Does anyone else find it interesting how two people can feel entirely different about the same book? One might love it while the other... ya know. Doesn't. So what is it about books that can bring out such varied (and often passionate) responses in readers?
I think the fact that everyone responds differently to books is a good thing. Of course I wish every person who ever reads my book(s) will love it, make book trailers for it, place it on their "untouchable shelf" and have everyone they know buy it. BUT. If everyone only loved the same books, the publishing world would be even harder to have a chance at breaking into. Not to mention how boring the book stores would be. "Oh, look another book that is just like all the others! Yippee!"
The fact that agents and editors also react differently to different books (or manuscripts in this case) is a huge bonus to us aspiring authors. Hear me out on this. There have to be similar elements in any manuscript for it to succeed (a tight, intriguing plot; well developed, interesting characters, polished writing, etc.). However, it is the differences in our stories that help us find the agents who are right for us--and then hopefully the editor who will love it and champion it as well. Agents and editors are people, too. (All rumors to the contrary aside; they aren't out to get you, I promise.) They have personal opinions and tastes, and they know what they're looking for. While your book may be incredibly well written and have been polished until it shines like the crown jewels in the Tower of London, if they don't LOVE love it, you probably won't get that offer. They have to be willing to fight for it, and they don't have the time or desire to fight for a book that just doesn't grab them. Would you want someone to rep you who doesn't love it that much? I wouldn't. Even if it is your so-called "dream agent." (That's a whole other post entirely.)
I, for one, am grateful that different people have different opinions about books. I'm glad my agent loved my book so much that she offered to represent me. I find it very comforting to know that the person who will be pitching my book to editors adores it as much as I do. I have no questions about how much she loves it, and that is a great feeling!
However, once it's on a shelf (please, please let an editor love it, too...) I fully expect everyone to think it's the best book they've ever read.
Ha, ha. Gotchya! I only expect 98% of people to feel that way. I'm dead serious. Okay, not really.
So, the point is, even though it's hard not to--don't take the rejections personally. They are doing you a favor by telling you no. If they don't love it, you don't want them signing you, trust me. Keep honing your craft, keep polishing, and keep moving forward. You will find someone who loves it. Thank heavens we all have different tastes!