Twilight Was Rejected Fourteen Times Before Being Accepted

Today I found out Twilight was rejected by fourteen publishers before finally getting published.  In other news, fourteen out of fifteen publishing houses have quality standards on works they accept.  Though of course, in this case at least, having no literary standards seems to have paid off for lucky number fifteen.  So good on ya to them.

Boggles the mind that a poorly written story about a young girl who’s trying to choose between necrophilia and bestiality could do so well; especially considering one of the main characters is a 108 year old pedophile who spends his years hanging out around high school aged girls.

But apparently over 17 million young girls and a disturbing number of grown women, seem not to care.  Stay classy ladies.  Stay classy.

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  • While I hate Twilight with a passion, any never before published author will get rejected tons of times. 14 is actually not that many.

    It hurts me to defend such a terrible book but… it’s the truth.

    • I do not agree on one thing. Twilight is not bad. it is a very good love story. Edward looks 17 so is the right outside look for Bella since Bella also looks 17 but acts older.

      • Daven Hiskey

        @Princess: “Bella also looks 17, but acts older” I think some might argue with you on that point. But yes, it is a great love story in terms of being the type of love story many women love to read.

      • LOL…Bella acts older? I’d have to disagree on that point; she acts EXACTLY like a 17 year old girl would behave: overly romantic and thinking that she just can’t live without him, throwing a tantrum when he breaks up with her because he “doesn’t want to hurt her” and being too stupid to see that he’s lying to her in order to protect her, having her entire self-esteem dependent on how he views her as a person and as a “woman”, her recklessness and impulsive and dangerous behaviors to keep her daydreams about him alive, disregarding how her family would feel if she were to become a “creature of the night”, obsessing about her age and her assertion that “Edward wouldn’t want her anymore when she looked like a grandmother” because in her eyes, love is a superficial thing and not something that goes much deeper…..and I could go on and on. She’s completely self-centered and she only thinks about HER feelings and can’t understand WHY other people become annoyed with her when they try to express how THEY feel about any given subject. Oh, she paid a little, itty bit of lip service to her friends when she needed them, but she wasn’t the slightest bit sincere about it. So…yeah, she acts like she’s 17, all right. And Edward? Big douche and pedophile–it doesn’t matter that he “looks 17”—he’s 108, and honestly, living to that age should really mean something. Such as maturity.

  • Daven Hiskey

    @Joseph: Absolutely true. John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill”, his first novel, was rejected according to him by “30 or so publishers and another 30 or so editors” before finally being picked up. Sadly, a pretty common tail for even great literature.

    The problem stems from the fact that publishers are forced to be extremely selective on what they accept due to very low profit margins. This all comes from, during the Great Depression, books being such a low seller that stores stopped stocking them. To compensate, publishers decided to allow book stores to send back any unsold book inventory if they’d just stock the books in the first place and it has been this way every since.

    Because of this, a book is never actually sold until the end customer buys it and if a publisher miscalculates how many of a given book it chooses to have made will sell, they may end up with literally thousands of copies of a book which are unsellable, which really tends to cut down on profits and makes a lot of books published end up being published for a loss.

    So it all comes down to that publishers must be extremely selective about what they publish and must always keep profit in mind on what they publish. They can’t afford to think too much about how good the book is from a literary stand point, which is sad.

  • Stephen King had been rejected so many times that he was going to give up writing. Fortunately his wife pulled “Carrie” out of the trash (where Stephen had tossed it) and sent it to one more publisher who ended up taking it.

  • Have you read the book(s)? There are way too many people negatively commenting on the books who have never actually tried reading them. The movies were horrible, yes but the books aren’t. I’ve read them, unlike many other critics. I went into it experimentally, thinking I wouldn’t like it but I actually really enjoyed the series. Who’s to say what someone should like or shouldn’t like though? If so many people enjoy these books, the author has succeeded in creating a great story and should be applauded. Calling thousands upon thousands of people, many of whom are avid and even picky readers tasteless is just silly and makes you look like an idiot. There’s something there that is great in these books. If they don’t appeal to you then so be it, but that doesn’t mean everyone they do appeal to has bad taste or is insane.

  • In all fairness, Harry Potter was originally rejected from around 12 publishing houses before one finally decided to publish it.

  • My brother is trying to get his novels published (I think his genre is sci-fi/fantasy). I think he’s been rejected 42 times already. But I just got news that he has an agent who wants some sample chapters…so hopefully this one will back him up ^_^

    By the way, before you can send your stuff to a publishing company, you should get an agent to represent you first, which is the stage my brother’s at right now. I mean, no publishing company is going to read some stuff by a no-body. If they are sent manuscripts from agents who consistently have a good eye for literature and you are represented by one of those agents, then it’ll make things a whole lot easier.

