Kathryn Stockett's 'The Help' Turned Down 60 Times Before Becoming a Best Seller

How do you keep going when it seems the world, not to mention 60 literary agents, wants you to fail? Kathryn Stockett, author of the best seller "The Help", started keeping secrets, even from her husband: “It was as if I were having an affair.”

by Kathryn Stockett
kathryn Stockett the help photograph
Photograph: Ben Hoffman

This essay appears in the anthology The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives, edited by Katie Couric and published by Random House. 

Read "The Woman Who Inspired 'The Help's' Feisty, Pie-Baking Maid, Minny"

Click to read three more stories of persisent women who did not give up.

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First Published May 7, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!


Ella Lydon02.11.2014

Hi, My name is Ella, and I'm 11. My aunts ex husband's brothers wife wrote The Help. I've only met Kathryn once, I was around 5. I have hung around her daughter 3 or 4 times, I haven't seen her since before my aunt and uncle divorced. Kathryn, if you are reading this, tell Lila that Ella said hello, and that I hope sometime we can meet again. Im reading the book now, and I love it.

Betsy 05.21.2011

Check out our cheeky hommage to the Stockett style!

Patty Palmer05.18.2011

I can't tell you how much this story resonates with me. I've been writing my story for seven years and received about 25 rejections. Each rejection letter makes me realize I can make the story better. But I've begun to lie about pursuing the same story, the same dream, especially to other writers.Thanks for the boost.
I loved The Help. I still think about the characters. I'm so glad you didn't give up!

Just when I entertain the word 'quit' in my thinking... a story like yours, Kathryn, appears on my path. OK, one more GREAT reason to carry on! Thank you for sharing your story.

Lesley Booth05.16.2011

Thanks for sharing your story. Unbelievable.So glad you are so persistent. I LOVED this book. It is up there with one of my all time favorites. I love your writing style.I am hoping you are going to write another book.I loved how you would be writing about a serious event and you would throw some humor in to it! Very clever.


LOVE, LOVE this! What an inspiration to me at this time!! I have worked for 6 yrs to get my company (www.suttongourmetpaper.com) off the ground and though, I finally made it happen, there are and will continue to be "bumps in the road" that need me to stay the course!
LOVE your book - can not wait for the movie! Thank you for this encouragement ;)

Jill Boehler05.10.2011

I loved reading your story and l loved reading your book!

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