You want to get published? Here’s how: be like the Terminator.
The more time I spend immersed in the writing community, the clearer it becomes that a writer’s cardinal virtue is persistence. Many other talents, skills, and qualities will help you on your road, but it’s persistence that will get you there.
Anecdotally, it’s very common for the book that gets you an agent to not be your first novel. And it’s also quite common for the book that landed you your agent to not be the one that gets you published. Chances are strong you’ll have to write a bunch of books, each better than the last, before you write the book that lands you a deal. Even after publication, you are not immune to rejection, and there will likely be books you have to trunk and move on from.
This is why it’s so important not to let despair stop you from forging onward. Even if your beloved manuscripts fall by the wayside like cybernetic limbs blown off with an RPG launcher, you must stride inexorably onward—on fire if need be—your glowing eyes fixed relentlessly on your target. You load up your next ms like a fresh ammo clip, undaunted. You are an unstoppable force.
If you keep writing new books, keep improving your craft, keep learning and revising, keep submitting, you will prevail. It may take years or decades, but you’ll get there.
Because you are badass.
Now go write.