I am up at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers conference, where aspiring authors workshop their writing and listen to authors, agents, and editors talk about the publishing business. The conference has a long tradition of inviting back alumni who have been published, and I came to hear two friends read from their work. (We attended Squaw together in 2004.) They were Julia Flynn Siler, who wrote the House of Mondavi, and Beatrice Motamedi, whose essay appears in the anthology, Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing By Women of the Iranian Diaspora.
For inspiration, someone has posted a stack of Amy Tan's rejection letters. The New Yorker rejected at least two of her stories, and a bunch of publishers, including Pantheon, rejected her book, which went on to become the bestselling Joy Luck Club.
“I am glad to have had a chance to see Amy Tan’s stories and proposal from THE JOY LUCK CLUB,” Pantheon Books Editor Sara Bershtel wrote Sandra Dykstra, Tan’s agent, in November 1987.