These are the steps you must follow:
- Learn the craft (estimated time, 10 years)
- Write short stories
- Send short stories to magazines
- Get short stories published
- Write a book (probably several month/years)
- Go to conferences
- Find an agent
- Try to convince said agent to read your stuff
- Repeat steps 6-9 about a million times without losing your ego, mind, or self esteem
- Sign with agent
- Wait for months/years while agent shops your book to publishers
- Sign with publisher
But as I've mentioned on this blog before, thanks to technology we're seeing new models emerging. These new models aren't shortcuts to publishing; it still takes as much work as before. But the good news is if you put in the time, and master the craft, you've got alternative ways to attract attention. It is especially important to note that the new models are very much driven by merit. So if you really are a good writer, you're going to have an advantage.
One of the emerging models is the Free model. The basic idea is to give away your content, and make money in other ways. Musicians do this by giving away their music and then charging for concerts and CDs--yes, people will still buy CDs even if the music is free. Artists may do this by giving away digital images of their work, and then charging for a paper copy of their book.
But this model has never worked very well for authors. People just don't want to read in front of a computer. They want to do it in bed, or on the bus, or in their fortress of solitude.
But now we have the Kindle, the Nook, the iPad, the Sony Reader, and things are swinging in our direction. Now we too can give away our content, and make money in other ways.
How does it work? I'll tell you...but in a future post. It's late and I tend to be a boring person, so I'm calling this post finished (or am I just trying to hook you in?). Give me a few days and I'll a) outline how an author can give away content and still make a living, and b) show you a handful of authors who are already doing this.
By the way, this model is a great way for an author to break into the market, but it's also very effective for established authors to boot.