All of us who write have agonized over getting someone to "buy" our writing, whether it's a novel, a non-fiction work, or a piece for a periodical. It's struck me recently that what we're doing bears a strong resemblance to the process involved in the buying and selling of a house.
Years ago, to consider buying a house you cruised the neighborhood you had in mind, watched for signs in the yard, jotted down the phone numbers, called the listing agent, made an appointment, viewed the property, and moved on to the next before making up your mind. Now you log on to the web site of your favorite realtor and through the magic of the Multiple Listing Service you're able to view properties that fit your needs and desires. You can see pictures, read about features, winnow out all but the best prospects. Then, when you're ready to actually start doing a walk-through, you're pretty sure you're looking in the right place.
Now imagine you're trying to sell your writing. Let's say it's a novel and you want an agent. You check out the agent's web site and see what he/she represents. Oh, many of them say they do it all, but if you dig deeper you can find that they have certain genres, certain types of writing that incite a passion in them. When you find someone whose passion matches your writing, that's a good place to start.
The same thing can be said of editors and publishing houses. I have a friend who is an editor at a well-known Christian publisher. He's given me an open invitation to submit my novels to him, promising to consider them. But his house doesn't publish "medical suspense with heart," which happens to be what I've been writing since I decided where my talent and interest lie. So I don't bother him with submissions. On the other hand, there's another editor who referred me to the writing of a well-known author of medical suspense and said, "That's what I envision you writing." Do you think he's going to get my next submission? Bet your boots.
The analogy can be carried further, but I think you get the picture. Do your homework before submitting. It will pay off in the long run.
Enough for now. I need to get back online and check some more houses.