Anyone who has ever wanted to work in a creative field, be it writing, painting or playing music has been told they’d better develop thick skin. After all, it doesn’t matter how good you are, someone will always be there to tear you down. It’s hard to think of a better example of this than to look at some rejected books that would later become some of the best-selling titles in the world. From the Twilight saga to Anne Frank’s Diary, the success of these books shows that even people paid to evaluate the commercial potential of a work of art sometimes underestimate the most valuable titles.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
Despite its having sold 40 million copies since 1970, publishers originally thought that the concept of a book being told from the point of view of a seagull was simply ridiculous. As a result, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was rejected a total of eighteen times.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
These days, Anne Frank has one of the best-known holocaust stories and the book has sold 30 million copies around the world. Surprisingly, the tale wasn’t too popular with publishers though, and was rejected sixteen times. One publisher even noted the story was barely worth reading because, “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Sure, it launched an empire that resulted in the sale of 450 million books and some of the highest grossing films of all time, but if Rowling wasn’t so dedicated to the book’s first installment, none of that would have happened. That’s because she received eight rejection letters before Bloomsbury agreed to print the story. Really though, the true credit in this tale goes to Alice Newton, the eight-year-old daughter of the publisher’s chairman, who read the first chapter and insisted her father get a hold of the rest of the story as soon as possible.