Is your manuscript done? Have you been shopping it around, and still haven't had a response? For the majority of writers, the answer is yes. Getting published may be tougher than the actual wirting process. Most writers know the obstacles involved in the publishing process and many talented writers never clear all of the hurdles.
We struggling writers do have an option...although at times it seems like we don't. We can self-publish, which I truly believe has become a great option for new writers. The old stigma of vanity press is diminishing and many self-published works have gone on to be very successful. But be prepared, if you go this route you should be ready to spend some money, especially if you want your book to sell.
If your like most writers cash flow may be an issue. What then? Enter a contest. If your mansucript is a thriller enter it in our WritingRoom's Author Launch Contest. The winner will achieve the ultimate goal in our industry, they will become a published author. The winner will also retain all the rights to their book, 100% of the royalties, a full blown marketing and press packet, resale insurance (which is essential for distribution) and a chat with Jon Land-- and lets face it a talk with a top person in any field is truly valuable, we all have a thing or two we can learn.
If your manuscript is not a thriller or a novel, don't fret, there are tons of contests out there, just do a google search, you are bound to find one in your genre. Also, keep a look out we are going to be running more contests in other genres and for other types of writings.
If you don't win don't get discouraged. Get feedback, re-write, and enter another. Always keep your chin up, it's a tough business. Check out "How To Win a Writing Contest" for some hints and tips on mastering the writing contest.