I also got an email response to a rejection today that basically said the same thing (though much more nicely) and, while it was not meant in a bad way, it was surprising to me. Very nice writer, nothing against them, but the fact is, I take on so few projects, out of thousands of submissions. Damn straight I have to love them.
As a writer, you write things that you love and are fascinated by, no? Isn't that one of the glorious things about being a writer? You might have unsteady income, you might not know if the next thing will sell, you might win the lotto with one project and strike out with the next... but you still get to write the stories you are passionate about. Sure you might make some concessions for "the market" - or sometimes you might be a 'pen for hire' and need to suit the company you're writing for - but you can still decide NOT to write something that makes you miserable, if you want.
You wouldn't spend a year or more writing and revising some project you don't believe in or enjoy (especially with no guarantee you'd get paid for it!) unless you were a masochist. I'm not a masochist. I'm in the business I'm in specifically because I love books, and I love the freedom to choose the projects I work on and rep the stuff I love. If I wanted to work hard on something I don't enjoy, I could get paid more for it in another line of work.
Anyway, would you really want an agent who DOESN'T love your writing? Really? Come on. If I don't believe in a project or an author, I can't be an effective advocate for it. Full stop.
Thing is, of course, the things I love and the things I think I can sell tend to be one and the same. And in my career (knock wood) my intuition about the sort of projects I should take on has been very right. FOR ME. That is no reflection about what the greater world will think, or what any other editor or agent will think. I absolutely would have turned down TWILIGHT or 50 SHADES or DA VINCI CODE, with no regrets... because it would have been a misery for me to work on them. I'm glad they exist, I'm not jealous of their success... they just aren't for me.
I'm going to quote myself because I've said it before :
For me, rejections and acceptances are entirely down to my personal weird quirky taste, and the fact that I only take on three or so new things a year. Very occasionally there is some concrete point I can give the author, and I try to do so when it is easy to see. But I advise against replying to a rejection with a plaintive "Whyyy??", because you probably won't like the answer: "I didn't like it enough."So there. While I do agree it's a business, and I want to find the things that I think will do well... I also really do think that any publishing endeavor is much more likely to be successful if everyone involved is invested in the project. What do you think? Could you work on something you don't care for? Would you? Ugh.
Which totally sounds mean, right? But think about it this way: I also don't like the color yellow. Or the flavor of clove. Or Irish Wolfhounds. Or the way birds legs look like dinosaur legs. Or messy food. Or summertime. So what? Are any of those things bad? No! They just aren't for me.