Yes, you heard it here first, folks. I got a rejection letter (er, e-mail) that actually wasn’t painful. Here’s why.
One year ago this summer, I sent a proposal of my then-unfinished novel FLYNN to a publishing house. I had connections through a writer’s conference, and expected to hear back promptly.
Nothing happened for months. Over time, I came to assume that they didn’t want the thing, so I counted it a loss and went about finishing and revising the novel. Over time, I came to see that FLYNN actually needed a lot more work and time to be the best it could be.
A couple of days ago, I got an e-mail from that publisher. A year later! They apologized profusely for not getting back to me sooner. Apparently the proposal was changing hands from one editor to another and somehow got lost. It was unearthed a few days ago, at which point they sent me the e-mail.
In the time between last year and this year, they closed their doors on new YA fantasy. So FLYNN was officially rejected because of an accident and a change in policy, not because they didn’t like it. That has got to be the most painless rejection of all time. Not to mention the most fortuitous–if I’d had to rush finishing and editing it, it wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is today. Thank you, happy accidents!