1. The two finaling manuscripts I entered in this year's GH, did not final last year. This year I just happened to get lucky and my entries appealed to the judges. Last year, eh, not so much.
2. In the past, I've had two editors write to me on why they were passing on an ms. I'd submitted. One said there was too much backstory in the beginning. The other wrote that she didn't feel as though I put enough backstory in the beginning and therefore felt lost.
3. In the span of one week, I had an agent reply that my main character was "dull and lacked originality", and then another who wrote, "loved your heroine . . . fresh and compelling . . ."
I kid you not. Once you get to a point where your writing is strong and the material you submit is competitive, it's a crap shoot. But if you keep writing, keep getting better with each book, keep submitting and keep trying that crap shoot will eventually turn into a sure thing. But it sure as hell won't if you stop trying. (This from a person who has considered throwing in the towel a number of times and then gets an idea for a book . . . )
My long-winded point is this -- you can't please everybody; not everyone is going to like your work, but somewhere out there (if you keep at it) you might just come across a few who do.