Making people and ideas findable
Hi Brett - I empathize and identify with you too well. Generally, we're in the same boat. Seems the simple answer is to keep trying. I have read extensively many, many publisher's and agent's Websites (and have submitted too), and one of many common themes is, "You may have a wonderful and deserving story that should be published, but .... 1) it's just not right for us right now, 2) it's not a good fit, 3) it needs work that should have been done before submission, 4) didn't strike us right, 5) the right agent didn't get it, 6) Yaaduh, yaaduh, yaaduh....." (Of course there always silence, too.)
Among many other things, I have found publishers ask for writing credentials: "What have you published?" or "...published on this subject?" or "What makes you an authority on this subject?" And so on. Well, I didn't/don't have (any) much history like that, so, if nothing else, my blog (Ask a Hoosier.com) that I started 2.3 yrs ago MIGHT serve as a platform to some extent.
Four places I continue to wrestle with might be useful to you as well:
1. Check out Tanglewood Press. They are Indiana-based (Terre Haute) and presently accepting submissions. I have submitted there, and have niavely thought that since 1) I have a great book, and 2) I am from TH (this would make a great story in the TH newspaper) - they will surely accept my manuscript and I'll be onmy way. Wrong (at least so far).
2. Consider starting your own blog and just start writing like crazy. Mine is at WordPress - for now.I own the domain name and have plans to convert to a standalone Website. http://www.tanglewoodbooks.com/
3. And my personal ugly-evil option: Consider self-publishing. After several years of avoiding it, I find myself gravitating back to the thought. There's a ton of discussion about it, and apparently it's not the evilI tend to think it is.
4. Check out Query Tracker to help you manage your process. I have found it extremely helpful. http://querytracker.net/index.php
Just keep trying, and next time I come home to Indiana maybe we can get together and whine in each other's beer. I could use it.