In an essay for Powells, he talked about what he learned in that time. It included:
“Focus on the work, not on social networking. I worked in publishing for 10 years. I knew my current editor socially for several years. Yet it still took me seven months and 12 agent reads before the 13th agent said yes. My current editor never saw a single word I wrote until my agent sent her the work along with everyone else on her submission list. When my book was bought, I had no platform, no Facebook page, no Twitter "presence," not even a single publishing credit. All I had was the book I'd written, and if you think that a book about a group of working class Mexican-Americans living their day-to-day lives in a small Los Angeles neighborhood is commercial gold, then the names Dan Brown and James Patterson don't mean anything to you. If you make the work as good as you can make it, you won't need to network your way to the hottest agent or editor. Let your work do the work.”
Read more here.