Thanks again for sending me your novel, which I read with interest. I think that you’re a talented writer, and I agree that your narrative voice is “kick-ass.” But I just didn’t fall in love here, and I’m afraid that I’d need to in order to take this on, given how tough the market for fiction is right now. As I’m sure you know, this business is very subjective, so another agent may feel entirely differently. I wish you the very best, and lots of success. I’d be happy to read more from you in the future, including the non-fiction projects you mention.
As rejections go, this was a very generous one and didn't hurt too much. Of all the reasons for an agent to reject a manuscript, not falling in love with it is as good as it gets, and I totally respect that. I understand that you have to fall in love with the book because you have to be able to be its champion out in the world. You're not going to be able to do that if you don't feel passionate about the work. What it also means is that it's not the work itself - it's the chemistry between this particular reader and this particular novel. And she thinks enough about my writing to say she'd like to read other work from me. As I said, as far as rejections go, this one is as good as it gets. Though it would have been nice to have her request the rest of the novel and then say "I'd love to be your agent," I'm not crushed that this didn't work out. So...onward.