I’ve just gotten the most useful rejection letter of my life, from a publisher who is pretty clearly enthusiastic about working with me but we’re stumbling around a little in finding the right project. It’d be for a historical YA book/series.
They really loved what I sent them, but it didn’t quite (to summarize wildly) tie in enough with how they sell a lot of their books. So the editor I’ve been talking with *apologized* for pulling me in all sorts of directions (which they haven’t been) and sent a list of like 15 historical events/periods that they AND THE MARKETING TEAM had put together as good spaces for them to be able to work with.
I cannot *tell* you how amazing it is to get this kind of feedback from a publisher. My experience has mostly been “We’ll know what we want when we see it,” which is rather difficult to tailor anything to (she said dryly). And the thing is, 9 times out of 10, I can write what somebody’s looking for–more importantly, perhaps, I can *enjoy* writing what somebody’s looking for–if I know what they want. I cannot, though (to my never-ending irritation), read minds. So now I’ve got this LIST and have no need to try to read minds and I’m genuinely thrilled to be able to sit down and work up a proposal for them.
And you know, of course, there’s always the possibility it won’t work out. I won’t write the right thing, or they won’t have the window for publishing that they need–things that are simply part of the industry. But for the moment, I’m just really delighted and looking forward to doing this. I love developing new ideas. It’s the shiny part! :)
(Also I have this pretty kick-ass proposal I wrote that I could potentially sell to somebody else at some point, so overall, there’s no bad here. :))