Erin Strecker
November 28, 2011 AT 06:00 PM EST

Take heart, aspiring writers! You aren’t the only ones whose manuscript has been rejected by publishers.

Flavorwire has posted a whole host of rejection letters from now-popular works that at least one publisher didn’t see what all the fuss was about.

Sylvia Plath, for example, received this note about The Bell Jar:“I’m not sure what Heinemann’s sees in this first novel unless it is a kind of youthful American female brashnaess. But there certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice….One feels simply that Miss Plat [sic] is writing of them because [these] things did happen to her and the incidents are in themselves good for a story, but throw them together and they don’t necessarily add up to a novel.” Brutal!

Also included are takedowns of Lolita; a children’s book by Tim Burton; and Kerouac’s On the Road. Hugely successful contemporary authors have their war wounds as well: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was turned down nearly a dozen times.

But my favorite isn’t, technically, a rejection letter. It’s a note that Hunter S. Thompson sent to William McKeen, who had written a biography of him.

Thompson didn’t care for the book and made his thoughts known, sending a handwritten page (pictured above) to McKeen: “McKeen, you shit-eating freak. I warned you not to write that vicious trash about me —Now you better get fitted for a black eyepatch in case one of yours gets gouged out by a bushy-haired stranger in a dimly-lit parking lot. How fast can you learn Braille? You are scum. HST.”

Read more:

Frey, Murakami make ‘Bad Sex in Fiction’ award shortlist 

‘More Badder Grammar’: See some funny, ridiculous mistakes!

The ‘New York Times’ names its 100 Notable Books of 2011

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