Before the hounds start baying for blood, let me say that my post at the start of the topic is from my thoughts and reasoning. I do not claim omniscience. I do not have forensic evidence, so don;t get all legal. If you do not agree with me, then post it. It's a discussion!
In 2004, after 13 years of hard work, I sold my first novel. Today, I have one on the street, and two more under contract. I am writing new ones too.
Along my journey from wannabe to published author, I had joined groups, attended conferences and workshops, joined and quit Internet listserver groups. I met a lot of authors with many books in their writer's resumé. I became friends with a few of those successful writers, to the point where I asked them for help with publishers and agents. While each had their own technique of dodging the question, they all succeeded in letting me know that I had to help myself. That was two years before I sold my first book.
I discussed my frustration with my good-buddy Pat O'Connell, who was at the time, the President of the Maryland Writers' Association, and had one action adventure novel under his belt. Pat knew I was a scientist specializing in modeling, simulation, and analysis, so he challenged me to figure out why those authors would avoid providing direct help to a writer hoping to get published.
After a few months, an ancient memory clicked. It helps to have a photographic memory. In seventh grade, the science teacher regularly showed films of scientific experiments and we discussed them.
The one I had recalled filmed a dozen fertilized chicken eggs that were divided into two groups. Six were the control group in the incubator, and six were the experimental group. The control group were left alone to hatch. The experiment group were closely monitored for hatching. When an experimental chick had pecked a tiny hole through the shell, the scientist used tweezers to peck and prick the shell from the outside, thereby helping the chick to hatch.
The hatched experimental chickens received a small band around their foot with an "X" on it, while the control group hatched chickens received a small leg band with the letter "C."
Both groups were released into a "barnyard" area, where they could scratch for food and socialize. Within a few days, the control group chickens had doubled in size. The experimental chickens displayed slower growth. Only one experimental survived to adulthood, and it was scrawny compared to the other chickens.
The moral of the filmed story is that if we help chickens hatch, lessening the struggle they have to get out of their shell, then we are actually hurting their chances for future survival.
It is the same with writers. If someone short-cuts the process from unknown to getting an agent or selling a book to a publisher, they may be limiting the author's chances for survival as a new author.
If a new author doesn't have the stamina and force of character to break through the shell, to breach the barriers erected by the gate-keepers of the publishing world, then they will be handicapped with a lack of self confidence and stamina needed to bring attention to their just published book.
If they did break through on their own, then they will have an increased force of will, built from the calisthenics needed to break through the barriers in publishing. They will have what it takes to begin the newbie author task of going from unknown to selling 5,000 or more copies of their first novel. They will be more likely to be able to break through the barriers for getting into newspapers, on the radio, and perhaps interviewed on television.
So, if someone asks me for help getting published, I may help with their writing craft skills, story structure and arrangement, and how to prepare a good submission packet, but I will not take steps to short-cut the process of them breaking through the publishing barriers on their own.
I do this so that they can grow, and increase their chances of surviving the first book hurdles. If their first book doesn't do well, publishers may not offer a second book deal. They must be strong to pass the first book challenge, and that starts with being strong enough to pass the getting a contract stage.