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September 23, 2009


Dr. Sallie N. Cheinsteen

Oh my nelly, I'm the first one to write! Ever seen the movie "Back to the Future?" Marty and his dad both say, "I don't think I could take that kind of rejection." Shannon, I don't know how you did it. Thanks for the encouragement. It's not easy to have your thoughts and soul criticized like that.

Moriah Mackley

Wow, the things they said in those rejection letters are totally not how I see your books. They're all so wonderfully amazing! Thank you for sticking with it, Shannon!
I have a question about the cover of FOREST BORN. As far as I can tell it's not staying with the theme of the hardcover editions of all the other books. Why is that? I absolutely love that style.


Again with the encouraging comments! You really are a breath of optimistic air in a time when people like being oppressively bleak. :D

It makes me work harder!

Kim Harris Thacker

Thank you for sharing your letters, Shannon. Sometimes it's awfully hard to keep your chin up when you're trying to "break out" in the writing world, and I appreciate your willingness to share your experiences with all of us.


Thanks for sharing those letters, Shannon. My friends are always surprised when they find out that for every poem a magazine buys, I get about a dozen rejections for others. It's like they think I just magically pop out a couple of inspired poems a year. And novels are so much more work than poems!

It was crazy fun to meet you on Saturday! Thanks for recognizing my name and remembering posts. And thanks for encouraging those of us who write. That IS part of why I keep coming back to read your blog.


I feel honored that you shared something as personal as those rejection letters with your fans. It was certainly interesting to read the editors' justifications for not wanting to take on the project. The adjectives they used- well, I would never use some of those to describe your writing. It's fascinating to me that someone could walk away from reading one of your manuscripts with the words "stiff and self conscious" as their impressions. I'm glad the goose girl found the right home...

Shannon M.

Rejection isn't easy (and I'm dreading it once I get to that point). But it's nice to know even amazing writers experience it, so thank you for sharing.

I've always thought it would be cool (and very inspirational) to have a book of published rejection letters for some of the best books out there, since I'm sure most of my favorite books (or authors at least) were rejected at some point. I know I'd buy it. (Anyone reading this who wants to steal that idea, feel free...just let me know where I can buy a copy when it's published.) Course...maybe it already exists and I just haven't looked hard enough.

Anyway, thanks for the post. Have fun on the tour and if you decide to add a few days in Cali we'd be happy to roll out the red carpet for you. :)

Lois Moss

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm in rewrites now and hoping that I'll be able to send things out soon.

shelley moore thomas

Thanks for posting these! Today, I really needed to read that I'm not the only one.



Of course you would post this on the day that I'm feeling low about the prospect of ever getting my book looked at, let alone rejected. Thank you so much for your inspiration and candor. Especially with something so near and dear to your heart. :)

Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams

Thanks for your encouragement, Shannon. I, too, needed this today.


This is just what I need this week. My book has been out on submissions for six months now and I've been starting to think there's no hope. It's been a rough week. I love Goose Girl and I'm astonished so many editors rejected her before she and her perfect match found each other. At least that gives me hope one day I'll find mine.


I'm sorry to say it was indeed me who pushed Humpty Dumpty from the wall. But he had it coming...

Had to say it :]

Amber Lough

Thank you for posting these letters, Shannon. I've been seeing a few of those myself, and have been wondering if my writing wasn't good enough, or the story wasn't interesting enough, and eventually those worries lead into wondering when my agent will dump me! (But she won't---she's a wonderful agent!) It's comforting to know that many successes had large, frequent hurdles.

Shannon Morris

As has been valiantly trumpted already, I add my sincere thank you for your beautiful words of encouragemet. As per your advice I collect my rejection letters in a folder, a big one, and it's filling up nicely. Except for those who have not, and most likely will not, respond. But it's all good. I'm about 25,000 words into my third novel and I just love doing the writing. Maybe someday someone will enjoy reading it. Thanks again for the encouragement.

Chelsey Gruber

*sigh* That was just what I needed to hear. Thanks for your inspiration, optimism, and encouragement, Shannon!

Je Reve

Encouragement to burgeoning writers is almost impossible to find in the context that Goose Girl brought you, Shannon. Love the fan art!


I love Goose Girl and all the sequels. I just finished Forest Born and I LOVED it! I'm glad you found the right home for you and it was published! It's my favorite series.


My life would not be the same if The Goose Girl did not exsist. I would be forced to lead a mundane, sorrowful, dull life. Do you think those publishers who so wrongly turned down your book that if that book was never published a young girl would be deprived of a full, meaningful life?! Do you?! And if The Goose Girl wasn't published, then Forest Born couldn't have been published, and that book was possibly even more amazing than The Goose Girl. Who knows, perhaps there are thousands of unpublished stories that would've caused people to become president, or an amazing inventor, or Hannah Montana! Perhaps Miley Cyrus owes her fame to a book! Oh, I'm rambling aren't I..... But still, something to think about.


Why is there a little picture next to my post?! I didn't put it there!


