Norman Mailer – The Naked and the Dead – 12 times
Patrick Dennis- Auntie Mame – 15 times
George Orwell – Animal Farm
Richard Bach – Jonathan Livingston Seagull – 20 times
Joseph Heller - Catch-22 – 22 times
Mary Higgins Clark – first short story – 40 times
Alex Haley – before Roots – 200 rejections
Robert Persig – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – 121 times
John Grisham – A Time to Kill – 15 publishers and 30 agents (he ended up publishing it himself)
Chicken Soup for the Soul – 33 times
Dr. Seuss – 24 times
Louis L’Amour – 200 rejections
Jack London – 600 before his first story
John Creasy – 774 rejections before selling his first story. He went on to write 564 books, using fourteen names.
Jerzy Kosinski – 13 agents and 14 publishers rejected his best-selling novel when he submitted it under a different name, including Random House, which had originally published it.
Diary of Anne Frank
Stephen King’s first four novels were rejected. This guy from Maine sent in this novel over the transom, said Bill Thompson, his former editor at Doubleday. Mr. Thompson, sensing something there, asked to see subsequent novels, but still rejected the next three. However, King withstood the rejection, and Mr. Thompson finally bought the fifth novel, despite his colleague’s lack of enthusiasm, for $2,500. It was called Carrie.
During his entire lifetime, Herman Melville’s timeless classic, Moby Dick, sold only 3,715 copies.