I’m not a very submissive person — I’m not NOT submissive, but most people would not say, meeting me, “She’s submissive.” A pushover, yes; submissive, no…
But I’m submitting. And submitting and submitting and submitting. So far the Schneebeli boys have been sent out 11 times and been rejected three times. Conventionally, the routine is you write, you edit, you edit, you edit, you edit and you begin the process of looking for an agent to represent you. I’ve been doing this a long time — I started seeking rejection in the 70s. I’ve been around for the transition from sending piles of paper to “We won’t open attachments.”
Some agents now have forms in which an author can insert the information the agency wants — I think that’s brilliant. That’s a GREAT way for an agency NOT to get a bunch of badly constructed and uninformative nonsense from a wouldbe writer. Some agencies are extremely unclear: “Send us your letter as an attachment” without saying what kind. Some agencies post a whole RANT on their page about what they don’t want and fonts they won’t read.
I hire a professional editor to help me not only with the manuscript at the end of my rabid and fetishistic editing process, but with the really hard stuff; the query and the synopsis, too.
However there are no guarantees. None at all. Self-publishing — which I’ve done twice — is essentially free (any author can get a book that way) and may, someday, become “legit” but in my mind it still doesn’t wash.
Over the 30+ years I’ve been doing this I’ve had one BIG revelation; the BEST part of writing a book is writing a book. Everything else is a necessary evil. Of course, I might feel differently if I ever sold a novel, but I don’t think so. Long ago I thought “Art for art’s sake” was precious nonsense. I didn’t understand it. Now I know what it means. It means work for the sake of the work and the good of your soul.