In other news...one of the editors had a minor success recently with a short fiction sale (okay, it was me). The secret to my success: perseverance. I workshopped the story, listened to what people said, revised, and repeated. Then, when I sent it out and the rejections started rolling in, I kept on sending it out. I cannot emphasize this enough: I didn't have any tricks, just a lot of hard work and perseverance.
Another one of the editors here had a pretty significant success recently with a two book deal. (W00t!) While she did work hard, IMHO the secret to her success was: networking. It's not my place to divulge details of how the deal went down, but take my word for it: knowing other authors and industry professionals such as agents, editors and assistants can be extremely helpful.