Know Your Market
The first thing that you need to learn about when entering the professional writer's market is what publishers are looking for. Simply having a good story idea isn't enough to make a story sale. To make a sale you have understand your market niche and you need to understand what publishers are looking for. You also need to stay on top of writing trends and keep your material fresh. You don't want to submit an article or story for publication that examines a topic that has been covered from every conceivable angle. Publishers want material that appeals to the current tastes of readers, but that also presents a unique perspective of the topic.
Edit Your Work
One common mistake that novice writers make is not editing their submissions. Publishers expect that the material that they receive for consideration will be perfectly formatted and composed. They don't have the time to correct your spelling mistakes and grammar errors, nor do they have the time to coach you to a publishable copy. If you want to make consistent sales, your work needs to be formatted properly, be free of spelling errors, and be grammatically correct. If you are not a good editor then you need to partner with someone who is. This partnership will help improve your sales volume and profit margin.
Always Put Your Best Foot Forward
In addition to submitting a grammatical gem to publishers, you also need to produce material that is worth reading. Most novice writers think that everything that they write is worth publishing, and for the most part this may be true. However, you need to realize that not everything that you write is going to be a pearl of wisdom. To help you to weed out questionable compositions you should ask a friend or colleague to read the piece and give you their candid opinion. By getting a second opinion about your composition you will be able to determine what pieces need further revisions, what pieces should be scrapped, and what pieces are ready for submission. This filtering system will also help you to establish yourself as a quality writer with publishers because they will only be exposed to your best writing.
The final method for improving your chances of being published is to read submission instructions provided by publishers carefully. Every publishing house and magazine has its own unique set of submission rules. If you don't want your submission thrown away without being reviewed then you need to follow these rules to the last letter. Make sure that you understand what submission methods the publisher accepts, what format your material needs to have, and to whom you need to submit your work to.