We all want to know the secret to getting published and over the last few years, I finally found it.
There is no magic key, secret handshake, or hidden formula for publishing success. But there are a few rules that will get you closer each time you apply them.
Rule #1 Write a great story. Write a story that captivates the reader, that makes her forget dinner until it burns and won't let go until the last page gets read at 3 a.m.
Rule #2 Polish your story. Revise and make it better. Find a writer's group or a couple readers who know the genre to help point out weak spots. This is also where "never stop learning your craft" comes into play.
Rule #3 Research thoroughly. Research your market, read sample issues. Study submission guidelines and follow them. Learn proper submission format and how to write query letters and a synopsis. Check out agent blogs and learn what they are looking for.
Rule #4 Submit widely and often. You can't just submit once. Sure, sometimes once is enough but more often than not, you are going to have to submit many times before finding the editor or agent who wants your work. That's just the reality of writing. There are a lot more writers out there submitting than spots available.
Rule #5 Never give up! If you give up, you most definitely won't succeed. Sure that rejection letter is going to hurt, so sulk for a bit then get back in the game.
Now, go start applying these rules and get published!