In 1949, Vonnegut sent in a short story to The Atlantic Monthly. He had written a short story about his war experiences as a POW in Dresden. They turned him down, He’d make the story the basis of his masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five. It is considered one of the great novels of the 20th C. Vonnegut didn’t let the rejection get him down. He framed it and put it in his office. It drove him to succeed.
Steve Jobs is a legend. But in 1976, he was desperate for a deal to print a manual for an Apple prototype. This is what the company he asked said: “They are 2 guys — they build kits — operate out of a garage … Sounds flakey. Watch it!” Yeah. Jobs would need their paper. Instead, he probably enjoyed remembered these guys when singing: “Look at me now. I’m getting paper.”
The author published a short story detailing the exploits of Tarzan of the Apes. He sent in the magazine to a publisher, hoping to expand it into a novel. They said it didn’t fit in. He’d make an empire, with 26 best selling novels, as well as movie adaptions and merchandising. Bad, bad call.