Posts Tagged ‘Hunter S. Thompson’

Feeling rejected? Read these.

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Not one.

Take heart, rejected writers everywhere!

This is too delicious to pass up:  Flavorwire has 10 nasty rejection letters to eminent writers.  (We wrote about famous rejection letters some time ago here.)

Here’s a 1912 rejection for Gertrude Stein by publisher A.C. Fifield:

Dear Madam,

I am only one, only one, only one. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your M.S. three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.”

Sincerely Yours,

A.C. Fifield

Here’s another for the manuscript that eventually became Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer‘s The Estate and The Manor, rejected by Knopf editor Herb Weinstock in 1959:

It’s Poland and the rich Jews again.

With endless editorial work and endless serpentine dealings with Moshe Spiegel, the willing translator-adapter, this might be turned into an English novel nearly as good and nearly as salable as The Family Moskat. I honestly do not think it worth Knopf’s time and effort … Personally, I’d reject.

"You are scum."

Have to agree with the Guardian Books Blog on this one, which isn’t technically a rejection letter. It’s Hunter S. Thompson‘s letter to his biographer, William McKeen, following the biography’s publication in 1991. It opens:  “McKeen, you shit-eating freak.”

I warned you not to write that vicious trash about me —

Now you better get fitted for a black eyepatch in case one of yours gets gouged out by a bushy-haired stranger in a dimly-lit parking lot. How fast can you learn Braille?

You are scum.


The Guardian blog noted that McKeen now has the letter, framed, on his wall: “That’s one way to deal with rejection.”

So you want to be a professional writer? Hunter Thompson’s helpful hints.

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Not into public relations...

James Scott Bell over at “The Kill Zone,” a blog run by mystery and thriller writers, has some pretty good tips for those who want to break into the writing biz, but Bill Peschel at “Planet Peschel” takes some reasonable exception to a few of the suggestions.  For example, this one: “Successful writers-in-waiting look professional. They do not come off as slobs or slackers. They dress sharply though unpretentiously.”

Peschel, author of Writers Gone Wild, replies:

… I’ve been reading advice like this for a long time, and sometimes, it gets to be too much.

* Be careful how you appear.
* Be careful what you say.
* Don’t piss anyone off.

At the same time, you’re supposed to sell your book, sell your writing, sell yourself. Learn how to promote, to market, to tweet, or bleep, blog, blurg and boast, all without annoying people, turning them off, driving them away or giving in your desire to brag, boast, flaunt, get angry, get petulant or act like a human being in any way.

As for courtesy and savoir faire, Peschel  cites this application for a newspaper position:

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.

Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews.

I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations.

That’s Hunter S. Thompson.  And you should see what the rude letters say…