I have recently downloaded the first few chapters of my novel, Bathory, onto the website youwriteon.com. This is a brilliant site that lets new writers get their work 'out there'. The trick is to read and review other writers work, the more you do this, the more readers your own work will be sent to; which they in turn can rate and review.
When you have received eight reviews your work has a chance of going into a monthly top ten list, the ten short stories/novels that reach this list are then read by mainstream publishers. If these publishers see anything they like they may offer a publishing contract.
To date I have six very positive reviews for my novel.
On a down note, this morning I was sent an email from the British Fantasy Society. A short story I had entered for one of their competitions was rejected!
Another dodgy rung on the ladder of success.