Source: mentalfloss.comU2 was first formed in 1976, and when the came out with their first single, they were excited to pitch it to RSO Records. However, the record company was less than impressed with the band. Within months, the band was signed with Island Records and released their first international single, “11 O’Clock Tick Tock.”
2. Andy Warhol
Source: papermag.comIn 1956, artist Andy Warhol gave one of his pieces away to the Museum of Modern Art. For free. And they still rejected it. Obviously, Andy’s luck turned around pretty fast. In addition to having his own museum in Pittsburgh, the very museum that rejected him now features 168 of his original art pieces.
3. Sylvia Plath
Source: openculture.comWhile this one isn’t really a complete rejection as much as it is a request for revisions, it’s still hard to believe that the now-legendary Sylvia Plath would have experienced anything other than a “yes” for her poem “Amnesiac.”
Source: perezhilton.comWhen Madonna signed with Sire Records in 1982, her debut album sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Clearly the author of this letter to her team would have never thought such a feat possible for an artist who “wasn’t ready yet.”
5. Kurt Vonnegut
Source: lettersofnote.comTwo writing samples that Kurt Vonnegut sent The Atlantic Monthly in 1949 were deemed commendable, but “not compelling enough for final acceptance.” Rather than letting it get him down, the author had the letter framed, and it now hangs in the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis.
6. Tim Burton
Source: lettersofnote.comWhile Tim Burton received praise for his children’s book, “The Giant Zlig,” when he sent it to Walt Disney Productions, an editor didn’t think it would be marketable enough. Just a few years later, though, Disney made Burton an animator’s apprentice at the company. Needless to say, it was a good move.
7. Gertrude Stein
Source: mentalfloss.comIn what might be the snarkiest rejection letter of all time, Arthur C. Fifield turned down Gertrude Stein’s manuscript for “The Making of Americans” without even reading it through entirely. Rude.
8. Jim Lee
Source: instagram.comToday, Jim Lee is the co-publisher of DC comics and one of the most famous figures in the comic book industry. But in this letter from Marvel (one of many rejection letters he’d received throughout his life), he was told to reapply “when he had learned to draw hands.”
9. Stieg Larsson
If you can’t read Swedish, this is a letter to Stieg Larsson, aka the man behind the award-winning “Millennium” trilogy, telling him that he wasn’t good enough to be a journalist. He didn’t live long enough to see his own success with his incredible books, but I’m sure those in charge at the Joint Committee of Colleges of Journalism in Stockholm are kicking themselves.
You might never be as famous as these people, but you should never let anyone make you give up on your greatest dreams.