Acclaimed author Sarah Waters, has these thoughts about the success of her writing career
Tipping the Velvet, my first novel, was rejected by about ten publishers before I finally managed to place it. Rejections are terribly disheartening, but placing a novel is a question of finding the right person to take it on – someone who will believe in it, and champion it on your behalf – so it’s going to take a lot of trial and error before you find the right home.
GET AN AGENT:
You’ll get no where without one. Finding an agent can sometimes feel as difficult as finding an editor – but again, it’s a question of hitting the right target. Do some research, then draw up a list of agents who handle material resembling yours and work your way through it.
GET FEEDBACK FROM READERS WHILE YOUR BOOK IS STILL IN MANUSCRIPT:
Be prepared to rewrite and revise your work, sometimes radically. Find a small number of readers you can trust to be honest with you, and whose opinions you respect. Joining a writing group can be useful, if you feel really in tune with the other members. I was in a writing group for a while, and it was fantastically helpful.
RESPECT YOUR CHARACTERS, EVEN THE MINOR ONES:
In art, as in life, everyone is the hero of their own particular story; it is worth thinking about what your minor character’s stories are, even though they may interact only slightly with your protagonist’s.