So many unpublished writers are out there diligently working away at plot, character development and writing style. Brown envelopes are mailed to publishing houses and pushed into the reluctant hands of editors, who may only be on a shopping trip to Sainsburys (yes, it happens!) There is a desperation out there. So many writers want their work to be relished by readers.
It's a tough world - lot's of people telling stories while the majority of readers are engaged by a narrow field of best sellers. Most publishing houses are chasing the new best seller, while not really sure of what that might be. At the moment, it is mummy porn with S & M, so if your manuscript has a healthy dose of ropes, sex and handcuffs this may be your month to get published. Daddy porn, I hear, is around the corner so if your unwritten novel does not feature whips, leather and unravished virgins you may just want to add them.
But it all gets down to who are you writing for? Is it for the desperate editor looking for a future best seller? Or is it for readers who might immerse themselves in your words, slip off into the world you've created and reach the end feeling a sense of enlightenment and contentment.
If it is the reader you seek to please, then why are wasting time and postage on traditional editors? If you have a collection of 20 to 30 'no thanks' slips, it is time to turn to your friends, writing group, or classmates. Ask them what they think - listen to the criticism, especially from those who like your work (they want to improve it). Rewrite, put it back before your critical friends and listen to them. When it feels right, look at who might be future readers - male, female, age demographic, thematic interests, etc. If there is a publisher who specialises in this group, contact them directly, otherwise, try self-publishing and go after your specific readers. That is who you are writing for.