Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When Publishers Reject You, It Could Just Be Because They're Stupid

"In 1797, Thomas Cadell made one of the greatest mistakes in publishing history. A Hampshire clergyman had written to him, offering a three-volume novel for publication by a first-time author. Without a word of encouragement, Cadell declined the book, manuscript unseen, by return of post.

"Unfortunately for Cadell, the clergyman was the Revd George Austen, soliciting publication on his daughter Jane's behalf, and the novel in question was an early version of Pride and Prejudice, recently voted the one book that the British nation can't do without."

~ From Mark Bostridge's review of Claire Harman's Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World in the Literary Review

• Thanks to the Shelf Awareness newsletter for this item.
• Image of Jane Austen from TVO's Jane Austen bio page

For more encouragement on dealing with rejection, see Feeling Rejected? Don't Be Dejected!


Pan Historia said...

I wonder what the ratio was back in the day between submissions and actual publication? It seems a wonder these days that any submission finds a reader, but in the eighteenth century you would imagine he would at least have the courtesy of cutting the string on the package.

Mark David Gerson said...

You would, wouldn't you. I guess some things in the publishing world haven't changed!

Eric Arvin said...

Very interesting tidbit!

Robin @ Heart of Wisdom said...

Dozens of publishers turned down "The Shack" now been on NY Times Bestselling list for 50+ weeks.

Mark David Gerson said...

So many stories like that one!