Don't know exactly what you mean by "putting yourself out there"? (I would like to use a picture of myself from 1995!) Testing the waters is a great thing. It can be seen as getting input, first from friends, then from critique groups, then from experts in the field. If you have made yourself available to critique and friends then the next step is approaching agents, or the few publishers that take unsolicited manuscripts. Rejection is the norm. If you can't get yourself out there or can't deal with, or don't want to deal with, rejection then your path to success narrows considerably. Success just won't happen unless you take risks. Now I think I'll re-read this and see if I agree. There is not much discussion on nitch markets. I think I can narrow my focus on promotion to tightly described areas and groups. At least then I am rejected by the right people! Stay in touch if that is helpful.