That's a well-known chestnut for the world of academia: you either make a place with the two-dimensional effort of writing an article/argument/thesis et. al. on paper or you are invisible to the rest of the world.
I've had a short tale accepted for the Sept '08 issue of Aoife's Kiss, one of several hard copy/ezines part of http://samsdotpublishing.com/aoife/main.htm. My 6th publishing credit.
'Sin Twister' came as a gift from the Muse in complete opposite of what I had planned. Which is why it's better. It's not the tale of revenge and hate I'd planned--that's too easy, but a tale of redemption by increments. I wrote it in 3 days, it's short and one of the best things I've ever done.
I still need to get Ikarias 1, to a publisher. 25 querys to lit agents have gone over 2 months with maybe 12 'no thanks' and as many non-answers. In this case no news means no interest. Agents have far too many queries to respond with even a form letter. I do think it's rude but I also understand time constraints.
http://agentinthemiddle.blogspot.com/ is by an agent describing her full day/life and the crap she endures because writers don't follow simple rules.
I've 3500 words started on book 4 of Ikarias, either titled 'Keramin Heights' or 'Demons' Dreams'. Titles are tricky. Make them out of whole cloth with no reference: those who've read the previous books will know of Keramin Heights but those who don't will think of heights as mountains and maybe Keramin as a name. This will be a darker book. 'Demons' Dreams' can cover a lot of ground with alliteration, the darkness of several characters, the darkness discussions and delved into depravity, the demonic activities, etc.
Back to the title: if publishers see credits they know someone wants/wanted you, making you more attractive to them. The more credits, the more you're visible with your efforts, showing off your literary children like a proud parent should. If you don't act and feel like they're worth it, no one else will give a shite, as the British say.
You have to love them, and in return the world may just want more.
Publishing credits to date:
*'Sin Twister' to be in the ezine: Aoife's Kiss, Fall '08 as P. Lord
*'Jura the Wanderer' --Tavern Tales Anthology by ComStar Media, Nov. '05 as H. Winterthorne
*'Suits' -- ezine: ATSOISE, Oct. '04 as H. Winterthorne
*'Blind Boys of Bogen's Run' -- ezine: Nocturnal Ooze, Oct. '04 as P. Lord
*'Strains of Wagner' --ezine: Twilight Times, May '03 as P. Lord
*'I'm The Last One' -- literary magazine: Gotta Write Network, Fall '92 as P. Lord