If your next-door neighbour is Editorial Director of Random House, then arguably you have a head start (although you might decide it is too embarrassing to ask them for help!). But consider carefully whether you know someone who works within the industry, and if you could approach them.
The department they work in really does not matter; if they work in the post room you could still ask if they could lay your precious words in front of the right person to make a decision. Bear in mind that whereas this would be immensely helpful to you, they might also be quite pleased to do it.
As a very junior member of staff in my first literary agent I would have been flattered to be asked to be part of this process – and very proud if what I had ‘found’ turned out to be publishable. But remember that if you are asking a favour, you must be prepared for the person approached to give a negative answer – without either of you feeling awkward about it!
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