Yeah, there’s the ression. Yeah, there’re editors getting laid off, and even publishing houses going under. When, 15 years ago there were hundreds of publishing houses in the USA, now there are only about five “umbrellas.” With more and more editors not wanting to accept unsolicited manuscripts, and agents getting 3,000 queries a month, it makes it quite difficult (but not impossible) to get traditionally published. And, like the way of traditional public education, there are many ways to get it done (book published or educated).
One writer friend (romance writer) never received a rejection letter. She submitted a couple chapters for a contest and won publication. She wrote 16 books after that.
One writer friend (children’s writer) was pulled from the slush pile and has written dozens of award-winning books since.
One writer friend (science fiction) was given a huge contracting deal because he lived within driving distance (CA) of where the producers needed their writer.
One writer friend (children’s writer, again) won a contest which attracted editor interest, published her book, then fell right off the writer’s planet, not writing any more.
One writer friend attended a NYC conference, told an agent of the picture book she was writing, the agent suggested she do graphic novels instead. Her book sold within a year.
One writer today pitches ideas to his agent. If the agent likes an idea, then the author writes 6 chapters. If the agent sells those 6 chapters, he writes the rest of the book.
I could list the stories I know of how famous writers got through that publishing house doorway, with each person’s story different. I know similar stories in the music field. Some stories deal with just plain luck.
So, how to get published today? Work on writing craft. Be stand-out different in story. Submit. Be tenacious. Attend conferences. Network, network, network.