Yes, you read that correctly, rejection can be a happy thing. Not right away, not at first, but if a rejection letter comes with personal feedback it can be a gold mine.
A few months back I entered a contest, and was pleasantly surprised to get a nibble from an agent. It had been a while since I’d queried and I felt the familiar rush of excitement and adrenaline. Essentially, a caffeine high without the caffeine.
Then the e-mail came. It was only a few days after I sent the query, so I expected a response about receiving my letter. Nope, it was a rejection letter. But it was my first personalized rejection letter.
At first my caffeine high turned into adrenaline junky that needed junk food, stat! Wind knocked out of my sails, shaky hands; I was a mess. Then I took a step back and took stalk. I had some nice words said about my plot and actual feedback on areas I needed to tackle.
When that still didn’t make me feel better I called my mother, who had read the novel. She talked me through the points and by the time we ended the conversation I was ready to roll up my sleeves and tackle another few rounds of editing.
At the end of the day I didn’t get a rejection, I got some great feedback that will help me revise and make my novel into the best work possible.
So to that agent, and any agent who has the ability to send some personalized feedback: thank you.