Based on some recommendations made by a literary agent, I had fooled around with the manuscript and rearranged some things, cut a bit here and there, and sent out new queries. In my heart, I felt that the manuscript was weaker, rather than stronger, because I artificially moved a section from chapter four to chapter three and I did not love the way the story flowed.
Sure enough, Barbara Rosenberg and Elisabeth Weed both had the same thing to say when they rejected the partial - good premise, loved the writing, but....don't think they could sell it.
Too much advice from too many different quarters is not always helpful. I went back to the manuscript and went back to the original opening, a scene that takes place in the middle of the story. I cut a different scene out and moved it back to the middle, getting into the heart of the conflict a little sooner.
Will it help? Who knows? I'll take a break and keep writing the new WIP, then look at the earlier manuscript again to see if it comes out the way I want it to read. In the meantime, there's a few partials outstanding from Manuscript #2, and I've got a third novel fermenting away, ready to be distilled while the WIP goes into the barrel to age.
Then again, maybe Ms. Rosenberg turned the manuscript down because I didn't have a marketing plan that met her expectations. Is that it? She couldn't sell it because I couldn't flog it adequately? Better luck next time.