If you haven't seen it yet, there's a wonderful blog called Miss Snark's First Victim wherein a person calling herself Authoress talks about this writing thing we do and also hosts contests to help her fellow writers get a little farther down the road from unpub to pub.
Just recently she held a 'Secret Agent' contest. The first fifty people to send her the opening 250 words of their novel get those words posted to her site and critted by a yet-to-be named literary agent - as well as random readers. Last time around the 'secret agent' turned out to be Kristen Nelson. She'll offer up the name of this round's agent on Monday. From the responses to her last contest (which she posted on Friday), she's doing some really positive things for the writing world.
I haven't read all the posts on her site yet, but from what I've seen so far, the posts are intelligent and the critter comments are helpful (without being snotty). So, if you're still in this pre-pub boat, head on by and pick up some pointers on making your work shine.
Thank you for your work Authoress. =o)