Question: How often can you get advice from someone who is a publishing executive but has also been a literary agent and author? Answer: Anytime you read Michael Hyatt's blog. I wanted to call particular attention to recent series of posts Michael has made on Strategic Relationship Management. It's a four-part series (so far) with an introductory post followed by posts on the ideal publisher, author and agent.
If you're an author in search of a good agent or publisher, use the (high profit, low maintenance) characteristics checklists Michael provides for each. Don't forget to read the author checklist too... The whole series of posts ought to be required reading for any publishing newbie (and not-so-newbie).
If you're an author, I'd recommend you consider turning some of those characteristics into questions you can ask any agent/publisher candidate. For example, what percentage of that agent's clients typically recoup their advance? That's a fair question for a publisher too (how many of their authors typically recoup their advance?).