So I’ve been posting some stuff about my writing strategy. The reason is, when you start shopping manuscripts out in September, right around now is when the rejections start coming in. The good news is that this year’s crop of rejections (for New Frontiers and Petrolea) have been more positive than ever before, the bad news is that they were rejections.

What do I mean when I say my rejections have gotten more positive? All of the editors who rejected me said things like I’m a good writer, or I’m someone to keep an eye on, and even though they can’t publish what my agent has sent them, they want to hear about the next thing I write. That isn’t just empty praise—these are the people who sent me form rejections for my first book, shocked silence for my second, and uncomfortable throat-clearing for my third.

The improvement in responses tells me that, by writing more and talking to other people about writing, I am making progress toward my goal of being published, but I haven’t hit that threshold of “yes, this is a good book.” It does seem like I’m getting closer. Each round of rejections I get is more complementary than the ones before, and I know I’m learning things as I write and talk to my wise and wizened writing elders.

New Frontiers was better than anything I wrote previously, but Petrolea was better than New Frontiers. Charming Lies is totally different from anything else, so the mistakes I made with it are at least new ones. Junction has a much firmer base than anything else I’ve written and I am cautiously hopeful that I’ve solved the basic problems of plot and comprehensibility and I’ll be able to focus my energy on not just making a readable book, but a good one.

Here’s to progress.

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