At a writers' conference this weekend. We ended up with a huge (42 women) turnout, about a dozen of whom I didn't know. The first night I was chatting with the woman next to me, and conversation of course started with the inevitable "so what do you write?"
Me: I'm subbing a steampunk romance now, but I'm working on a contemporary for a chance of pace.
Her: Ooh, steampunk! I'm pretty sure that's the only subgenre I haven't
done yet. Seems like I've at least touched on everything else, over the years.
Me: Oh, wow, so you've been doing this a while! Have you had any success publishing?
Her [very kindly]: Actually, I'm your guest speaker for the weekend . . .
So yeah, don't assume everyone else in the room is as hopeless at getting published as you are
(It's an organization that accepts writers at all different stages of the journey - just starting, submitting, self-published, e-published, traditionally published, 25 years on the NYT best-sellers list, etc. Usually if someone has been writing for ages it either means they've got a solid career going, they're terrible, or they're not very confident in their work and don't feel ready to "put it out there." Totally my fault for guessing one of the latter instead of the former.)
ETA: From her bio online:
[This author] is the bestselling author of more than 40 books. In 2012, she was inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall Of Fame, and she has won seven RITA awards. Her books have been published in more than a dozen countries [. . .]