I love Ursula K. LeGuin for a lot of reasons. I love the books, first of all. She writes with her heart as well as her head and it shows. And she writes so damn well! But also, she doesn't scorn the genre I love, or attempt to distance herself from it as being beneath her (that's for you, Margaret Atwood!). I recently tripped over UKL's website when a fellow PPW member mentioned her on the list serve because she came to the defense of genre fiction in a strongly worded and very funny retort to a review on Slate of a Michael Chabon book. She's not afraid to use the term sci fi, either.
Her site also has the rejection letter her agent received for The Left Hand of Darkness, a book I'm willing to call a seminal work of science fiction even though I think that sounds a tad pretentious. It was the second book to win the Hugo and the Nebula! Being the class act that she is, UKL took the editor's name off the letter.
Writing well, lots of dollars Telling good stories where the message doesn't overpower the characters, even more dollars Having talent, modesty, and a sense of humor . . . priceless!