Keep going! Persistence pays off in the publishing world

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Dune: Frank Herbert's classic was rejected 20 timesTired of being rejected by publishers? Remember Frank Herbert

I was listening to the Writer’s Almanac Podcast this morning and heard that it’s the birthday of Frank Herbert, author of the science fiction masterpiece Dune.

Herbert is just one name on a long list of writers who found success after being repeatedly rejected.

Nearly twenty publishers told Frank Herbert “no thanks” after he’d submitted the manuscript for Dune.

Eventually Dune was accepted by Chilton, a publisher of auto repair manuals and an unlikely launching pad for a book that would go on to define an entire genre, sell over 12 million copies, and get made into a movie (twice).

So, if you’re feeling down, rejected, unsupported, or otherwise low about where you’re at in your writing life, try to remember that plenty of famous writers established their careers only after years of beating their heads against closed doors.

If you’re passionate about the craft of writing, it’s best to heed the advice of poet Todd Boss: “Never Give Up.”

How do you stay motivated and inspired in the face of literary rejection of “failure” (a dangerous word!)? Please let me know in the comments below.

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Chris Robley
Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

3 COMMENTS

  1. […] How to Deal with Literary Rejection – BOOK BABY: Speaking of Frank Herbert: “Herbert is just one name on a long list of writers who found success after being repeatedly rejected. Nearly twenty publishers told Frank Herbert “no thanks” after he’d submitted the manuscript for Dune.” […]

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