“Editors/agents are quite human. So they make mistakes. But it’s not just about that, like one publisher wrote Frank Herbert while rejecting Dune ( I might be making the mistake of the decade, but …) It’s more along the line of literary preferences. I know publishing is an industry, and I know that it’s all about business decisions, but editors/agents make those decision on account of their own ideas of how a book should look or what it should do, and they have to be able to sell it. It’s like giving your novel to a lot of random strangers. If you’re unlucky, you might even get a long streak of people who won’t like your story.
Agatha Christie got 500 rejections, and then went on to sell more books than anyone else on the planet, with the exception of Shakespeare.
Dr. Seuss got a rejection letter than went like this, “Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.” Of course, he didn’t give up.
“I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.” – this is how the youngest writer ever to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature was rejected.”
For any aspiring writer, a rejection letter, regardless of the provenience of said letter, is one of the most dreaded of objects. In this line of work getting rejected is considered a sort of literary murder – people are knowingly destroying something you’ve spent time on, and a lot of it. But the thing is everyone got rejected, more or less. I can think of very few instances when writers found publishers/agents from the first try. Or the second, or the tenth.