Stephen King was struggling when he was first trying to write. He lived in a trailer with his wife —also a writer—and they both worked multiple jobs to support their family while pursuing their craft. They were so poor they had to borrow clothes for their wedding and had gotten rid of the telephone because it was too expensive.
After graduating from the University of Maine, Mr. King earned a certificate to teach high school but, unable to find a teaching post immediately, initially supplemented his laboring wage by selling short stories to men’s magazines such as Cavalier. Many of these early stories have been republished in the collection Night Shift. The short story "The Raft" was published in Adam, a men's magazine. After being arrested for driving over a traffic cone, he was fined $250 and had no money to pay the petty larceny fine. However, payment arrived for the short story "The Raft" (then entitled "The Float"), and King was able to pay the fine. In 1971, King was hired as a teacher at Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine. He continued to contribute short stories to magazines and worked on ideas for novels.
King received so many rejection letters for his works that he developed a system for collecting them. In his book On Writing, he recalls: “By the time I was 14...the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing.” He received 60 rejections before selling his first short story, "The Glass Floor", for $35 to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Even his best-selling book, Carrie, wasn’t a hit at first. After dozens of rejections, he finally sold it for a meager advance to Doubleday Publishing, where the hardback sold only 13,000 copies—not great. Soon after, though, Signet Books signed on for the paperback rights for $400,000, $200,000 of which went to King. Success achieved!
Stephen King is an inspiring man for the world for his continued efforts to write and achieve success by selling his short stories after so many rejections before selling his first short story.
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