I wrote a book. I revised and revised. I sent it to several people, including other writers, then revised it a couple of times again. Then I submitted it to agents. Twenty agents.
So far out of those twenty I've received eight rejections. It's probably safe to say that at least eight of the others are rejections since I've had no response from them for more than two months and no response to polite chasing mails.
Three of the agents that have rejected the book have been very kind and have given feedback. This could probably be best summed up with - "I liked it, but I don't love it." Which on the face of it is frustrating but what do they mean?
The publishing industry is incredibly tough, getting a debut author to be treated seriously is very difficult. The agent really has to believe in it for them to be able to champion it, in the face of rejections from publishers, who are mainly driven by marketing and sales nowadays. They need to convince an editor to fall in love with it - in order for the editor to champion it in editorial meetings, to get the rest of the publishing team to fall in love with it too.
It's a very subjective response - each of the three have said that the writing is good enough, but it's about a gut reaction, a 'wow', about getting gripped, for them the book is not unputdownable. As a reader I only feel this with some published books and not with others which shows that this is a subjective response.
So I'm still collecting rejections but I'm encouraged by this.