For aspiring authors who are looking for an agent or publisher, things can be tough. Your odds of landing one or the other are something close to two percent, and that is if you've got your act together. Most agents and publishers are very particular about query letters, and sad to say, most query letters are discarded with hardly a second glance. They never even make to cut to real consideration because they're not written well enough to get the reader to want to read more of the novel.
And why should they read more? If your query doesn't instantly grab their attention, they realize your writing probably won't either. And that's a bad thing. That is the kiss of death for a debut author. Authors already have enough going against them. They certainly don't need to compound it with a bad query.
There are a few agents out there that provide some help in this area. One of the very best in my opinion is the Query Shark. Literary agent Janet Reid, from FinePrint Literary Management, provides an outstanding blog critiquing queries sent in by aspiring writers. I've also linked to the blog under Publishing Resources, because I think it is that valuable to a new writer. I highly recommend if you're serious about sending out queries on your work, you read her blog. In its entirety. Several times. It's invaluable advice to writers trying to become published authors.