    Novelists experience a LOT of rejection…from agents, from editors, and from publishers. Yikes. And my brother said only 0.1% of all manuscripts submitted to publishers get picked up. Double yikes. Sometimes I really applaud my bro for still trying after all these rejection letters.

    As for Twilight, the writing is elementary and sappy at (a lot of the) times, but for some people, that makes it a quick and easy read, which is what they’re looking for. The thing I don’t like is the underlying message that Meyer conveys to girls with her Bella/Edward relationship; trying to pass them off as “the perfect couple” but when you look past all her physical descriptions of Edward’s “perfection”, it’s just an emotionally abusive relationship that’s unhealthy. Yes, I can say this because I’ve read the books and I’m not a fan.

  • So wait I’m confused… its your problem with the stories that they are poorly written OR is it that you don’t like the subject matter?

    Because you said they are poorly written (I had just assumed, without reading them, that they would be) but then go on to simply talk about how outrageous you find the subject matter – “bestiality or necrophilia” etc.

    Subject matter doesn’t matter bad writing. It’s the actual quality of the prose that makes good or bad writing.

    So your paragraphs about the subject matter sort of seemed out of place unless it was just for a cheep laugh….. ?

  • I’m doing a on the cause of the great depression and your blog is really alot of help, but I am trying to find even more detailed information. I found this article cause of the great depression but I’m not sure I believe the ‘official’ story… I’m on a quest to find the TRUE cause of the great depression, if you have any sources of some other sources for info please send them to me.Thanks

  • Luv the site – will visit again soon! Happy 2010 and if you havent seen this check out unbelievable Rob interview!

  • Good points, I think I will definitely subscribe! I’ll go and read some more! What do you see the future of this being?

  • Your website is great I m gonna read more, thanks

  • Your website is excellent. I m gonna read all, thanks.

  • I enjoyed reading your article above. I hope you keep your site going, often the sites I find and enjoy appear to run out of steam and then grind to a halt.Keep up the good work!

  • Just wanted to comment on the “story about a young girl who’s trying to choose between necrophilia and bestiality” remark. I’ve heard this once before, and its pretty funny as a joke, however that is clearly not what the story is really about. She doesn’t have an asphyxiation with doing animals and fucking dead people. Jacob Black is a human, and over time gets the ability to transform into a wolf, and unless she hooks up with him in wolf form it isn’t bestiality; and Edward Cullen isn’t a lifeless body awaiting it’s trip to the grave. Although he may be consider dead-alive, he has free will, a personality, and can talk and walk and learn, so it’s not something a necrophiliac would consider. Also, the fact that you stated that “the main characters is a 108 year old” your implying that he has lived for 108 years, making your statement about liking him makes you a necro false. I have never read the books or felt compelled to, however I have seen the movies, and although many parts of it were laughable, acting and story wise, overall it is enjoyable and combined with the eye candy, it makes sense that so many ladies enjoy it; movies and books, do not need to be masterpieces to be enjoyed.

  • First off, let us first learn the proper definition of asphyxiation before using it. And yes, getting published is hard. But no, getting an agent isn’t the only way to do it.

    But in all literary fairness, the Twilight series is mediocre, over adjectified fiction which, sadly, is what many thrive upon because it is not difficult to read.

    Arguments for the literary merit of Twilight all too often circle around sales which, by no means, are not a cause for the thought of merit. It simply means it sold well.

  • correction *a fixation

  • Also Colin I was trying to point out how poorly this article was written, although it had intriguing ideas, it didn’t have anything to back up anything it said and had easily arguable points. That along with the idea that the writer thought being rejected 14 times was terrible, when in reality almost all authors go through the same thing made him sound rather naive; ruining his intellectual merit on the subject.

  • i’ve read twilight and i liked it when i was in high school.

    a few years later i saw the movie and reread the books.

    total crap.

    the series is basically a chaste version of the trashy romance novels that lonely housewives and lonelier old maids read to get their proverbial rocks off. not to mention the writing itself is comparative to a terrible fanfiction written by a high school girl. Just look at the fans:

    1. teenage girls
    2. teenage boys who want to be teenage girls
    3. older women who wish they had more romance in their lives


  • Yeah I hate to join the defense, but being rejected only 14 times is almost impressive. It’s extremely difficult to get an agent.

