Toronto Star: "Once upon a time, when you finished that book you’d either take it to an agent or simply send it to a publisher and pray someone might read — and like —it. Today, that’s not enough.
There are now fewer publishers and they have fewer employees. There aren’t as many people around to read manuscripts on spec — those works are usually relegated to that heap of unsolicited manuscripts called “the slush pile” — and people in the book business are more bottom-line oriented than ever.
For the most part, manuscripts today will only be considered if they’re polished, promising, and endorsed by a reliable agent, from a respected (and commercially successful) writer, or an impressive prior track record. [...]
“In some cases, agents are very important. We rely on them, because that’s all they do.” says Pepper [publisher]. “They go out there and find stuff, and they cut a lot of the dross out. There’s agents I know, they have fabulous taste and they’ve backed it up with success. When they tell me to read a book, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to agree with them, but I’ll read it. It will mean a lot to me that that agent says that.”
You can dream, or you can wake up and take charge.