So I’m going to be a back seat driver here (in a good way!) and comment directly to each topic she brought up. She’s got some very good insight. You should read her post before you finish reading mine.
Here’s my take on the things she mentions that we can control:
Our writing. Learn, polish, and revise. Have your work critiqued by experts. Listen to those experts. Know that your work is the best it can be before you submit.
Our understanding of the craft and of the market. Research. Do your homework. Don’t waste time submitting to someone who isn’t just right for your work. No easy task I know, but there are many ways available to get to know publishers, editors and agents. Hang out in libraries and bookstores. Get to know as many books as you can and the work of as many authors and illustrators as you can. Order publisher catalogs. Go to conferences and ask questions. Read websites, messages boards, and blogs. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn.
Our professionalism. This is the easiest thing you can do. Learn the format. Learn the rules. Follow them. Present everything in a clean, neat, professional manner.
Our connections. This is the most fun thing you can do! Creative people are a fun bunch. At all of the connections Linda lists, I have met great people. Not only does one "never know where one of these connections might lead” but you never know who might be willing to help you out. Creative people also seem to be extremely generous.
My bottom line: Take control where you can and be patient.
Linda quotes British writer Rodney Collin. "One has to wait without impatience for what should come, and yet at the same time do everything within one's power as though one were impatient and as though one were solely responsible."
This reminds me of a fortune cookie saying I once heard. “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”