When to go solo (self-publish) or accept a small press contract in book publishing? Well, no one can answer that question but you. Because only you know when enough is enough. It’s time consuming constantly writing excerpts, cover letters and submitting manuscripts only to be rejected, again, and again and again. It can grow pretty expensive if your are copying and mailing a raw manuscript.
Quite contrary to popular belief: Everyone doesn’t have years upon years to wait. That’s where self-publishing comes in handy.
The long wait is that may never happen is mainly because most publishing houses still primary publish manuscripts from one segment of society.
So, it’s not a matter of rather or not your work is good. It’s a matter of whether or not a publisher believe they can sell it. Most authors who become famous for one book actually have written many more no one have heard of. Here’s a short list of the number of times some famous authors were rejected.
The Princess Diaries, by Meg Cabot, was rejected by 17 publishers
Frank Herbert’s Dune was rejected 20 times.
Thor Hyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki was rejected 20 times.
Richard Hooker’s novel M*A*S*H was rejected 21 times.
James Joyce’s Dubliners was rejected 22 times.
John Grisham’s first novel was rejected 25 times.
Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind was rejected by 25 publishers.
Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was turned down 29 times.
Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected 30 times.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull was rejected 40 times.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected 121 times.
Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen received 134 rejections.
Louis L’Amour was rejected over 200 times before he sold any of his writing.
The grand prize of rejections goes to: C.S. Lewis, who received over 800 rejections before he sold a single piece of writing.
Remember, in the days a lot of these publications were written, there were no self-publishing.