Ok. What gives? Today I just received like my 1 thousandth (or maybe 30th) rejection for my novel over three years. And like almost all the other 1,000 (or 30) before it, it was glowing praise. Really. It was like a love letter to my novel. Or a 5-star Amazon review, comparing it favourably to other comp titles. But in the end it was another rejection. Almost all my rejections have been passes with praise. Are the editors just being really nice? Or do I have a book that’s a potential hit here? I feel like I’m getting closer - but the problem is I think I’ve run out of publishers. Should I shelve the book? Self publish it? Try to find another agent for a previously shopped manuscript? Why would publishers heap praise on a book (and it’s not just a few publishers, it’s been a LOT of them!) but not buy it or even request a R & R?
Because you guyz (and I don't mean you personally, but you writerly folk) have blogs, and Twitter accounts, and Instagram pages, and I dunno, billboards outside Ebbing Missouri, and you POST THIS SHIT.
I will never EVER forget the first time I heard an author read their rejection letters aloud at a conference. And that was in the days before social media. Back then you had to be famous, and be a keynote speaker to mortify the hell out of all of us who passed. Now the fun can be had by all!
There's a reason you'll never hear "you sucketh the almighty lemon/lime of fruit salad novels" from me: 1. who sucketh be it large or small is subjective and 2. I don't want you to tell the world I was wrong when you become all famous for this novel I think is crap.
And if you think there aren't six or seven editors who passed on EVERY SINGLE BESTSELLER IN THE WORLD, you're wrong wrong wrong.
As to your personal case here, you're pitching editors, not agents?
Cause if you're pitching editors at major publishing houses, they really don't take stuff that doesn't come from an agent, no matter what you hear/read/are told. They've been known to clear their conference in box with effusive letters that pass on things because they too do not want to be called out by someone.
As to what you should do.
First, get a second set of eyeballs on your query and your first ten pages to see if there's something you're missing.
Second, you've run out of publishers, try agents. While it's true we drink whiskey and torment writers for fun, we do manage to sell a few things now and then.
Third, I'd avoid self-publishing unless you are fully committed to that avenue. Self publishing is NOT the place for a "let's just see what happens" marketing strategy. Many writers do well with self-publishing but they work hard at it, and are able to separate themselves from their product. If you think of your book as your baby, you're not thinking of your book as a product you need to sell. If you were selling cookies: a customer telling you your homemade Grandma's recipe chocolate chip cookies taste bad is a whole lot harder to take than someone telling you your Girl Scout cookies are cardboard.
Fourth, editors are trained to say nice things about books they are passing on. I have the same kind of passes from books I've sent on submission, but the bottom line is this: everything other than yes is irrelevant. No matter how effusive the pass, it's a pass.