Let's get one thing straight: making it as an author is one of the toughest things you can ever try and do. Everybody seems to have this idea that its easy, any one can do it, theres a book in everyone. Let me tell you something - There's not! Writers, story-tellers, I should say are few and far between. It's a talent, not an accademic skill. If you have that talent (trust me you'll know if you have), and you are willing to pursue it until the day you die, then one day you will make it. If you are an average writer, but great story-teller you can learn (Buy How to make the words work or Creative Editing) but if its vice-versa you are in trouble. Nobody wants to read great prose with a terrible plot and boring, irritating, predictable characters. A whole series about a boring family in a boring kingdom, who are actually boring gods with a boring destiny. Whoopee! Great! Another rubbish book. You know where I'm going. . .
People need to understand that this book isnt there to turn you into J.K Rowling, Darren Shan, or Stephen King; it is there to help you, guide you, give you that tiny bit of confidence when yet another rejection wheels its way back to you just a week after you sent off your manuscript. By taking the advice in this book, scouring the agents and publishers listed , and just being determined enough to never give up, I am starting to get interest from certain agents now: some of them even enquire how my latest story is going and when it will be finished.
In short I dont see how this book can not be a five star rating. If I had never started buying this book five years ago, then I'd have pulled my hair out a long time ago. I'm sure of it. Just because of this books existance I have broadened my horizons, done more research in my market and how to make my books more appealing, different, better.
Anyway, there's a lot of help in this book in varying form, but remember: You also need to do alot of the work yourself. If it was as easy as "buy the book and become a world famous author" then everybody would be doing it, then there would be no challenge. And if there's no challenge, then there's no originality. That makes for boring stories.
Regarding the submission details: If you are going to submit, I believe you should be checking the websites anyhow, so if their details do change you will know. Even if you do send an unsolicited manuscript off to a publisher I'm pretty sure they will still scan over the first page at least. They will always have a slush pile.
As well as the CW&AYB, I also recomend Stephen King's "On Writing" and "How to get your book published". Buy this book. Buy it every year. Keep reading. Keep writing. Oh . . . and never give up.