voice is what makes your writing distinct from any other author’s. It’s the unique way you put words on paper. Some voices are more distinctive than others.

Finding your true writing voice is a lot like falling in love – you know it when it happens. Until then, you bumble along, trying this style and that, wondering if this is it or if a better voice is out there just waiting for you. You question and doubt, reaching nearly the point of despair before finally, your true voice comes to you and you know exactly who you are as a writer. If you can pick up a book, open it randomly and immediately know the author without looking at the jacket, then you have discovered that person’s voice.

Here are Ten Steps to finding your voice

1. Read everything. And find it in others…

…You cannot be a successful writer if you don’t read. That isn’t opinion; that’s fact. All writers read, and all good writers read a lot. Read fiction, read non-fiction, read in the genre you love, read outside of it. Read WAY outside of it. You cannot be a snob — don’t write off any genre or type of book as being without redeeming qualities or lessons to teach you.

Some authors tend to have very little voice, and it’s difficult to tell their books from others. But if you read a Stephen King and compare that to a Dean Koontz, you’ll see definite differences in style, pattern and manner of writing.

The more you read, the more you will acquire an instinct about what works for you, and an equally compelling instinct for what doesn’t. You’ll discover how stories are put together, get a feel for how good novels are paced and plotted and how bad ones fall apart, and you’ll start developing a hunger to write specific stories, because you’ll come across areas of fiction where nobody is writing the kind of books you want to read. Reading is magic. It’s your bread and butter. Don’t neglect it.

2. Turn off the internal editor and Edit judiciously …

…Find a way to shut up the voice who whispers in your ear and tells you that you’re doing it all wrong. Forget about what’s right or proper. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar at this stage of the game. So go ahead and let yourself make mistakes—you can fix them later—but in letting yourself go, you’ll also come up with material that surprises you Uncovering your voice is like digging for treasure — you can’t afford to be worried about a little dirt as you wield your shovel.

Once you do begin editing, do so judiciously. Many people start to write with strong, unique voices, then make the mistake of editing the life out of their prose. Certainly you will want to clean up misspellings, correct your grammar, and erase ambiguity in your writing, but be careful not to remove all signs of life from your words. If an incomplete sentence sounds best to you, leave it in. If your character uses slang, don’t correct their speech unless it’s impossible for the reader to understand. If beginning a sentence with and sounds right to you, don’t change it because of a critique partner’s objections or to correspond with a writing rule you read somewhere. When the time comes and your editor suggests you change things, then you can reconsider. For now, you have the final say in your words. Your decisions reflect your unique voice – the one editors are looking for.

3. Take a look at some of your informal writing…

…Another thing that sets one author’s voice apart from another’s is the level of language, the structure of the sentences and the type of verbiage chosen. Reread old letters or e-mail posts that you have written. E-mail is especially useful, since we tend to approach it more like conversation. Have you ever had an e-mail which you recognized, even before seeing their signature line? You recognized that person’s voice.

4. Keep a journal…

… Journaling is an excellent way to develop your voice. Knowing we are the only ones who will ever read the words on a journal page, we can feel free to experiment. Write letters to yourself in your journal. Experiment with free-writing—putting down whatever comes into your head. Without the constraints of rigid form or worries about what others will think, your voice may sing out loud and clear.

5. Experiment with different styles…

… My own voice comes through most when I’m writing humour or form feelings. Maybe it’s because I relax more, or because I feel freer to experiment. I never would have discovered this if I hadn’t tried to write different styles, in particular poetry and lyrics. Different kinds of writing may reveal different aspects of your own voice. Try comedy, mystery, and angst-filled drama in both historical and contemporary settings.

6. Write in first person…

…I rarely write anything but in the first person, and I believe this writing honed my voice more than anything else. First person writing forces you to become the character. Like letters, e-mail and journaling, first person prose has a certain informality that can lure your true voice out of hiding.

7. Speak your words into a tape recorder and then write like you talk…

… Reading your work aloud and playing it back on a tape recorder can help you spot certain speech patterns, sentence structures and rhythms that identify your voice. Then write like you talk. It really can be that simple. Say something. Then write it.

