I had a moment to read a wonderful article published by medium.com by an author named Leslie Wibberly. Feel free to read the entire article titled 'Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Submitting My Writing,' it's incredibly informative so I thought I'd drop a highlight or two from it for time sake.
One of the items that stood out most from the article that I'd like to share is her seventh section titled 'Learn Where to Submit Your Work'. Let me start by saying, I had NO idea about a lot of these!
Duotrope - $5/mo service that allows search by publication, genre, and payment offered.
Submittable - Free service that allows you to keep track of submissions. You can search all available contests (which is really neat), some have a submission fee ($3+)
Facebook Groups: Writer's Post No Fee Calls for Submissions, Open Call: HORROR MARKETS, Open Submission Calls for Short Story Writers, and Open Submission Call for Romance Writers
authorspublish.com - free publication with tips, prompts, and publications seeking submissions.
The Horror Tree - Lists markets for writers interested in horror.
When I first wrote my debut novel, I was a major rookie and the first set of tips in the article would've been fabulous had I read about it all those years ago. I submitted to many agents and got one bite, which later turned to nothing. I thought self-publishing was all I could do! And self-publishing of course is a beast in itself. The literary world is tough because it breeds about a sense of conformity as to what certain genres are looking for.
One particular point Leslie makes is about looking into smaller publications for your work, which is very smart! If you read about JK Rowlings humble beginnings, and countless rejections, she was finally taken on by a small publication company. But once the company put her books out, it turned into something major that they didn't know the gold they had! If you truly want to be a successful writer, like anything in the entertainment industry (or any industry really), see where you can start and build yourself up from there. Edit, wait, edit, wait some more, and edit one last time. It may not be 'perfect' but there will come a point you'll be perfectly fine with your final cut.
Keep writing, don't get discouraged, and reach out to other writers for help. The WritersCommunity on Twitter is pretty helpful!