Apparently Paul Auster’s ‘City of Glass’ – one of the stories in The New York Trilogy – was repeatedly rejected. The experience seems to have left Auster with a realist’s view of the publishing industry. He says:
I don’t think they know what they’re doing -- they guess. And they guess wrong a lot of the time. So the book that was rejected 17 times is now published in 44 languages around the world. So what did they know?
This is from a much longer piece in which Auster talks about his writing process. It's on the NY1 website and worth reading in full.
The book has had so many editions and covers. My all time favourite, to date, is The Folio Society's 2008 edition, pictured here. Tom Burns's original artwork won the V&A Illustration award in 2009.