Finding and knowing your voice requires listening, not just to the words in your head as you read your work silently, but to how it sounds when spoken aloud. Do you have a lot of witty repartee? Do you leave a number of pauses for reflection? Do you write lots of short, snappy sentences, or long, languid phrases? How does your spoken work leave you feeling? All of these are elements of your voice.

8. Determine Your Strengths…

… All authors who have a voice make the most of it by capitalizing on their strengths. For some, it’s dialogue; for others, emotional descriptions. In your own work, you are better at one thing than another. If it’s humour, then comedy is part of your voice. If it’s drama, then that is a part of your voice. Make a list of your writing strengths.
Rewrite favourite passages in your own words. A useful exercise for developing your voice is to select a passage from a favourite author and rewrite it in your own words. The words you choose, the style you use, will be in your unique voice.

9. Write everything and take risks…

… Try your hand at non-fiction. Write romantic scenes. Put together a western character and run him through a fight scenario. Try fantasy, try SF, try romance, try mainstream. Write a sonnet, and some haiku, and a few limericks. Take risks. Choose to write about themes that your internal editor insists are too dangerous, too controversial, too embarrassing to be put on the paper. Imagine that your toughest critic is looking over your shoulder with a raised eyebrow and a prudish expression on their face. Now shock them. Your job in this exercise is to become, although only temporarily, the thing that most frightens, angers, or bewilders you. To do it right, you have to allow your enemy to convince you of his rightness – you cannot allow yourself to convince him.
Remember the first rule of writing: Nothing you write is wasted.

10. Write from passion…

… If you don’t care about the things you’re writing about, you will never discover your true voice. Your voice does not exist when you’re trying to write a book in a genre you hate because you think it will be an easy way to make a quick buck. Your voice does not exist in the thin and cheap places of your heart or the shallow end of your soul. Voice lives in the deep waters and the dark places of your soul, and it will only venture out when you make sure you’ve given it space to move and room to breathe.

Voice is born from a lot of words and a lot of work – but not just any words or any work will do. You have to bleed a little. You have to shiver a little. You have to love a lot – love your writing, love your failures, love your courage in going on in spite of them, love every small triumph that points toward eventual success. You already have a voice. It’s beautiful, it’s unique, it’s the voice of a best-seller. Your job is to lead it from the darkest of the dark places and the deepest of the deep waters into the light of day.

What the experts say on voice – A writer with a practical sense about him is novelist John Berendt (Midnight at the Garden of Good and Evil) who, in a list of 10 suggestions, includes this advice: “Think of writing, even the most serious writing, as a medium of entertainment. I mean entertainment in the broadest sense: engaging the reader’s mind and keeping the reader interested. What good is a piece of writing, however brilliant, if nobody reads it all the way through? Always ask yourself, ‘Are they still paying attention?’” In other words, if you concern yourself with the reader more than concerning yourself with you (“Let’s talk about me”) then you’re subconsciously working on a good voice. This also suggests that “voice” can be tweaked. If you realize you’re not funny enough or interesting enough, you can go back and rewrite. Rewrite. Writing is about rewriting.

“I have a goal to leave the reader wanting more, thinking more and walking taller…”

Your voice is your future in writing…

When you find your authentic voice, it’s like stepping into a comfortable pair of shoes. The rhythm and pacing of your words feel right, as if they’re meant just for you. That’s not to say that writing gets a whole lot easier, just that it feels more natural. You’ll still be dragging those words, kicking and screaming, some days, but they will finally be the ones that only you could have written.

Begin now… think for a moment what type of voice you have. Start a list to describe you as an author.

For example I can tell you who I am as a writer – my voice is, reflective, provocative and thought provoking. I use short sentences to make statements and provoke introspection and analyses from the reader. I also I use melodious sentences rich with metaphor and imagery, to set the scenes. I use holistic approaches when describing characters and I allow my characters to come more through their minds and hearts and dialogue rather than through lengthy descriptions. I have a goal to put to paper that which leaves the reader wanting more, thinking more and walking taller.

Do you have a lot of witty repartee? Do you leave a number of pauses for reflection? Do you write lots of short, snappy sentences, or long, languid phrases? How does your spoken work leave you feeling?

