From Rejection to Spectacular Success

By Joanne Guidoccio

While querying the Gilda Greco Mystery Series, I kept myself motivated by reading the success stories that started with stacks of rejection slips.

Here is one of my favorite success stories:

In 1992, teacher and motivational speaker Jack Canfield decided to compile all the stories he had shared on the self-help circuit. Intrigued, promoter and salesman Mark Victor Hansen joined this venture.

While culling his stories, Jack searched for narratives that were “inspiring, healing, motivational, and transformational.” Jack wanted to include 70 stories but was persuaded to increase the number to 101. During his years as a student ambassador in India, Mark had learned that 101 is the number of completion.

The title “Chicken Soup” appeared to Jack in a dream: The hand of God scrawled these words across a chalkboard.

Once the first volume was completed, Jack and Mark found an agent and flew to New York to meet with publishers.

They struck out.

None of the publishers could relate to these “positive yarns.”

Their agent suggested they obtain guarantees that at least 20,000 copies of the book would sell. A daunting task but one that the two men were able to accomplish within months. They placed “Commitment to Buy” forms on the chairs of every motivational conference they attended.

These inked promises from audience members persuaded Peter Vegso at HCI (a publishing house in Florida) to release the first anthology in the summer of 1993.

Since that time, more than 250 books have been published and over 500 million copies sold. In 1999, the series made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most books on the New York Times Best-Sellers List at one time.This past Tuesday, Chicken Soup for the Soul released Angels All Around: 101 Inspirational Stories of Miracles, Divine Intervention, and Answered Prayers. My essay, “Prayers and Positive Thoughts,” was selected as one of the 101 stories for this anthology.


In this book of 101 inspirational stories, contributors share their personal angel experiences of faith, miracles, and answered prayers, which will amaze and inspire you.

More than what we experience, it’s often the memory of who we experience that lasts. And sometimes, we experience an angel. You will be awed and inspired by these true personal stories from people who are certain that there are angels right here on earth. They know this, because they’ve met them, and if you open your eyes, and your heart, you may find that angels don’t live too far away after all.

Excerpt from Prayers and Positive Thoughts

“Are you praying?”

In many circumstances, this question would be deemed intrusive and inappropriate. But considering the source—my mother—I didn’t take offense. If anything, I was embarrassed to admit that prayer was the furthest thing from my mind.

Over a month had passed since the specialist oncologist had delivered the diagnosis: Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Stage IIIB. While I had shared the stage, I had kept those first three words to myself. I didn’t want family and friends Googling IBC and discovering the seriousness of the diagnosis. In 2004, the five-year survival rate for IBC was 30 percent. As for the ten- and fifteen-year survival rates, the percentages were in the single digits and not even worth considering

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow, Joanne. Congratulations! How awesome to be included in this book. And even more awesome is the story you could share. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Marsha! I’m thrilled to be included in the anthology. 🙂


  2. Congratulations, Joanne! I’ve subbed many times, but haven’t been picked yet. You done good. Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Vicki, I’ve also subbed before…I even got short-listed. In a recent interview, publisher Amy Newmark said that each anthology receives several thousand submissions that are narrowed down to 200 and then 101. She advised writers not to get discouraged. Often, a story is rejected because there are too many covering the same issue. Keep sending your stories! 🙂


  3. Pat Amsden says:

    Congratulations for beating the odds and inspiring others, both with this story and the countless others you’ve shared.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Pat! I appreciate your support. 🙂


  4. Reblogged this on Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author and commented:

    Joanne Guidoccio​ shares a success story and her new release as part of the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul​ anthologies!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reblogging, Jacquie 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happy to share 😊


  5. Thank you for sharing this success story, Joanne. I’m so glad you had your own angel watching over you {{hugs}}

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to see you here, Jacquie 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow Joanne, congratulations on so many fronts! Your excerpt is one of the best I’ve read. Am looking forward to reading the long version of your moving story. You inspire me.


    1. Hi Elizabeth, Thanks so much for your support and encouragement. You’ve been a wonderful companion on my writing journey. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beth Carter says:

    I’m deleting old emails and came across this. I’m thrilled I did. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring post, Joanne, and congrats on being included in this incredible anthology!


    1. Beth Carter says:

      Oh, my. I just read your excerpt. I’m so happy you have beaten this dire diagnosis. Hugs.


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