I am getting some conflicting feedback. I'll keep it simple with this example - my opening is "composed and intriguing" (from a literary agent who taught a class on the first 10 pages) and that the opening was "forced" (from a submission competition with editors that promised feedback). I have submitted to agents and when I have received a custom rejection, it's been all positive (great concept, not for me). My CP's all love the book as well.
I'm completely new to this industry and have been targeting my queries to specific agents that have expressed interest in a book like mine. While everyone says "Query Widely", if it's a good book that simply won't sell, I'd like to change my focus to my other work. Worse, if I'm doing something wrong, I don't want to waste anyone's time** or have to put away this book forever because I queried all my top choice agents with it already before realizing my Big Mistake. The largely positive feedback is encouraging but the the conflicting feedback has thrown me for a loop. What's a girl to do?
It's entirely possible they're wrong.
You're giving this feedback too much importance. For whatever reason this book doesn't resonate with those readers.
Find more readers ie query widely.
Your top choice agents might not be the right agent for this book.
Feedback is important for getting a second set of eyes on a manuscript, and maybe seeing something you missed, or helping you find where the story begins.
I've had a LOT of positive response from the Chum Bucket even when the queries were not for books I'd take on because of just those things.
BUT even I am only right 97.23 percent of the time. Books I have passed on have gone on to sell and win awards.
Have confidence in your work. Query widely.
**do you REALLY need me to repeat the rant on wasting an agent's time?? I am more than happy to stand on my soapbox and give loud voice to this as often as it takes.