As a professional writer, published author, life coach and mentor I assist many budding authors with: the mechanics of the writing process, tips on how to write their proposals and cover letters, how to construct a synopsis and select the right publishers – read more about my services here – Creative Mentoring Services.

In addition I have written articles relating to the process of writing:

Over-coming Rejection: Achieving That Goal

How to Succeed as a Writer in the Face of Rejection

Rejection – the very sound of the word evokes feelings of fear, failure, and disappointment. Not many of us enjoy those feelings or the process of rejection. Particularly in the process of achieving a goal or where our aspirations are concerned or as we strive to succeed at something we have longed for.

The word reject originates from re- “back” + -icere “to throw” – and so, to reject is to throw back.

Those who have not succumbed to the state of rejection have played it at its own game – reject the rejection – they have thrown back in the face of or despite the rejection.

Stay True to your Goal

… take the rejection to task, reject it, and move on.”

Rejection happens to the best of us – and the best of us forge straight ahead, albeit somewhat wavered in our confidence – but not in our resolve. Armed with commitment and resilience we take the rejection to task, reject it, and move on. What is that saying … “if at first we don’t succeed…” precisely my point!

This process is especially pertinent to aspiring writers. And I say – affirmatively with conviction – take a pro-active stance and protect your dream of becoming writer – remain committed to your passion – take the rejection with your head held high, breathe and forge ahead.

You will not be the first or the last to be rejected, once or many times. AND more importantly – it is not necessarily an indictment of how well you write, whether you are a success as a writer or whether you should give up – it simply means the ‘receiving end’ did not want what you submitted, and someone else may want it and be ready and waiting to accept it.

Over-coming Rejection

… act on your passion and on behalf of your dream…”

I know this first hand. I had a manuscript sitting around for two years, gathering the proverbial dust and taking up room in my filing systems. That is until I took up arms and made the decision to act on my passion and on behalf of my dream and began the process of submitting to publishers.

I tried a couple and received the same response, “it is well written but not what we are looking for at the moment …” – and I felt the usual feelings – disappointment, why bother and so on. And I got proactive and looked at ways of refining and improving the manuscript. I became savvy at proposal letters, synopsis and selecting the right publisher for my genre. I added to this collective arsenal the attitude of belief and confidence and a “never say die,” (or maybe the fat lady hasn’t sung yet) along with a commitment to stay focused and not give into notions of failure.

And it happened, I secured a publishing contract!

The Mechanics of the Writing Process

I learned much in the process, about me as a person, who I was as a writer, in addition to the mechanics of the writing and the overall ‘getting published’ process. This included, the art of writing cover letters, the dreaded synopsis, compiling an author bio, selecting the right publishers and how to make sure your manuscript is spot on.

As a professional writer, published author, life coach and mentor I assist many budding authors with: the mechanics of the writing process, tips on how to write their proposals and cover letters, how to construct a synopsis and select the right publishers – read more about my services here – Creative Mentoring Services.

In addition I have written articles relating to the process of writing:

It is about believing in yourself, learning the craft and not giving up.”

Iconic Writers who didn’t Give Up

Here are 50 well-respected writers who were told the word ‘no’ several times, who felt the dismay of rejection … but didn’t give up.

