In 2009, I thought this was the best story I'd ever written. So I submitted it to all the top-tier, SFWA-qualifying markets first—which I've dubbed the Pro Circuit.
Yet alas, form letter rejections are the norm with the Pro's. After making the rounds, "Life" went to other markets who don't pay nearly as well; but that's when I started receiving feedback:
"It's a well-written piece. The main idea just didn't stand out to me." (Futurismic)
"You had me up until the end. It changed the story as a whole, making it about how uncaring humans are. But other publishers may disagree and prefer the story as-is." (Neo-Opsis SF)
"Some good conflicts playing out near the end at the house. However, the fabricated humans are a bit of an overused subject matter in the genre." (OG's Speculative Fiction)
"The concept is hackneyed nowadays and needs a serious twist to work. Unfortunately, the narrative consists primarily of dialogue, where character development would be of more use to support the storyline." (Aoife's Kiss)
"The story was entertaining, but I wasn't sure it had enough to set it apart from other stories of convincingly human robots." (Ideomancer)
"Well-written and almost Golden Age Asimovian robot tale. Interesting, but it doesn't read as very original." (Kzine)
Then from Roar & Thunder: "I enjoyed your story and would like to publish it."
I'm not making $500 on this sale; I'm making $5 (Australian). But "Life" is the tale I wanted to tell, and as a writer, you've gotta know when to rewrite 'em and know when to stand by 'em.
But is it any good? You be the judge.