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Friday, May 3, 2013

From Rejection-land to Pulitzer Nomination with James Lee Burke (and a book winner!)

Need a little inspiration and motivation to keep going on your writing journey?
Photo courtesy of http://www.jamesleeburke.com/

My dad (who's been sending me author tidbits and nibbles ever since he found out I had the writing bug) recently sent me a photo of a book he was reading. Specifically, the bio section of the book. The author was James Lee Burke and dear old dad was fascinated to read that a story that had gotten rejected 111 times went on to be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. See the bio excerpt below:

Burke's work has been awarded an Edgar twice for Best Crime Novel of the Year. He has also been a recipient of a Breadloaf and Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA grant. Two of his novels, Heaven's Prisoners and Two For Texas, have been made into motion pictures. His short stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, New Stories from the South, Best American Short Stories, Antioch Review, Southern Review, and The Kenyon Review. His novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over a period of nine years, and upon publication by Louisiana State University press was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

If you're getting discouraged after rejection number 10 or 20...or 50 or 60...or 100 or 110, DON'T LOSE HEART! I'm not saying that we all have Pulitzer-worthy tales floating around our heads, and sometimes it's best to let a story go and start on something new, but if you love writing, then stick with it J

~~~

By order of Random.org, the WINNER OF CHRIS HOWARD'S NOVEL ROOTLESS IS...




Pk Hrezo!!! Congratulations!! Please shoot me an email with your address and I'll ship you the 
book



41 comments:

  1. Yay for me!!

    And wow 111 times. Amazing. I love hearing these tales cuz it proves that persistence can always make the difference.

    Thanks for sharing it!

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  2. Congrats to PK! And thanks for the inspiration.

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  3. That story gives me hope! And congrats to PK :)

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  4. Thank you, thank you! There are times we need to be reminded that success just might be out there IF we don't give up! This has given me a much needed shot in the arm :-)

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  5. That's a great story and great inspiration for all of us out here.

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    1. I agree, Michael--it's so easy to get frustrated with the process, but stories like go a long way toward bringing back that sense of motivation/encouragement!

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  6. Oooo! Congrats to PK! :) And having that one rejected 111 times definitely gives other writers hope. Especially since it was later nominated for a Pulitzer! Whoa!

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    1. I know~ 111 times is a lot to take on one novel :)

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  7. Holly wow! Talk about inspiration.

    PS: Congrats to PK.

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    1. I can hardly believe he kept going--perseverance certainly paid off!

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  8. I've read about Burke and his rejection...and thank goodness we have these examples or it would be too easy for the rest of us to just give up! How is it possible that a pulitzer is rejected that many times? Wow. Keep writing!

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  9. This is great info - it's just what my post is dedicated to this week. Never let the rejections get you down.
    Great post! :-)

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  10. Great post Jess! Thanks for sharing. I can always use a good reminder of the importance of determination. Definitely motivates me to keep going :)

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  11. Isn't that incredible? It's a great reminder for us never to give up in something we truly believe in.

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    1. Yep, I was so glad my dad passed it on :)

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  12. Hi, Jess! Thank you, thank you - :) Sometimes, as writers, we just need a reminder of this! The things you love to do take a lot of work, patience, and optimism sometimes!

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    1. They sure do! (that last sentence reminds me of mothering :))

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  13. I guess if you add all my rejections together, I'm well on my way.

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    1. Ha! I've already passed his 111 by several hundred :)

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  14. That is impressive, good for him! I do like stories of those who persevered and then found great success. And very sweet about your dad.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. Thanks! Yep, Dad's a good cheerleader :)

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  15. Thank you for the inspiration! I keep thinking that most published mss swam up from the slushpile...time and patience seem to be the deciding factor between "unpublished" and "published"

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    1. I agree~ there are exceptions, but most people really put in a lot of time :)

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