failuresuccessFamous writers don’t need to seek literary agents and publishers. They don’t have to worry if their books will sell or not. Famous writers don’t have day jobs and have the privilege of doing only what they love – write.

We dream to become one of them. We wish to be where they are now. But did we ever think where were they before becoming famous? Well I can tell you. They were exactly where you are now. Most of them came to success through failure. Many of them even through a massive failure…

Don’t believe me?

Well let’s see… From the many examples I have chosen those writers whom almost everyone knows. Even those who don’t read much and have not read their books have at least heard about them. None of them was an overnight success but all of them deserved the success.

1. J. K. Rowling

She gave birth to Harry Potter and the guy made her famous and rich. But things were not that smooth in the beginning. 12 publishers before that rejected her manuscript. So if she gave up, let’s say after the 10th rejection we would never know that Harry even existed.


2. John Grisham

He was a lawyer, who loved to write. His first book Time to Kill was written in 3 years and rejected by 27 different publishers. But now he is one of the bestselling authors with total copies of 250 million of his books sold.

3.  Steven King

Steven’s book Carrie was rejected 30 times, but once it was published it sold 1 million copies in the first year alone.

4. Stephanie Meyer

From the 15 literary agencies she wrote to 5 did not answer at all and the other 9 rejected her book. Only 1 gave her a chance and we all know what happened next.

5. Vladimir Nabokov

In one of the 26 rejections received from all major publishers he read “I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years”. Vladimir finally found a publisher in France. Later Lolita was published by all those publishers that initially rejected it and sold around 50 million copies.

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 6. Margaret Mitchell

She received 38 rejections before Gone with the Wind was published and as a result sold 30 million copies.

7. Audrey Niffenegger

25 literary agents rejected her debut manuscript. She mailed it unsolicited to a small publisher. The Time Traveller’s Wife sold 7 million copies since then.

 8. Kathryn Stockett

The Help was rejected 60 times and only the letter number 61 was with positive response.

 9. Nicholas Sparks

24 literary agencies turned down The Notebook. The 25th agent sold it to publisher for $1 million.

 10. William Saroyan

This one beat all the records. William collected a pile of rejection slips 30 inches high (around 6,000 !!!) before selling his first short story.

Whoever told you that you only have to write a good book lied to you. Whoever told it was easy and smooth lied too. Things will never be smooth and you won’t succeed without coming across failure once in a while. And you will succeed only if you don’t give up after the failure.

Keep writing, do your best and don’t give up and eventually you will get there sooner or later.

    5 replies to "10 Famous Fiction Writers Who Reached Success Through Failure"

    • Kristine Adams

      Thanks Ani! Part of my writing work includes encouraging others, through hands-on workshops (30 programs so far, in 3 states). My own work continues, but I’ve neglected submitting for awhile now. Your post spurs me to get back into the game–and I’ll share your info with others. 🙂 Kristine

      • Ani

        great! wish you success 🙂

    • […] just because you fail and fail, doesn’t mean you won’t make it eventually. Look at this list of famous authors who all spent years struggling before getting their big break. Keeping going and improving your […]

    • ML Mahale

      thanks, as a librarian, i will encourage the readers.

    • […] Then, he wrote the Notebook, his first published novel. 24 literary agencies turned down The Notebook, The 25th agent sold it to a publisher for $1 million.… […]

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