Since I mentioned earlier that I now have a fabulous agent, I have received over thirty private messages on Facebook and on Twitter asking how I managed it, asking if I could give feedback on people's queries, and asking if I could give an introduction to my agent.

Sorry, I can't help with all of that but I can give you a few rambling hints and tips.

Write the best book you can, revise the socks off it, and then submit it to the right people, in the right way. Don't send your romance to agents who only rep SF, for example. Follow agents' guidelines to the letter, be professional and courteous, and when you receive rejections try to remember they've rejected your book, not you. It's not personal.

Read Nicola Morgan's books, Write a Great Synopsis and Dear Agent. They are good, and will help you. Read Carole Blake's book, From Pitch to Publication, which is also very good.

Before you send your work anywhere, join a critique group and give a lot of critiques before you ask for your own work to be looked at. Giving critiques is really helpful--more helpful, probably, than having your own work critiqued. There are lots of writers' groups online and off, but my favourite is of course AbsoluteWrite.

Don't expect getting an agent or getting published to be easy. Put the hours in. Work hard. Read a lot, and read widely.

But most of all, enjoy the writing and the revision, because that's what you'll be doing most of. And if you don't like that, there's not much point in trying to be a writer.