"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Taking REJECTION on the chin

Just come across this quote from George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)
“I finished my first book seventy-six years ago.
I offered it to every publisher on the English-

speaking earth I had ever heard of. Their

refusals were unanimous:  and it did not get into

print until, fifty years later, publishers would

publish anything that had my name on it…”

At first take it may read it as another example of the publishing industry getting it wrong. I found it in an advice article for new writers and it was included to boost confidence. The implication was that you shouldn't be deterred by rejection because even the greats of English literature had to endure it. Shaw's plays and essays are important to me. I love his reviews and prefaces and speeches. And there's no doubt that he is one of the all time great letter writers...  but has anyone read a GBS novel?  And wouldn't it have been a shame if he had ignored the rejections and stuck with novel writing instead of turning to the theatre?   I know that every night there are agents who go to bed  knowing that they once had the manuscript of Harry Potter in their hands and let it go, but if there is a consensus of opinion in a writers' group or in the publishing industry there's a chance they may just have a point.
A creative commons photograph by Peter Beens from Niagara Falls, Canada

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