  • I’m not a teenage girl, a teenage boy or an “older” woman. In fact I’m in my early 20’s, just married and have plenty of “romance” in my life. I am well read, I’m an English Major at University, and I write myself. I’ve read the books, I enjoy the books and I have only a few criticisms about the literary merits of the writing. It is an enjoyable easy read.

    I have noticed however that the majority of anti-Twilight comments (on here and in life) are from the male populace, whether they’ve read the books or seen the movies, or not. I haven’t quite worked out what their particular problem with it is yet, I am working on this enigma though. Observations so far indicate a dislike of not knowing what appeals to the girls they can’t have or even do have, and an association of the “sparkly vampires” with homosexual connotations. I’m sure these aren’t the only reasons though, like I said, I’m working on it

  • I agree with “Reader” above – I hated the films, but didn’t want to criticise without reading the books properly. I picked up the first one, fully expecting to hate it – and finished the series inside 10 days.

    It’s not perfect, Bella royally pisses me off with her reliance on men to make her happy, the deliberate “isn’t she intelligent” in the writing and a few other traits; and there are writing flaws aplenty. However, name me an author who doesn’t mess up? Try reading the first release of The Gunslinger, it’s just as bad. The story, however, is somehow compelling and the writing can hold the attention well.

    I’m not a teenage girl (in fact, I fall in neither category), but I still manage to accidentally relate the character and enjoy the story. Give it a go, forget the myriad abuse of punctuation in the first book and just let yourself read it: you might be as suprised as I was.

  • Loves To Spooge

    The only reason this got published is because the publisher knew they would make shit loads of money of stupid teenage girls and older girls who are unhappy with themselves. That’s it. A turd would get published if the publisher thought it would make him money.

  • I read the first book but not the rest because simply put, it was boring. I shouldn’t have even given it more than 50-100 pages, but I was determined to have some basis to discuss it. Bella’s constant monologuing and the snails pace of the plot drove me crazy. Throw in poor prose and childish characters and it makes for a pretty crappy book. I suppose there are many people who like the middle-school style drama, with “him liking her but oh but oh wait he doesn’t but she thinks he’s hot, or does she, yes she does but they can’t oh they can!”, I found it a yawn worthy of the toilet roll.

  • I’m not a fan of Twilight, but how many times a book gets rejected has often little to do with its quality and more to do with whether or not the publishing house thinks that it will make money. Regarding that decision I’m sure that Twilight’s publishers are laughing their way to the bank at nonsense like this.

    Also: pedophilia is the attraction to children; ephebophilia is attraction to adolescents. I would expect such knowledgeable critic of literature and the English language as Davin here to realize the difference.

    • Daven Hiskey

      I do indeed know the difference (and actually have written an article on it; though it’s been sitting in the completed “drafts” for about three months now due to wondering if the title would scare people off) :-). However, as I know the vast majority of the English speaking world seem not to know the difference between the two or rather, not know the latter word at all, I chose the more common misused word “pedophile”; thus, opting for understandability, rather than literal correctness.

  • @Reader:

    I have read all of the books and seen all of the (released) movies and I still think they are horrible as everyone says (if not more so.) I also disagree with you in that sitting through the movies is much better than reading the books. I read them the first time because I had heard so many people talking about them, so for the most part completely neutral. While I can understand why they are appealing for some people to read, I still think that for an educated person reading them is huge waste of time.

    For the “middle school aged girl” category, it is not a terrible thing for them to read if it gets young adults who don’t typically enjoy reading to read (despite all the negative aspects of the story; however, ask yourself at 11-14 did you really know what all those things were?) However, that is about as far as I can go to praise the books. For such a wide-open, and almost interesting, story line (girl falls in love with a boy(s) she can’t and shouldn’t be with then gets into trouble with the said boy(s)), Meyer completely destroys it with her poor writing style and prose along with many things that other people have mentioned. While the story line is a bit compelling, following it through the dragged-down prose is rather difficult and frustrating. I consider it at about the same level as “trashy romance novels” except cleaned up content wise to be made appropriate for younger readers. If that is the type of books you enjoy reading, then so be it; however, for more avid and refined readers, the books probably are highly unappealing, thus the large amounts of negative criticism.

    And for the record, I fall into the “teenage girl” category.

  • Don’t you mean fourteen agents? Publishers don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts.

  • Nobody lives on truffles, caviar and champagne. Sometimes you want mac n’cheese. I found the books to be a nice, easy, rainy afternoon read. Did they change my life? No. Did I enjoy them? Yes. I find that the people who sneer at the Twilight books tend to be those who hold their own intellect in high esteem, possibly without enough reinforcement from others. I know plenty of people who have said that the books just were not their cup of tea without feeling the need to denigrate those who did enjoy them. I guess I will just have to assume that those people are more intellectually secure than others.

