Before submitting your writing anywhere, make sure that you’re not rushing ahead before you’re ready. If you’re submitting a novel, this should usually be finished or close to completion if a publisher or agent is going to move ahead with it. Sending your writing to a publisher or agent too early is unlikely to lead to you receiving any constructive feedback and may be hugely discouraging. Take your time.
If your manuscript isn’t complete, you still have options for support. You can consider entering the Northern Writers’ Awards, or similar opportunities elsewhere in the UK, which actively support work in progress and professional development. Alternatively, you may feel your writing would benefit from mentoring, a manuscript report or another kind of developmental opportunity. If you’re at a very early stage, then a short course might be an appropriate option.
When you are ready to submit, always make sure that your work is as polished as you can make it. It’s important that you self-edit, looking for such elements as inelegant prose, implausible plot developments or characters who have no clear purpose. Proofread carefully to eliminate mistakes that may act as a barrier to your work for the editor or agent assessing it. Remember that the person at the other end will have a stack of many dozens of manuscripts to look at in a very short space of time, so avoid giving him or her anything that might make it easy for your work to be rejected.