It seems almost every day I get an email with an appeal to help aspiring authors get published.
It seems almost everyone has a story they are carrying around with them and some of us write them down and aspire to have others enjoy them.
In this day of social media and connection with people that wasn't possible just a few short years ago, there is a thing called TWITTER. So, this is the advice I give to those asking:
If I were starting out right now, I would go to twitter, search agents, publishers, children's books, other specific items relating to your work and then follow people who come up in the feed. Often agents tweet about what they are looking to represent as do some publishers etc. That way when you query you have a specific, instant connection rather than just another author sending out queries to a mass amount of agents.
Be specific with important clues they give you about themselves. Their interests, their specific taste in literature and track record plays a big role in this game and if you let them know you follow them and know specifics about them, it eases the resistance. In addition, do your homework. The best agents have websites where they list their sales, their favorites and other information that will indicate if you are compatible or not. My two cents.
It's funny how we can write books, but we are afraid to write that careful-as-word-free-as-possible query letter. IF you know something about the someone you are courting, it makes all the difference.
I got a FB message recently that said: "I think you might be a children's book author or illustrator?" I knew the next message if I responded would be an appeal for help. My question, not trying to be snarky or mean spirited, but, if you don't even know if I am a writer and furthermore have then obviously never read any of my books, why would you think I could be of help?
Now this is all from a guy who is between agents right now and taking his own advice... starting TODAY!