  • This makes a lot of sense, though I sort of wish she had given up after fourteen rejections so we wouldn’t be tortured by the belligerently ridiculous hell that is the Twilight fandom.

  • @Irene
    Well yes, but there’s a difference between “enjoying” something and an obsession. I don’t mind Twilight fans, but I can’t stand those who are all “omgjacob/edwardzgonnamarrysme~” And I know not all of them are like that, but from my observations a lot are, and that is really scary.

    I agree. D:

    I, personally, had about enough of the whole series from the minute I got five pages into Breaking Dawn. Or when Kristen Stewart was cast, whichever came first. So I’m absolutely sick of everything about it. I don’t know what possessed Meyer to write such utter bullshit. Especially when there are better writers out there who deserve to be published, but then they aren’t.

  • Namedlaughinggirl

    Honestly.. who cares if people like the books/ movies.. if you don’t like it, get over it.

    This may come as a shock but not everyone likes the same thing. I could care less if you didn’t like Twilight, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Great Expectations. People like whatever they like and having some embittered trolls whine about how much they don’t like a book because a,b and c isn’t going to stop them from enjoying it.

  • The only people I have ever talked to that didn’t like the books have never read them. Plus, I find it appalling that so few men read them. It’s not just a mushy love story, it’s got a lot of action in it as well. Please, read the books before you criticize. They aren’t pieces of classic American literature, but the storyline is creative and unique.

  • I’m not surprised that Twilight was rejected 14 times. The storyline isn’t that good, the books aren’t that well written, and the movies weren’t even that good. (New Moon was horrendous to sit through) However, I’m glad Stephenie Meyer kept trying. That shows a lot of character on her part. 🙂

  • 14 times isn’t a lot at all. Harry Potter was rejected 12, and many other famous books rejected many times more.
    However, I enjoy the Twilight books, and with each one the writing improved.

  • Actually, I think “Twilight” WAS well written (after you get past the 1st
    chapter)! It was much better than the film, and why wouldn’t it be? The
    author, Stephenie Meyer, has a degree in English Literature! It’s
    difficult for me to imagine it being rejected even once!

    “Harry Potter”, on the other hand, (while at least in my opinion) wasn’t
    extremely well-written! Sounds like a story an 8-year old would make up
    during a slumber party! I’m currently reading it, and it just doesn’t
    hold my interest like “Twilight” did! Fortunately, the “Harry Potter”
    films WERE much better than the actual book!

    I decided to read both of these books after receiving an idea for a fantasy
    novel of my own – which I’m HOPING and PRAYING, may be HALF as good as

  • In all fairness I tried to read the first book, give it a chance. After a while it just became too painful to read and I am a woman. The subsequent books werent much of an improvement. The only character that had any substances and apparantly a living brain of his own was Jacob Black and Stephanie Meyers take on his backstory showed an almost ignorant disregard for Native American culture. The cliches, plot holes, poor character development, total disregard for centuries old folklore and myth(sorry folks Vampires do not sparkle in the sunlight they burn or die except if they are the Daywalker and he doesnt sparkle either) need I go on? Outside of having no backbone and being so Mary Sue you want to strangle her, she sets a very dangerous example by implying that its romantic to be with stalker, beater and psychopath all vampiric qualities aside. As a aspiring novelist myself, Ms. Meyer is the perfect example of how NOT to write a novel. Wish fufillment is fine that’s what fan-fiction is for. The fact she got rejected only fourteen times is disappointing yet encouraging. I have nothing against the fans, I just feel they need to open their minds to better literature like Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris even the Vampire Diaries or Sherrilyn Kenyon if they want vampires that bad.

  • I was in highschool when I first heard about Twilight (the first book in the series). It had been released a year earlier and all of the sudden, everyone I knew had a a copy. I reisisted, just like I have resisted reading Harry Potter but a close friend stuck in my booksack and demanded I give it a chance. I tried it and fell in love. I read the first book in less than a day. Is it perfect? No. I hate how Bella is so dependent on others and I dislike that her life stops when Edward isn’t with her. I also hated how she “loved” both Edward and Jacob and they let her get away with leading them both on. You can’t just have every guy you want, unless you want to be selfish and try and form a polygamous relationship with those men. Anyway, back to the point at hand; the books were entertaining and fun. The movies are mediocre but hey, I had to support the books.

