You're walking down the street when a man sitting on the pavement asks if you can spare some change. What do you do?
The Nigerian letter you probably don't even read, and the man in the street - well, you might give them a bit of change, you might make eye contact but shake your head, you might just hurry by. It depends on your mood and the circumstances, but generally we don't give serious sums of money to complete strangers simply for the asking.
When you're sending out your novel you're asking a complete stranger to give you lots of money.
It costs money to publish a book. The editor, copy editor, proof reader, typesetter all need paying as do sales and marketing, publicity and other back up staff such as receptionists and PAs as well as the cover designer. If it's being printed, there are also paper and printing costs, plus the printing staff salaries. And that's before your advance gets considered.
Even if you're sending to an agent, you're asking them to commit to your project, a commitment that will take up time and energy and take away from other guaranteed paid work, on the hope that there may be a return.
The reality is, when you send your novel out you're asking a complete stranger to give you money. Their Inboxes and mailboxes are full of the equivalent of letters from Nigerians, the begging hands are out wherever they go. They can't give to everyone, in fact, they can't give to most people. It's not personal, just as when you walk past a Big Issue salesman in the street it's not a rejection of that particular person.
The amazing thing is that every day in publishing people are being given serious sums of money by complete strangers - a writing friend emailed me yesterday with news that she's just landed a deal with a publisher for her memoir. It could be you tomorrow. But if it's not, don't take it to heart. It really isn't personal.