In 2000, Jay Asher won the Sue Alexander Award as a result of his SCBWI conference critique. He got to take a trip to New York to meet with editors and talk about his book. He thought, finally, 2000 would be the year he'd sell a book. But everyone said they loved his manuscript, but they weren't going to take it. Despite that, he realized that editors really are champions of books--he had a great feeling about the industry despite the rejections.
Soon he lost agent number two.
But he was learning about the industry. He was obsessed with the business.