  • @LINDA Jan 31 ’11:

    I really hate to lay it on you but you sound like a total basketcase when you say Twilight was better-written than Potter. I mean really, you have to be really…have a problem learning. Maybe Potter was too advanced for you even though you were technically in high school, maybe 498 pages of CHAGRIN, marble chest, and EYES TIGHTENING is easier for you to comprehend.

    And that’s FINE, but don’t sit there and pretend Twilight is better written than Potter just because Potter is too fast for you.

    P.S. I’m not even a Potter fan but the few pages I read were MUCH better written than Twilight. I flew through Twilight because it was just 400 pages of CHAGRIN: that ain’t nothin’. I liked it.

  • English Teacher & Avid Reader

    Your arguments are juvenile at best. As an English teacher, and an avid reader, I realize that there are books that are widely read and talked about for their literary merit, and others that are widely read and talked about as pleasure reads.

    Understanding the difference between good literature, and fun literature is a skill you should probably learn before becoming a critic. The Twilight series is another series of possibly poorly written science fiction. What you can’t argue with are the sales numbers. The sales numbers don’t make it good writing, but they do make it compelling writing.

    Whatever your stance on the series is, you can’t argue that millions of people are reading the books, watching the movies, and talking about both. Writing is often about the reactions provoked in the reader. This obviously evoked strong reactions from you…so good for Stephanie Meyer.

    At this point, I haven’t actually read, talked to, or heard of anyone who is stating that these are great literature, just people who claim they are great reads. It’s ok to dislike something, but get over it already. Don’t you have some reading to do that has more literary merit?

    This seems like “a clear case of sour grapes.”

  • @AIRY , APRIL 16th 2010, Why don’t you STOP insulting people? I can’t believe how many groups you’ve just insulted within a single paragraph. I mean,everybody excpet any Males of course. They can do no wrong,right? Romance books these days make up over 50% book sales, & most book readers are women who need an escape from the farting Homer Simpsons in their lives (yes, I just threw out an insult but I’m sure AIRY won’t mind. Btw, is “AIRY” shorthand for “gassy” or what). I’d rather swoon over Edward than sniff real men’s farts day and night. You guys make fiction look awfully appealing. HIMT: Take some Gas-X.

  • I read the entire series after watching the movies. I liked the movies, but I had to put myself into the mind frame of a teenager to really enjoy them. I didn’t think they were as good as they were supposed to be considering all the hype and the number of people I witnessed becoming obsessed with them, even adults. I think the hype is what made me watch them in the first place…to see what it was all about. But the books to me, read as if they were written by a middle school student, with simple, repetitive sentences, words and phrases almost deliberately written to be easily read by children, but with content only appropriate for an adult. It was like visiting the children section at the library. I have re-read books that I read when I was in middle school and at the time I thought they were the greatest books of all time, and when I read them again as an adult, I asked myself, “I really thought this was a great book?” and the Twilight books seemed to have that same effect on me. I also don’t care to EVER see the word ‘glowered’ ever again. It actually started to irritate me after the first 10 times or so of seeing that word, sometimes only a couple paragraphs apart that I came close to throwing the book in the garbage. What was her fascination with that word?! Anyway, obviously I don’t have a lot of room to talk, since she is a well known published author and I am a normal nobody, but after considering the reading level of the books, I am not really all that impressed. It does however give me hope that I may be able to get my own book published and become a famous and well paid author. After all, if she can downplay her degree and writing talents and manage to get her book published, as awful and ridiculously poorly written as it is…anybody can, right?

  • I read Interview with the Vampire… nuff said

  • I watched the movies first and kept laughing at Edward’s stalker face.
    Then I read the books. Normally, I’d finish it in five hours, but it took a week to finish each. I mean, my head was throbbing, and I was all, “Why does he sparkle?” “Honey, I don’t even know cheese about you, and you start talking about your mom?” “Stop whining about your father, you slimy git.”
    All in all, Twilight is simply horrible and I wasn’t surprised when I found this out. The only thing I was surprised about was when…”Only fourteen? I thought twenty-three publishers rejected it!”
    That fifteenth publisher was either stupid, bribed or wanted to see the world destroyed because even my ten year-old sister, who still sucks her thumb, knows that Twilight is sad and pathetic.

    Twilight is based off a whiny dependent twit who lusts for a sparkly vampire who is a hundred years older than her. Then in the second book, a “werewolf” falls for her. I would like to point out Jacob Black is more of a shapeshifter than a werewolf because a werewolf changes into a wolf during the full moon. Jacob and his tribe can change at will.

    I rest my case.

  • When a master author like Stephen King says you f*cking suck….give it up, cause you f*cking SUCK!

  • Man that’s alot of comments.