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Success After Failures: Famous Titles that Went Through Multiple Rejections

Some of the very famous, all-time favorite books that greatly influenced the literary world and movie industry worldwide were, just like their authors, experienced failures. With rude rejections and criticisms you could have never imagined, famous titles emerged out of nowhere and moved many to tears and excitement.

For those who have followed through and became engrossed with these novels who took the world by storm, it is nearly of a necessity to review the struggles it faced before taking pride the fame it has.

If it weren’t for these ever famous titles, what legends could the movies of the 21st-century offer to the world?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


Before the millions of readers and fans, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone first manuscript of J.K Rowling had been rejected by 12 publishers. Among those publishing houses that rejected Harry Potter was Penguin, TransWorld and Harper Collins. Who would have expected back then, that what J.K Rowling submitted would have earned more than it’s anticipated worth? The first agent to respond to her upon Harry Potter’s submission replied to her with, ‘My list is full. The folder you sent wouldn’t fit in the envelope,” which left Rowling totally dismayed. In her Twitter post, she added, “I really minded about the folder because I had almost no money and had to buy another one.”

Finding a publisher for the first of the many Harry Potter books to come had gone through a long and difficult journey. Christopher Little of the Christopher Little Literary Agents agreed to represent Rowling in finding publishers and got rejected 12 times until they found Bloomsbury. It was said that the book was barely accepted even by Bloomsbury but pursued anyway as the 8-year-old daughter of that small publishing house in England demanded to read the following pages after a chapter of review. Now, after seven books and a follow-up, blockbuster films for several years, the estimated worth of money Harry Potter series generated is $15 billion dollars with over 400 million copies sold worldwide and translated up to 67 languages.

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. 

– J. K. Rowling

The Notebook

Nicholas Sparks’ books have made anyone smile with the wonders of love and cry hard with the tragic and painful things life could sever love. The ever famous considered being one of the greatest tragics but very romantic love story put into paper, The Notebook was in fact not oblivious to rejections. The undying love told by the novel has shown the world its ultimate level. To think that this great debut novel of Sparks got rejected by 24 publishers until Teresa Park. The book was released in October 1996 and received a million dollar offer and placed first on New York Times’ best sellers for fictions in its first week.

Up until now, Sparks have been an icon to writing the best romantic novels out there. The Notebook later bore Sparks’ following works which could also come on par with it such as A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and The Last Song.



You would surely be thrilled to know that the ever-so-popular conception of Edward and Bella’s love story began from Meyer’s dream. She stated in the “Confessions” of her book, the birth of twilight was a dream she had and awaken from on June 2, 2003. According to her, she dreamed of a couple in the woods, an average young girl and a sparkly good-looking vampire who could barely resist the scent of the girl’s blood. Now, there it is, one of the memorable scenes from Twilight.

Though with a very stimulating plot at that, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight which swirled into fame and became a trailblazer to the vampire-themed and supernatural-with-romance genre for books and television shows did not escape receiving rejections in the onset of its journey. She remembered being quite bothered and nervous upon receiving a response at her hands from the 15 queries she sent out. The replies she received from those queries got the hopes out of her that even now with Twilight’s popularity she took those letters as a memento from the journey of it towards getting published. Twilight earned an estimated net worth of sales up to $1.8 billion from being a global box office hit and sold over 100 million copies worldwide.

Other Novels and Series

Other novels who belong to the list of novels considered to be legends that far moved people with its captivating plots but was initially rejected include: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis 37 times rejected, Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was rejected with the words “badly written”, collection of real-life stories told Chicken Soup for the Soul rejected 140 times, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell rejected 38 times and many more titles to add.

It is a fact that a genuine pearl may seldom be recognized at first to be a treasure but it only takes a good eye to perceive it’s real worth.

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