  1. Dr. Seuss: Here you’ll find a list of all the books that Dr. Seuss’ publisher rejected.
  2. William Golding: William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected 20 times before becoming published.
  3. James Joyce: James Joyce’s Ulysses was judged obscene and rejected by several publishers.
  4. Isaac Asimov: Several of Asimov’s stories were rejected, never sold, or eventually lost.
  5. John le Carre: John le Carre’s first novel, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, was passed along because le Carre “hasn’t got any future.”
  6. Jasper Fforde: Jasper Fforde racked up 76 rejections before getting The Eyre Affair published.
  7. William Saroyan: William Saroyan received an astonishing 7,000 rejection slips before selling his first short story.
  8. Jack Kerouac: Some of Kerouac’s work was rejected as pornographic.
  9. Joseph Heller: Joseph Heller wrote a story as a teenager that was rejected by the New York Daily News.
  10. Kenneth Grahame: The Wind in the Willows was not intended to be published, and was rejected in America before appearing in England.
  11. James Baldwin: James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room was called “hopelessly bad.”
  12. Ursula K. Le Guin: An editor told Ursula K. Le Guin that The Left Hand of Darkness was “endlessly complicated.”
  13. Pearl S. Buck: Pearl Buck’s first novel, East Wind: West Wind received rejections from all but one publisher in New York.
  14. Louisa May Alcott: Louisa May Alcott was told to stick to teaching.
  15. Isaac Bashevis Singer: Before winning the Nobel Prize, Isaac Bashevis Singer was rejected by publishers.
  16. Agatha Christie: Agatha Christie had to wait four years for her first book to be published.
  17. Tony Hillerman: Tony Hillerman was told to “get rid of the Indian stuff.”
  18. Zane Grey: Zane Grey self-published his first book after dozens of rejections.
  19. Marcel Proust: Marcel Proust was rejected so much he decided to pay for publication himself.
  20. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen: Chicken Soup for the Soul received 134 rejections.
  21. William Faulkner: William Faulkner’s book, Sanctuary, was called unpublishable.
  22. Patrick Dennis: Auntie Mame got 17 rejections.
  23. Meg Cabot: The bestselling author of The Princess Diaries keeps a mail bag of rejection letters.
  24. Richard Bach: 18 publishers thought a book about a seagull was ridiculous before Jonathan Livingston Seagull was picked up.
  25. Beatrix Potter: The Tale of Peter Rabbit had to be published by Potter herself.
  26. John Grisham: John Grisham’s A Time to Kill was rejected by 16 publishers before finding an agent who eventually rejected him as well.
  27. Shannon Hale: Shannon Hale was rejected and revised a number of times before Bloomsbury published The Goose Girl.
  28. Richard Hooker: The book that inspired the film and TV show M*A*S*H* was denied by 21 publishers.
  29. Jorge Luis Borges: It’s a good thing not everyone thought Mr. Borges’ work was “utterly untranslatable.”
  30. Thor Heyerdahl: Several publishers thought Kon-Tiki was not interesting enough.
  31. Vladmir Nabokov: Lolita was rejected by 5 publishers in fear of prosecution for obscenity before being published in Paris.
  32. Laurence Peter: Laurence Peter had 22 rejections before finding success with The Peter Principles.
  33. D.H. Lawrence: Sons and Lovers faced rejection, and D.H. Lawrence didn’t take it easily.
  34. Richard Doddridge Blackmore: This much-repeated story was turned down 18 times before getting published.
  35. Sylvia Plath: Sylvia Plath had several rejected poem titles.
  36. Robert Pirsig: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance faced an amazing 121 rejections before becoming beloved by millions of readers.
  37. James Patterson: Patterson was rejected by more than a dozen publishers before an agent he found in a newspaper article sold it.
  38. Gertrude Stein: Gertrude Stein submitted poems for 22 years before having one accepted.
  39. E.E. Cummings: E.E. Cummings named the 14 publishers who rejected No Thanks in the book itself.
  40. Judy Blume: Judy Blum received nothing but rejections for two years and can’t look at Highlights without wincing.
  41. Irving Stone: Irving Stone’s Lust for Life was rejected by 16 different editors.
  42. Madeline L’Engle: Madeline L’Engle’s masterpiece A Wrinkle in Time faced rejection 26 times before willing the Newberry Medal.
  43. Rudyard Kipling: In one rejection letter, Mr. Kipling was told he doesn’t know how to use the English language.
  44. J.K. Rowling: J.K. Rowling submitted Harry Potter to 12 publishing houses, all of which rejected it.
  45. Frank Herbert: Before reaching print, Frank Herbert’s Dune was rejected 20 times.
  46. Stephen King: Stephen King filed away his first full length novel The Long Walk after it was rejected.
  47. Richard Adams: Richard Adams’s two daughters encouraged him to publish Watership Down as a book, but 13 publishers didn’t agree.
  48. Anne Frank: One of the most famous people to live in an attic, Anne Frank’s diary had 15 rejections.
  49. Margaret Mitchell: Gone With the Wind was faced rejection 38 times.
  50. Alex Haley: The Roots author wrote every day for 8 years before finding success.