I have friends who don’t write, who are invariably amused when I brag, “I got an excellent rejection letter!” People who don’t write don’t realize, I think, how hard we work for a personalized rejection, and what it can mean: the editor actually read the submission and liked it enough to take their time to be encouraging. In this competitive business, that is really awesome. And, as in my first sale to Asimov’s, an initial rejection can lead to a sale.
So, I’ve been yakking about science fiction writing, and didn’t mention that I belong to more than one writers’ group. Kensington Writers Group is a non-genre group that is quite small, but highly successful, and includes not only writers of genre, novels and short stories, but YA, non-fiction and poetry as well. As much as I value my connection to IFWA and the expertise they possess in SF, I have learned a lot about writing by working with people from a wide range of backgrounds.
One member of my group, Jan Markley, has just received a very positive rejection from a Canadian publisher for her YA novel, “Dead Frogs on the Porch.” The editor wrote her almost a page of critique, praising the novel on a number of levels and suggesting Jan look at just a little tension-tightening (and who can’t benefit from that?). She’s doing re-writes for another submission and we’re all on the edge of our seats, waiting to see what happens (okay, we may be on the edge of our seats for a few months)!! Jan’s novel is funny, gripping, unique, and has great characters with distinctive voices. I would not be surprised if she doesn’t wind up with a sale on her hands.