Agents not only peruse the slush pile, but have to find other ways of looking for talent. Newer agents, such as myself, are actively building a list which means not only client referrals and slush pile reading, but watching TV shows or documentaries, reading periodicals, and browsing websites in the genres they are looking for talent.
Author platforms used to only pertain to nonfiction, but fiction writers are now building platforms through social media, journalism, submitting to contests, literary journals and pre-publication prizes.
New fiction writers looking to attract attention: Spread your talent through various literary channels to prove to agents you are serious about a career in fiction.
This simultaneously increases your chances of being discovered by talent alone, and not the cumbersome slush pile. Don’t look at the slush pile as the be-all end-all. Focus on your writing and nurturing your talent in literary circles like journals, competitions, writing groups, writing for other print publications. While you are developing your talent your querying will consistently get better and you are bettering you odds of being seen the more places you are published.
A sample of journals I read:
Contemporary Verse 2 (CV2)
These are a few among many that are quality publications to get your work exposed in.
Q: What publications do you submit to?