Two more days until the book festival!! My friend and I are so excited to see you. I checked my books, and I can't believe it's been six years since I saw you at The King's English for Enna, and even longer since the educator's night when I met you the first time for Goose Girl! Every time I've been back to Utah since we moved, I've checked your schedule and always missed your appearances. I'm so glad this is working out (/crazy fan rant)

Thanks for posting the letters, they were very interesting!!


Any chance of you comming to Southern California in the near future?


Oh, wow, that is so encouraging! I (stupidly) already contacted a literary agency without finishing the book and now I have a contract waiting to be signed in my email...and I, quite frankly, am freaked out by all the future rejections I will receive. I CANNOT believe someone would say that about Goose Girl...thats just WRONG on SO many levels! Anyway, I hope to be a writer as good as you someday...a published writer, that is.... :D


I loved Forest Born. Thank you for writing.


Those publishers were crazy...oh well, their loss!

Elizabeth Cox

I loved the book. Some people just can't see a great idea.


I'm just adding to the chorus here, but today I got yet another rejection and was feeling a little gloomy. Thanks for reminding me there's hope in the universe.

Victoria McDaniel

It is a lovely life lesson, and one that I particularly needed to hear right now. I am not writing a book, but rather a music project, and after having a discouraging summer learning from "industry professionals" just how limited my market is, it seemed reasonable to just quit, and immerse myself in all of the worthwhile TV shows of the new season (LOL). I have opted instead to create a Christmas album and kill myself for the next month and a half, and by so doing, actually follow my heart (what a concept). I need to follow my own mantra that I tell all my boys... that they should never listen to advice from someone who does not have their back:)

Thank you for the reminder.

Sondy Eklund

Shannon, thank you for posting these! They must have been so discouraging to get - and I soooo disagree with those editors! I think of Goose Girl as one of the best books I've ever read (and I've read a LOT), and your writing is not the LEAST bit stiff and the plot is fantastic and gripping. Anyway, since the book I'm writing is rather similar - also a fairy tale type setting - it's tremendously encouraging to be reminded that not all editors enjoy that sort of book, and that's not necessarily a reflection of the quality. (It was DEFINITELY not a reflection of the quality in your case!)
I'm really looking forward to seeing you at the National Book Festival tomorrow! I'm hoping to get my copy of FOREST BORN signed.
You are a fabulous writer, and I'm so glad you persevered through the rejections!


Thank you Shannon I was at your book signing in Utah and it was so kind of you to show them. By the way why was your husbands shirt covered in blood my friend insists it's paint but I want to hear a really juicy story haha I finished forest born and I loved it! I love the new cover but the Alison jay cover was so beautiful and I hope to get one for forest born *wink wink* I just fished out some stories I wrote in 5th grade and I am working on them again SO excited to see what will happened! Thanks Shannon!


Miss Shannon, I don't believe I would be the first to mention the idea, but what would it be to write a book from Selia's point of view?


It was lovely listening to you speak yesterday at the National Book Festival. You even had my husband laughing (no small feat). I love your books, and am very glad you kept going through the roll of rejections. I will treasure the book you signed. THANK YOU.

Meredith B.

Yes! You were wooonderful at the book festival-- definitely the highlight of the day. :-) Thank you so much! The book is now back home with me in Cincinnati, resting on the shelf of Very Specials.


I am consistently impressed by you. Thank you for taking the time to advise, nurture, and share with aspiring writers. This level of kindness and mentorship to others is rare and it's an aspect of who you are as an author that I highly admire and appreciate. I love your books and your blog. You are a great writer, and a great person!


Hi Shannon - I attended a presentation you gave in SLC for the Forest Born release (my first one, ever, for any author) and I loved that you didn't just read from your book but shared with your fans all the fun things that make you you. I thought you were hilarious - loved the stalker slide show. :) It was also interesting to see that a book I love so much (The Goose Girl) took a while to find a publisher. As an aspiring writer, I'm just starting to cast my work out there, hoping to get caught in a good net. 3 casts so far and 3 times thrown back, however. I'm really trying to not take it personally. I really appreciate you sharing your "rejection" stories here, though. It reminds me that every writer goes through it - but we keep trying anyhow because it's what we love to do. I also just wanted to mention that I loved The Actor and the Housewife. [spoiler!!] I bawled my eyes out when Mike died. The emotion was so rich, raw, gut-wrenching. I don't think I even cried that hard when Dumbledore died. I sort of gage things like that on if they make me cry - some of my favorite movies do. In my opinion - if it can get me to cry, it's obviously amazing! Thanks.


My book has been out to publishers for over a year. It's such a frustrating, ongoing process.

Seeing these rejection letters made me feel better. If great books get rejected, then mine must be one of the greats. Right?


Im 12 and am writting a book i was wondering if you had any tips or anything that would help. My friends have been pointing me in the right direction i think but i still need help!!
Baylie Farnworth

jordan france

Um...like the style of your writing.

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