Saturday, June 24, 2006

Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life

Barnable Conrad and Monte Schulz (eds.) Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life (Cincinatti,OH: F&W Publications, Inc: 2002)

This is an interesting book for book lovers, writers and fans of the Peanuts comic strips. Liberally interspersed with comic strips of the writing adventures of Snoopy are comments about the writing life from more than 30 authors which include Ray Bradbury, Clive Cussler, Sue Grafton, Elmore Leonard and Ed McBain. This was an enjoyable read especially for an aspiring writer like me who loves books and writing. Writing is often a lonely adventure and it is exciting to find fellow adventurers along the way. It is like seeking an Asian face in a European country (or it used to be before the colonisation of Europe by Asian).

I have enjoyed the Snoopy’s varied responses when he received numerous rejection letters for his manuscripts from numerous editors. That is one of the most heart-breaking moments of a writer’s life. And most if not all writers have had this heart breaking moments. Jack Canfield author of Chicken Soup for the Soul gave the following statistics in this book:

  • Louis L’Amour, successful author of more than one hundred western novels with more than two hundred million copies in print, received 350 rejections before he made his first sale.

  • Dr. Seuss’s first children book, And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers. The twenty-eighth publisher, Vanguard Press, sold six million copies of the book. All of Seuss’s children’s books went on to sell a total of more than one hundred million copies.

  • Margaret Mitchell’s classic, Gone With the Wind was turned down by more than twenty-five publishers.

  • Mary Higgins Clark was rejected forty times before selling her first story. More than thirty million copies of her books are now in print.

  • Jack London received six hundred rejection slips before he sold his first story.

  • Chicken Soup for the Soul was turned down by thirty-three publishers in New York and another ninety at the American booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California. It was finally picked up by Health Communications, Inc. Since then the original book has sold more than eight million copies and the series, more than fifty three millions copies.

    Encouraging statistics as we sit before our computers and begin writing. Like Snoopy, we all started out with “It was a dark and stormy night”

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Blogger Jason Lethcoe said...

Great article and perspective. I am a big fan of Snoopy! Thanks for posting.

10:01 AM  

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