Let's say that you'd like to join Jennifer Cayea's stable. She's left Nicholas Ellison and gone off on her own, so she must be looking for talent to help pay the rent. The first thing to do is see who she reps, and if you have a subscription to
Ah, so she is the agent for a certain Mr. Cook, author of The Girl From Charnelle. Off to the public library with you, unless you're flush with cash and can afford to buy. And if you've that much to throw away, you've no business being a struggling writer.
You read the book. It opens with the heart of the action, a mother abandoning her children, from the POV of the daughter. And then? Well, this is literary fiction. Nothing happens. Of course, the author paints a picture of a lost little girl, without her mother, but as for action, nothing happens. It's literary, you see.
But that's how I write, so why can't I get an agent to rep me? Turn to the back flap, my little friend, and you will see that Mr. Cook teaches writing. In a Master of Fine Arts program. How could an agent not take up such a one, the teacher being superior to the pupil.
There you have it. Write as well as you have been, but get a position in Iowa or Nebraska or Columbia and crank out other creative writers who follow the formulas and produce mass media. And you thought it was difficult to get published.