Persistence Leads to Success.
“The only thing that we know is that we know nothing —and that is the highest flight of human wisdom”. –Leo Tolstoy from War and Peace
One of the greatest writers of Russian literature who’s known throughout the world was Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy’s most famous works include the novels War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and the novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich. His contemporaries paid him lofty tributes. Fyodor Dostoyevsky thought him the greatest of all living novelists. Gustave Flaubert, on reading a translation of War and Peace, exclaimed, "What an artist and what a psychologist!" Anton Chekhov, wrote, "When literature possesses a Tolstoy, it is easy and pleasant to be a writer; even when you know you have achieved nothing yourself and are still achieving nothing, this is not as terrible as it might otherwise be, because Tolstoy achieves for everyone. What he does serves to justify all the hopes and aspirations invested in literature."
Leo Tolstoy died on November 20th, 1910. Leo Publishing was formed almost 100 years later on October 10th, 2010. We honor the great writer Leo Tolstoy, and Leo Publishing would like to tell you something about how this literary great got his start. Amazingly, as a young man, his first literary work, 'Childhood,’ submitted to a famous editor, was accepted for publication. The editor had agreed to print 'Childhood' in his periodical, and he wrote in the letter, "Not knowing the continuation, I cannot say definitely, but it seems to me that the author has talent. In any case, the author's bent and the simplicity and realism of the contents constitute the production's unquestionable worth."
Even though Tolstoy was a literary success, he would not settle for anything less than his personal definition of excellence and revised Anna Karenina seventeen times. As a result of his persistence and his quest for excellence, his novel is a masterpiece.
Not every writer will be this lucky to have their first serious piece of work picked up and published by the first source that they submit to, so don’t be discouraged by a rejection letter. Here are a few highly successful authors who had received up to twenty and more rejection letters for their work. Just imagine how much poorer the world of literature would be today if they had given up.
Dr. Seuss’s rejection letter: "Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling."
Editor of the San Francisco Examiner to Rudyard Kipling, "I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language."
H.G. Wells had to endure the indignity of a rejection when he submitted his manuscript, "The War of the Worlds" that said, "An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would "take"...I think the verdict would be 'Oh don't read that horrid.”
Herman Melville, who had written "Moby Dick," was told, "We regret to say that our united opinion is entirely against the book as we do not think it would be at all suitable for the Juvenile Market in (England). It is very long, rather old-fashioned..."
Ernest Hemingway’s "The Torrents of Spring" was rejected with, "It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it."
Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, "(Your book is) forbidding and depressing."
Edgar Allen Poe was told, "Readers in this country have a decided and strong preference for works in which a single and connected story occupies the entire volume."
When Irving Stone sent his manuscript "Lust for Life," this is what came back in the mail: "A long, dull novel about an artist." I guess that meant "No thanks."
"Jonathan Livingston Seagull will never make it as a paperback." From the publisher of a magazine refusing an offer to bid on the paperback rights to Richard Bach's best-selling novel. Avon Books eventually bought those rights and sales totaled more than 7.25 million copies.
And for those of you who are of a musical bent, please remember that Elvis Presley was told he’d best go back to driving a truck as he lacked talent for the music business. Finally note that the Beetles were told by Decca Records that guitar groups were passé and that Decca would not be interested in offering them a contract.
Remember, talent without persistence is like a boat without oars. Getting knocked down is not what matters; it’s getting back up on your feet that really counts.