I was interested to learn if anyone had any recommendations for an order of submission if one was going to pay the main engines for review? For one, it would seem beneficial to get directory links from other SE's prior to submission at Google.
You are absolutely correct, but don't bother submitting to Google, imo. Instead, get an ODP and Yahoo listing, and then obtain a few links from other websites that you find within Google's DB. Go for websites with a decent PageRank (something above 5).