Stephen King’s non-fiction book, On Writing, is a great technical resource book for beginning writers, but it starts with a more personal take about his childhood and his own burgeoning efforts as a writer when he was young. He, like so many other authors, experienced the piles of form rejections (which he kept on a nail above his writing desk until they became too heavy for the nail and he had to use a spike). Eventually, though, the rejections began to transform into personal rejections that gave encouragement, and finally into sales of his stories.
When I began writing (over a decade ago), I was so pleased with my early efforts that I felt sure they would be published in the professional magazines I submitted them to. I was, of course, quite wrong. Like practically all other beginning authors, I quickly began amassing my pile of rejections. Years later I am, at last, finally beginning to see some sales as well as more encouragement from the pro-magazine editors. Yes, better rejections. The difference is subtle as they are, of course, still rejections, but hearing things like ‘I enjoyed your writing’, ‘intriguing story’, or even ‘please feel free to send more’ really is more encouraging than the same old form rejections, and they let me know that the editor found something of value in what I sent.
I was going through some old files recently, getting ready for a move, and found a stack of form rejections from John Joseph Adams, then the assistant editor of "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.” The rejections dated all the way back to 2002 and I found them on the same day I received a rejection from Mr. Adams, now the editor for both Fantasy Magazine and Lightspeed, saying my story was nicely written , he enjoyed reading it, and hoped to see more from me. I still may not have had a story accepted by him, but at least I’m getting better rejections!