So many of us (especially those new to the field) spend the majority of our free time working away at our masterpieces. And that's good. Our novels have to be as perfect as we can possibly make them if we want a chance at nabbing an agent. But something I didn't realize when I first started looking into having my work published (and I'm certain I'm not in the minority) is how much writing is a business.
Not only do we have to be concerned with our prose, our characters, and the message in our writing, we have to know the industry. A wonderfully written story can be passed over simply because the concept isn't what's popular at the moment. There could be a work similar to yours that is already in the publishing stage. There might be a flood of work in the genre your book falls into and agents might simply be tired of seeing it. Racking up dreaded 'R's can be disheartening, but expected, as you work toward your goal.
The bottom line is, perfecting the craft of writing is obviously a necessity. But learning how the industry works is also important.
There are several agents who blog on a regular basis, offering tips to improve your chances of getting agented and published. (I know. It's almost like cheating! They're giving us exactly what we need to know to survive the process!!)
Here are a few that offer advice and insight into the industry and are worth checking out.
And for a good list of many others, check out LitMatch 's Agent Blogs List.
What other blogs do you follow?