9 Successful Books That Were Almost Never Published

4. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

For three years, Cabot received refusal after refusal of her first of the many tales of Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia. Apparently, Cabot kept all those letters and likes to keep them around as a reminder of her almost non-success. The stack is too heavy to lift.

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5. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

After being shot down by multiple publishers, Potter had to publish the story herself. Using a private publisher in 1901 to distribute to loved ones (one of which was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), the tale was not picked up for commercial distribution until 1902. 

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6. CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller

The same book that spawned a phrase used in every household almost never came to a bookstore near you. One response referred to the book as “not funny on any intellectual level.” The ultimate success of the novel as we know it shows how clearly wrong that publisher was.

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