I send out a lot of work. Mostly short stories. Or short short stories. I submit to contests, literary journals, the kinds of things where there is a pot of cash and the tantalizing promise that I could win it. Anyone can win it. Especially me.
Usually it’s not much money. The reading fee, I mean. Just enough to cover the overhead and build up the pot and ensure the continued existence of a literary journal with a unique mission. It’s a put-up-or-shut-up show of faith, really. Faith in what? I'm not sure, but at ten bucks a pop I'm a true believer. A subscriber, they call it. But then, when I win, well, I'll get my money back and then some.
Often, I do not win. Usually, months later, offhandedly remembering that old contest and then obsessively refreshing their announcements page, I discover the winner. I discover the chosen one is not me.