When I first had this whole epiphany that I could be published someday I didn't think too hard about it. Wrote my book. Wrote a query. Sent it all on it's merry way. Lotsa rejections later, I realized I was probably going about this the wrong way. I think at the time, the best way I could put what I was doing was flying blind. Or driving at night with no headlights.
My biggest lesson is that publishing is about 10% talent and all the stuff above and 90% luck. My ratios may be slightly off, but I don't think you'll find many people who will argue that there is much more on the talent / stuff side than what I'm estimating.
Below I've gathered a few links I've found helpful through all my research. If you guys know of any that aren't on my list, please let me know! Knowledge is power. Even if my brain is at capacity and I'll have to purge some of the old stuff to take in the new stuff. . . I don't really know how to tie shoes, right? That's what velcro is for. . .
Anyway, here you go! These are just a few that I've used, so by no means think that is a complete list.
QueryTracker.net – This is a great database to track your queries and do agent and agency research. They also have a great blog they publish daily and a forum where you can meet other writers slugging through the slush.
AgentQuery.com – Another website where you can research agents and literary agencies.
Preditors & Editors – A good website to double check on agent reputations before you query and/or sign with one.
JacketFlap.com – This site is a huge resource for those who write for the children’s & YA markets.
WritersMarket.com – This is a subscription required site that is updated monthly with information about agents, literary agencies, publishers and other industry stuff. The writers on the staff also have blogs that provide you with a whole slew of helpful tips.
Publishers Marketplace – Much like the other sites listed above, this is yet another resource to research agents and publishers.
Here are a few agents who blog who I've found to be awesomely insightful and helpful:.
Nathan Bransford – Curtis Brown Literary Agency
Rachelle Gardner – Wordserve Literary Agency
Janet Reid – FinePrint Literary Management runs Query Shark
Jessica Faust – BookEnds, LLC
Also, don't be afraid to reach out to other writers in the vast blog-o-sphere. Start commenting. Join discussions. You never know who you'll meet and it's amazing how many great friends you may end up finding along the way!