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Dr. Seuss Rejected by 27 Publishers

When Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) wrote his first children's book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, it was rejected by 27 publishers. A friend finally published his work in 1937, which was the beginning of a successful writing career.

By the time of death in 1991, Geisel's books had sold more than 200 million copies in 15 languages. Since his death another 22 million of his books have been sold. What if he had quit after his 26th rejection from a publisher? 

Charles Dickens

CHRISTMAS: In October of 1843, Charles Dickens was a desperate man.  His string of five successful books was followed by three disappointing literary attempts to reestablish his reputation and collapsed finances.  At the age of 31, it seemed as if his good fortune had vanished. 

He walked the streets at night trying to rediscover himself and his ability to write something that would interest the public.  The story began to unfold in his imagination as he traversed the darkened streets of London each night.  In an amazing burst of inspiration, Dickens completed the 30,000-word manuscript in just six weeks.  It was the shortest book he’d ever written and his publisher wasn’t the least bit enthused. 

Dickens ultimately had to front all of the finances and responsibility for publication.  His publisher simply functioned as the printer.  Readers quickly embraced the tale even though it did not reflect their understanding of Christmas.  In 1843 there were no Christmas cards, trees weren’t cut or decorated, there weren’t any turkey feasts, gift-giving was not mainstream, business parties didn’t exist, and the Anglican church frowned on any type of Christmas celebrations because it smacked of paganism.  By the end of that year, which seemed so bleak, Dickens’ life was transformed.  A Christmas Carol went into its third printing by year’s end and was kept my many on a separate shelf in their homes.  The writer later classified it as his greatest achievement, and its depiction of Christmas has played a major role in transforming a non-holiday into the most celebrated time of the year.  By his own admission, Charles Dickens was focused more on himself when failure and depression enveloped him.  His writing about the priority of others, while reflecting on the message of Christmas, was his lifeline back to life.  The same can happen for those who do likewise. Houston Chronicle, 12/14/8, Zest p.11

as cited in In Other Words, December 2009