After I finished writing the novel Transplants in 2004, I started sending it out to agents and publishers, and I had no luck. Since the market was so tough to break into, I decided to market the novel to publishers by another means.
Here was my plan: I'd write a couple of short stories set between chapters of the novel and try to sell them. If they were successful, that might nudge a potential publisher.
So I wrote two stores, "Cinderella Faraway" and "Spiders." I never sold the first one, but the first market I sent "Spiders" to bought it: Asimov's Science Fiction. I did a happy dance. It was published in March 2008.
Then in January 2009 I got an email from David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer saying they wanted to include the story for Year's Best SF 14 anthology. Best of 2008!
As soon as I had finished that happy dance, I dropped a line to the publisher who had Transplants in its slush pile, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy. An editor replied that she'd move it to the top of the pile. The rest is history.
Feel free to use this plan to sell your own novel. I hope it works as well for you.
— Sue Burke