N is for No

Today I received my very first form rejection letter from a publisher I queried back in December for a picture book manuscript. It makes me smile.

Here’s why, contrary to common sense, I am happy about this.

  1. Although it isn’t the best possible outcome, it’s the outcome I expected with my first attempt. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned since I sent out my first manuscript, and I’m eager to put that into practice with my next one.
  2. Having acknowledgement from a publisher is validation that I am a professional. The letter is a milestone in my writing career. I’m framing this puppy!
  3. I now have a concrete example of a submit-to-reply timeframe. Given that it was even longer than the publisher’s estimate, I know how vitally important it is to make sure that I’m submitting my absolute best.
  4. I’m more encouraged to query literary agencies that, if willing to take me on, can better market my work and help keep it from languishing in the publisher’s slush pile.
  5. I’m driven to identify my mistakes and learn even more about this process. I am confident that, eventually, I will succeed.

Are you as stoked as I am to try, try again?



  1. I’ve always been stupidly happy about rejection. I have a box of rejections and have learned to appreciate the differences between them. There’s something about them that just feels like moving forward.

  2. Yay! Congrats on your first! I have several in a folder and I never knew why I kept them. Now I’m thinking it’s for the same reasons you stated in your post, especially #2. I do feel validated as a professional when I’m acknowledged by a publisher, rejection or not.

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