In line with my 'Ya win some ya lose some' philosophy, I always suggest writers keep up to date with what is REALLY going on in the world of writing and subbing.
The blog Literary Rejects on Display is great. Linked on the right, it is seriously useful place to go for a reality check.
Listen to loads of writers out there, and you find the writing world is peopled by beings who worked as plumbers, brain surgeons, chicken-sexers, architects, dustmen, and woke up one morning to a scatter of oofle dust from an open window...
they were a writer! Wheeeeeeeeeeee. None of those awful learning processes for them... just sat down, scribbled a bit, met an agent in the street doing up his shoelace, bumped into a commissioning editor for Pan Macmillan by the bread rolls in Tescos.
Multi million advance and ten book deal by tea time.
(The real scene is on display at LWOD, some fascinating discussions. And the occasional bit of 'here's a book, and here's how I got it out there despite the rejects. I'm on today.)
And, in the interests of balance in all things (without which the world might spin off its axis) I have also found a blog called The Rejecter.
THE REJECTER BLOG
This has some incredibly interesting posts, again, very straight. Written by an assistant literary agent in a New York Lit agency.
I can't say I agree with all she/he says about small presses though. Obviously agents don't like them; they don't earn ££/moolah/widgets from small presses, as typically no advances are paid. But she/he states that no small presses have any distribution clout.
And my lovely Salt Publishing has books out there in Borders, Waterstones, Blackwells... all over. They nominate their writers for prizes. They get invited to take part in festivals, panels. Those invitations sometimes filter to the writers.
But do check out both blogs... a little balance in all things.