The above image is a scan of my first rejection letter that I received from Joanne Kellock, a Literary Agent.
Since then, I have received hundreds of rejection letters from publishers and am quite proud of this non-award-winning accomplishment.
Speaking of rejection, have you ever considered that rejection is good for you?
Indeed, rejection builds character.
Below is a comment I just made on the blog post Why Rejection Letters Are Great on the Write to Done Blog.
Failure/Rejection Is the Universe’s Way of Ensuring That Too Much Success Doesn’t Happen All at Once
I first self-published my book The Joy of Not Working because I was quite sure no major publisher would be interested.
Surprisingly, I still failed to get an American publisher after the book had sold 10,000 copies in Canada the first year, which is the equivalent of selling 100,000 copies in a year in the United States.
In fact, twenty-five American publishers still rejected my Canadian bestseller. Talk about getting no respect!
This is my favorite form rejection letter that I received from one of the publishers:
- “Dear Colleague,
Thank you for sending us the proposal/manuscript. We regret that we are unable to use your material. As you know there are many reasons to decline a manuscript, so please do not consider this to be a judgment on the
value of the work. We just don’t see this particular piece fitting into our list at this time.
We wish we could respond to each proposal with a personal note, but the heavy volume of submissions we receive makes it impossible to do so. Please be assured that your proposal was given careful and thoughtful consideration.
Thank you for your interest in Ten Speed Press.
As you can see, the publisher that sent me the above letter was none other than Ten Speed Press, which eventually published the book in 1997, which it agreed to undertake five years after it rejected the book, because by that time the book had sold 50,000 copies in Canada.
This gets even better. Shortly after I completed my book How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, I sent the manuscript to twenty-five American publishers and ten British publishers. I thought that I would have no problem getting a publisher, given the success that The Joy of Not Working had achieved by that time.
I was wrong. No respect again! Even Ten Speed Press turned me down. I decided to self-publish after Ten Speed Press agreed to distribute the book for me in the United States.
Today I am glad that Ten Speed Press rejected How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. I made a lot more money by self-publishing.
To date this independently published book has earned about $400,000 in pretax profits for me whereas the most I would have made with a major publisher publishing the book would be about $100,000.
One last note: When Random House bought Ten Speed Press a little over a year ago, the powers that be immediately cancelled the distribution Agreement that I had with Ten Speed Press, but they wanted to take over the publication of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free in a normal publisher/author relationship.
Despite the fact many authors would love to have a book published by a major publisher such as Random House, I had the pleasure of rejecting Random House.
I immediately got National Book Network to distribute How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free for me. For the last eight months, the book has been selling about 40 percent more copies (1,050 copies a month versus 750 copies a month) with NBN distributing it than it was selling in the last eight months it was with Ten Speed Press. Better still, I receive more of the proceeds of the net sales with NBN than I was receiving when Ten Speed Press distributed the book.
Given that I intend to reach my goal (see my retirement plan) of selling over 500,000 copies of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free (which has sold 120,000 copies so far), the difference in profits by my rejecting Random House will be over a million dollars once I reach my goal.
Moral of the Story: Rejection Can Pay Off Big Time!
Ernie J. Zelinski
The Creativity Guy Too Prosperous to Do Mornings
Author of the Bestseller “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
(Over 120,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
and the International Bestseller “The Joy of Not Working”
(Over 240,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)