An important lesson for budding writers is to understand that everyone gets rejected at some point, even J.K. Rowling. Last week, Rowling shared rejection letters she received when she first tried submitting her novel The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. One letter came from Severn House’s Creme de la Crime imprint, saying they couldn’t accept new submissions at the time; the other, from Constable & Robinson, said they couldn’t publish the novel “with commercial success” and suggested other options for the author. Rowling said she wanted to share them “for inspiration, not revenge,” so she censored the names of specific editors. On Tuesday, Severn House representatives responded to Rowling’s revelations.
“We have conducted investigations over the Easter weekend and the letter is correct – the submission was sent at the time that Creme de la Crime was being sold to Severn House and until Friday we had no idea of this,” Severn House chairman Edwin Buckhalter told The Bookseller. “We are very much a specialist publisher and we prefer names with a track record in hardback, or if in paperback, from an established publisher.”
In the spirit of Rowling’s project, Buckhalter added another tip for aspiring writers.
“I would suggest writers try to find a good agent,” he said. “Publishers tend to look through submissions from agents first.”