My hubby and I have recently started watching Last Comic Standing. We both love it, yet as I was watching it this week, I couldn't help but notice how similar the process is to querying. A huge group of people perform a short audition and they are either rejected immediately or asked to present more.
The ones often rejected in the first round are the ones who wear clown suits, attempt to juggle and drop all of their apples, or just have awful material to begin with. This is similar to the queriers mentioned here or the ones who CC: every agent on the planet in their letter, begin with "Dear Agent" or mention their preferred cast in the movie version of their book.
Weeding these people out is easy, but then what is left is a large group of talented comedians with their own voices, great stage presence, and funny jokes. The sad part is, from this group, only one will win the title.
I think if you take a random sampling of any profession, the results would be the same. Yes, there are some oddballs out there, but there are also a lot of really talented people. And this is the group we often find ourselves in. To stand out from the pack, the only thing we can do is make our work the best it can possibly be, and keep trying. The good news is, unlike Last Comic, where they only have three judges, we have hundreds of agents to submit to, and there will be more than one "yes" in the group.