Its been several years since I made that discovery, and I've learned a lot since then. I've learned that my first few attempts at short stories were not a good as I thought they were. I've learned that the best way to get better at writing short stories is to write more short stories then subject them to critique. And I've learned it was unreasonable to expect "overnight" success. Selling a great short story is hard--sometimes impossible. But it can be done!
Here are some tips to getting published:
-- Remember that the NEXT story you write is likely to be your best. Keep writing and developing your craft.
-- Pay attention to markets as best you can. What 'zine publishes stories that match the genre, tone, and style of your story? Does your story fit the theme of an upcoming anthology?
-- Did you get a rejection? Don't let the story languish. Submit the story to the next promising market on the same day
-- Send your story to the Writers of the Future contest. Odds are you will not be a finalist, but an honorable mention is nice--and it's free. Plus, it's a golden ticket if you do win
-- Decide when it time to retire a story. If you've lost passion for the story and you've submitted to more than 15 markets, maybe it's time to let it go.
--Share your triumphs. If you get published, make the short list, or get a detailed rejection, share it with your writing friends. Only they understand how tough it is
--Don't give up. Keep writing.