“Nowadays when a writer or illustrator wants to submit something to a publisher, he or she usually will use the U.S. mail or another delivery service to send the material. In the 1930s and 40s, however, it was not unusual for people to actually carry their manuscripts or drawings from publisher to publisher in New York City. That is exactly what Ted Geisel did. During the winter of 1936-37, he showed his book to twenty-seven different publishers. One after one, they rejected A Story That No One Can Beat, often commenting that it was “too different” from the kinds of children’s books being developed at the time. Few rhyming books were being published, and the odd illustrations Ted had drawn were even more atypical. Some publishers even complained that his story had no moral or lesson for the child. Ted was especially upset about that criticism. He had not intended to preach to children; instead, he merely had wanted to give them something fun to read.
The twenty-seventh rejection was the last one for Ted. Dejected, he shoved the papers under his arm and decided to do two things: to return to his advertising and cartoon work for adults and to burn his only copy of A Story That No One Can Beat. He headed for home, walking along Madison Avenue in New York City. Lost in thought, Ted was surprised to hear his name called by a familiar voice. It was Mike McClintock, a fellow classmate of his from his college years at Dartmouth. Right away, Mike asked Ted what he had under his arm. Ted answered that it was a children’s book manuscript that he was taking home to burn because no one was interested in publishing it. Mike smiled at Ted and pointed at the building in front of which they were standing. Ted’s old friend had just been hired, only three hours previously, as the juvenile book editor at that particular publishing house, Vanguard Press. He invited Ted to come up to his office so they could take a look at the book he was getting ready to destroy.
Thirty minutes later, Vanguard Press’s publisher James Henle agreed to publish the book.”
Ted Geisel is, of course, Dr. Seuss…
Source: Who Wrote That, by Tanya Dean
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