Anticipation – before I open the letter or email. It’s like a scratch-off lottery ticket. I lose most of the time, but it can still be kind of fun.
Sense of accomplishment – each rejection letter is evidence that I tried. It’s also evidence that I’ve written, re-written, and thoroughly edited an entire novel, which is more than most people do. I didn’t just talk about. I DID it.
Sometimes the comments on the rejection are so nice that it almost seems like an acceptance letter. This is especially exciting when an agent or publisher has actually read some of the novel and not just the query. Sincere, kind words on my writing are few and far between, so they are to be treasured.
A rejection letter is better than no response at all. There’s nothing more frustrating than submission guidelines that require you to send a query letter, a 3-page synopsis, 50 sample pages, a comparative analysis report, and a marketing plan, only to get nothing but crickets in return. In these cases, the odds are they read only the query letter and decided the basic concept was of no interest, and they ignored everything else I emailed – or worse – pages that I printed out and paid dearly to mail out.