Querying is, except for those rare few, a pummeling process of rejections and hope, and constantly refreshing your inbox. But narrowing it down and only submitting to the best agents who love the genre you write can help. And remember, we can help you polish your query as well.
Querytracker– Participants can research agents, write notes about their success/failures with them, and get an idea of the agent’s turnaround times.
General Industry Resources
Publishers Marketplace– Worth every penny. You can see what deals are being made, by whom, and where. Not all deals are published here, but it can be invaluable to see if an agent has the editor contacts you’ll need for your novel. Not having deals here doesn’t mean they haven’t sold novels, (Sometimes the head of an agency takes all the credit on there,) but they’re probably less experienced.
Galleycat– A useful site for industry news, publishing job openings, and the like.
Disability in Kidlit– Advocates and educates about disabilities and how they’re represented in everything from picture books to YA. If you’re trying to be inclusive of disabilities, this is a good place to start.
We Need Diverse Books– Advocates and educates about diversity (primarily racial diversity, though they have some resources on class and disability as well). If their IndieGoGo campaign is anything to go by, they’re going to be a powerful force for social change within the realm of publishing.
DIY MFA– A blog with a great deal of overall writing advice.
Writer Beware– There are dark corners of the internet, and in a business with as little standardization as publishing, they breed scammers and fly by night operations. Trust your gut, and if anything sounds fishy, check here.
YAtopia– A blog run by 10 authors with lots of advice in almost every area of the publishing journey.
Absolute Write– A forum worth registering for. Advice, crit, and a very friendly community.
Competitions are not only great ways to get your work in front of enthusiastic professionals, but many friendships and critique partnerships have formed in their trenches. Be wary of submitting the same project to multiple contests. A lot of the crew overlaps, as do the agents, thus reducing your chances of being picked for a repeat project.
Brenda Drake’s #Pitchwars where writers are mentored by other authors and industry experts, #Pitchmadness where slush becomes a game. Having helped with both of these, they’re wonderful experiences on both sides of the desk. She also herds the cats during the #Pitmad twitter pitch events.
Dan Kolboldt’s #SFFPIT– Biannual Twitter pitch event for science fiction and fantasy MSs.
Miss Snark’s Secret Agent– Once a month (except June and December), with a mystery agent each month.
Always remember to research the agents and editors you might encounter. Make sure they’re a viable candidate for you. You do not have to send your work just because it’s requested if you feel odd about it. It’s usually better to opt for agents OR editors.
Remember – there’s always the old query route. Please keep in mind that contests don’t always work for all types of manuscripts.
Critique partners are absolutely essential in this crazy journey. Not only can they help you take your writing on a single project to new heights, but your writing as a whole can blossom hand in hand with theirs.
Nanowrimo Critique forum. I also highly recommend going to Nanowrimo events in your local area when possible. Some of my best friends when I first started writing came from bashing ideas over a plate of nachos with the Nanowrimo group
Several of the general resources also have sections for finding critique partners.