Aaaaaand that's my day today.
I got a glowing rejection on a book today. The paper practically fluoresced in my hands. (It was not from A YA Editor You Might Know, nor from An Adult Editor You Also Might Know. It was from a chapter book editor. Appropriately enough, as a few rereads and consultations have convinced me that the book in question is in fact a children's/chapter book. That's the kind that's long enough to have chapters and no pictures but not old enough to be aimed at YA markets. So I sent it there.)
And I was pretty happy for awhile, because -- dude. Fluorescence. This is not something to take lightly. I know she really, really liked this book because the phrase "I really, really liked this book" was right there on the page. She wants to see another, and I have another chapter book in mind, possibly for right after I finish Sampo, so all's well with that. I think it might even be more to this particular editor's taste, although I could be wrong there and there's ony one way to find out.
But -- dammit. In some ways it is so much hahhhhhhhhder to get happy glowy positive rejections. If people were telling me, "Girl, you can't plot your way out of a paper bag" or some such, I would know what to do next.
And I do know what to do next. It's just that it looks a lot like what I've been doing next for years now, with an additional zeroth step:
1) write the best book I know how
2) get critiques from people who might know different stuff than I do; implement selectively for improvement of book
3) stick book in mail
4) write next book in different category of interest (best book I know how, adjusted for time and learning)
(The zeroth step is "wait to hear from A YA Editor You Might Know or An Adult Editor You Might Also Know or an agent or any-damn-body else who has made mumbly happy noises in my books' general direction.)
If any of you have a more sensible way to approach this than writing the best books you know how in the widest variety of categories that interest you, plus continuing to try to learn better, I'd sure love to hear it. Because I feel pretty sure that this is the right thing. It's just hahhhhhhhhhd.