I know how frustrating it can be to get past the gatekeepers of agents and processes that make it difficult for first-time authors. However, these gatekeepers are there for a reason.
Publishers and agents are inundated with submissions and unsolicited manuscripts. They have what’s called a ‘slush’ pile for these manuscripts, and they employ junior editors to read the first few lines of each manuscript looking for a gem. Most manuscripts are rejected. I get about 3 requests a week from people – often strangers – asking me to please introduce them to a publisher.
Imagine if I simply agreed to introduce writers I’ve never met and whose writing I have never read to publishers. The publishers I’ve worked with over the years, and have a great relationship with, would get the hell in with me.
So I cannot introduce a writer whose work I’ve never read to a publisher. And I only read the writing of the writers I mentor. And I only mentor writers who have been on writing retreats with me. I sometimes do introduce writers I’ve been mentoring and working with for a long time to a publisher – when I believe their manuscript is ready.