I used to teach classes on writing resumes and the interview process. One of the things I always used to tell my students was that if you don’t apply, you’re guaranteed not to get the position. If you want the position, you have to apply for it. If you’re looking for a job, you have to keep your resume circulating among the places that are hiring.
Sending off stories to potential markets is a lot like that. If you don’t submit your work, it’s guaranteed not to be published. You have to keep the stories circulating among the markets that are publishing stories.
I know, you want it to be as good as it can be, and don’t get me wrong; you should polish your work. But the process of polishing can have diminishing returns. At some point, it’s time to kick your story out of the nest and let it fly.
Will you get rejections? Certainly. And if you don’t send it out, it won’t get rejected. Another way to look at it is if you don’t send it out, it can’t be accepted.
My advice? Keep sending those stories out. Keep them in circulation until you find that perfect market for your story. The way I figure it, a story sitting on my hard drive is doing me no good. A rejection is just an invitation to send it off to another market. And sometimes you get good advice in a rejection on how you can improve your story.
So don’t let your stories sit on your hard drive. Get them out there! Let them fly. They may come back to you, but if they do, just send them off again. Sooner or later, they’ll find the market where they find the wings to fly.