Hints from the inside!
I'm just finishing my postgraduacy in Publishing Studies, so I know a bit about what it takes to get published! I thought I'd mention a few basic, but if anyone wants to ask me anything. I might be able to help you.
Some of these are based on an excellent book by agent Carole Blake, called 'From Pitch to Publication', published by Macmillan.
1) Research the publisher or agency you send to - go to shops, see what they publish. A lot of people send stuff to totally the wrong house.
2) Send an outline/synopsis, rather than a manuscript if you're really sure you're going to write the work concerned.
3) If you think you've got several books in you, go for an agent first - they won't take on single books.
4) It takes time - don't chase up editors about your book, as they're very busy. Publishers WILL read manuscripts if they look right for their list.
5) Poetry writers - above all, enter competitions. I have worked at The Poetry Society, and seen the standard of most of the stuff that comes in for the National Poetry Competition, and it's not good. Most of the writing I've seen on abctales is much better, so you are in with a good chance!
Hope this might help some of you!