I've been writing since I was fourteen, and been published a handful of times between there and here, but there still remains that age old question: What do I do to get published?
People have sought different remedies, and tried everything under the rainbow. But the answer is really quite simple--so simple, most people overlook it.
In order to get published you have to do... what you love.
Don't roll your eyes. Passion, from my experience, IS the key to success. Of course, that implies the old cliches everyone knows (if you work in what you love, you'll never work another day in your life). But I really think writing about what you love, and then sending your work to people who love the same things as you... that's when you can get published.
For example, take my short story, "Being Practical" that was recently published by Wayman Publishing in Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales. When I wrote that piece, I didn't do it because an anthology was looking for fairy tale pieces. I didn't even know that the anthology existed. I wrote "Being Practical" because earlier that week, I was doing what I love: sitting on a couch, watching old fairy tales with my friends (including Rosie Hendrickson, whose short story can also be found in this same anthology), and making fun of bad acting and impractical movie bits that all good old 80s films have. My friends and I joked so much about the impracticality of Cinderella (Why is the carriage always white when made from an orange pumpkin? Why doesn't Cinderella freak out when a strange lady appears in her house? Why can Cinderella never find her own way to the ball?) that I decided to write about it. I wrote the first draft of "Being Practical" for the enjoyment of my friends, and most especially because I knew I would love writing a spoof of Cinderella (I'm a sap for fairy tales). When my friends enjoyed my short story, I began searching for contests/anthologies to enter "Being Practical" into, and stumbled across one Fractured Fairy Tales Anthology. After a great deal of editing (I was 2000 words over limit) I submitted my fairy tale to Wayman Publishing. It was accepted.
Talent will take you far enough, desire and dedication will too. But if you really want to be published, you must be passionate about what you write, and then find other people who are passionate about what you write. Simply put, getting published is about... being practical...