It may be hard to believe, but some of the most famous and best-selling books of all time were once rejected from one (or more) publishers. Just like everything, books are subjective…and sometimes, publishers just miss the potential. So it’s a message to all the writers out there who want to be the next bestselling author…if you get rejected, try again, because there’s someone out there who will love it. Take a look at the 20 classic books that were rejected by publishers.
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Who doesn’t love Frankenstein? The story is one of Mary Shelley’s most famous works, but the gothic novel was actually rejected by publishers before it was finally published in 1818. Jokes on them, because the story is now more famous than it ever was 200 years ago and is a staple in English lessons across schools and universities. Not forgetting all the Frankenstein based movies and TV shows, of course.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
If you didn’t read The Tale of Peter Rabbit, or have it read to you when you were younger…well, you need to hop to it (excuse the pun). Beatrix Potter’s novel is a children’s classic and a staple in children’s literature. Despite rejection after rejection, Beatrix Potter decided to self-publish her story of a mischievous rabbit. And I bet she’s glad she did….
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
We all know the name ‘Lolita’ from one of the most controversial books of all time. The story focuses on the love of a middle-aged man and a 12-year-old girl, so it was always going to struggle to hit the ground running. One publisher recommend that the book was buried underground for thousands of years because of its content! But the quality of the writing eventually allowed it be published, and it has now sold over 50 million copies worldwide.
Dune – Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert is known as the godfather of science fiction novels…but publishers didn’t initially agree. Dune was rejected 23 times before finally being published in 1965. The book is now known as one of the most successful and groundbreaking science fiction books ever written. In your face, publishers.
The Catcher In The Rye – J.D Salinger
Catcher In The Rye is one of those books that even if you haven’t read it, you’ve definitely heard of it (although you should definitely read it). Since its release, the book has sold over 65 million copies. However, it wasn’t always plain sailing. The book was rejected multiple times by multiple publishers before it was published – even Salinger’s employers at The New Yorker turned down his masterpiece.