Dear Miss Snark:
You said, "A couple auto-no's for most agents: dead kids, torture, child abuse, sex abuse. They are auto-no's for as many reasons as there are agents."
Forgive my asking what may be an obvious question, but (taking the issue of "dead kids" as my example) does that mean:
1. No children die in the book, whether directly in the narrative or by inference.
2. No mention of dying or dead children in the book.
3. No one in the book ever has lost a child.
4. No plot events involve a child who has died or someone who has lost a child.
5. Some other permutation.
IOW, are you saying that you don't want to read a manuscript in which the death of a child is depicted? You don't want to read a manuscript in which there's the faintest mention of the loss of a child in any way or for any reason? What does it take to trigger the "eeeew" response and the thumbs-down reaction?
Seeking clarity (and nitwittily yours)
For clarity you must go sit zazen at the local Serenity Bar and Chill.
You cannot parse this "auto no" list reasoning, because it is not a function of logic.
You cannot avoid "no" for weird reasons.
You must be the grasshopper and toil away, ignoring the reality of John Deere mowers.
Miss Snark sucks her hookah and smiles enigmatically.