I got my first form rejection today. Last autumn I submitted my book to Harper Voyager’s open call for unpublished works, a month after I’d finished the first draft.

I was surprised at how not-upset I was. I’m notoriously thin-skinned, after all. I take very nearly everything personally.

I fully expected rejection. Thousands upon thousands of people were submitting, and I rushed through editing my first draft in order to get it in on time. I also wrote my first query letter with absolutely no research beforehand. “Still,” I thought, “I’ll be sad when that rejection comes.”

I totally wasn’t. It was a very nice form rejection, actually. It didn’t say my book sucks. It didn’t say I’m a terrible writer. It didn’t suggest a career change. And so I feel emboldened, ready to try again somewhere else, with something that’s changed so much from what I enclosed in October.

I may be singing a different tune when I have a hundred form rejections under my belt (although let’s be optimistic and assume I’ll never amass that many), but for now, I’m actually weirdly proud of that rejection letter. It means I submitted my book in the first place. That’s kind of a really big deal for me.