The other day, my Samhain editor posted a brief note in our Yahoo author group about referring authors to her. I thought her response was an interesting look at what one editor, anyway, is looking for in new authors:
If you are familiar enough with the author's writing, professionalism and promotional savvy to give them a personal recommendation, you may give them my direct email address and have them submit the standard submission package directly to me...However, please don't be disappointed if I reject your friend/acquaintance, as of course I do reject the great majority of submissions that I read.
I am less receptive to sci fic/futuristic, western romance, or American-set historicals than other editors. At the moment I am actively seeking red hot Regency/Georgian/Victorian/Edwardian historicals, m/m, paranormal, and mystery/suspense and am always looking for well-written fantasy and romantic comedy.
I think it's really worth noting the sorts of things she considers. Professionalism. Promotional savvy. Those things - your behavior on loops, the reputation you develop at conferences or signings or other appearances, your willingness to promote yourself whenever possible - they do make a difference in the long run. There are so many talented authors, so set yourself apart in additional ways. And remember that the publishing world is not that big (people talk), and your behavior on the Internet will circulate faster than you might imagine.
Just thought I'd share.