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Tuesday
May042010

C.S. Lewis may NOT have been rejected 800 times

Last year, I posted that C.S. Lewis had been rejected 800 times after finding the info on several websites. Several readers have since questioned this data, including Mary Mueller, who said:

Who the heck is Inkygirl and where the heck did she get her data?? This is entirely undocumented (the 800 rejections) and shouldn’t be “published,” even on an amateur website, without meticulous documentation.


Mary is entirely correct that I don't provide meticulous documentation for the rejection stories I've been posting, so it's entirely possible that some of the stats may be inaccurate. Unfortunately I lack the time to search for the original documents to support each stat but do try to include my sources of info whenever possible, in case readers need to verify info themselves. I make very little income from this site, and provide the info mainly to help inspire and motivate writers.

I'm hoping that the spirit behind my Writers & Rejection series is still helpful to some writers, despite the lack of detailed documentation. Thanks to Mary for her feedback, and I do apologize if any of you were misled by my C.S. Lewis info.

[Later edit: I just want to clarify...I -do- think Mary had a point, as blunt as her comment may have been. As she pointed out to me in a follow-up e-mail, just because you read something on three websites (or more!) doesn't make it true. It's a good lesson for me, and I do intend on doing a better job at verifying my source info from now on. Again, however, sometimes I won't have time to provide as detailed documentation as I could, so please do feel free to challenge anything I post if you don't agree. :-)]

Gary McGath comments:

Claims made on the Web do tend to be picked up by other people and repeated, which gets some people really frustrated. I’m a lot more concerned when major news outlets, which _should_ have the resources to obtain “meticulous documentation,” don’t bother. I try to avoid the trap of repeating someone else’s unsubstantiated claim, but I’ve been caught in it too many times myself. All I can do then is acknowledge it.


Reader Comments (7)

This site - and the articles you post on it - are very helpful and encouraging, as are several of your other blogs.

Don't take Mary's feedback to heart - Lewis may not have been rejected 800 times, but there is no doubt he - along with most of the Inklings - were rejected several times apiece. The James Michener Writing Center at UT has such information available to students - one of whom is a dear friend of mine who did a research project for her MFA on the Inklings.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteralan m rogers

Thanks, Alan. I do think Mary made a good point (and I told her so in a follow-up e-mail), though, and I do plan on being more careful about passing on unsubstantiated claims from now on!

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterInkygirl

80 might as well be 800. Who cares?

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNik

Hearing that any authors were rejected ever makes us all feel a lot better. Even if you said he was rejected several times - we are still feeling that relief. If it happens to them, then it's okay that it happens to us. I appreciate this blog very, very much.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz H Allen

I think it's great that you can accept feedback so graciously even when it's expressed in a rather dismissive way like this. We all get things wrong at times and I respect people who can acknowledge that.

But then I always did like this blog!

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfairyhedgehog

I've found with my own non-fiction writing that research is a necessity. The number of facts that 'everybody knows' which are totally inaccurate is nothing less than astounding. Even simple things are often misunderstood, and the misunderstandings can amplify from website to website.

Of course then you get surprises where things that look totally incredible turn out to be true...

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWayne

Don't feel alone. For years I thought John Denver was a decorated Army sharpshooter with many verified kills. I shared that with a friend. She asked for more details and in the process of developing them...I found out it wasn't true. Such is life.

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMohamed Mughal

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