So this is what it feels like. In my writing class, I have been told I should try to make my first publication something local, even if its unpaid. This will help me gain the attention of paying markets.
And now my non-fiction story "A Case of Flowers" has been accepted for publication in the first issue of The Polk Street Review.
It's local, I'm not getting paid, and I am ridiculously happy! The layout of all my future query letters has changed forever. :-)