When I tell people I am a published novelist, a vast majority tell me they will write a novel when they have the time.
Most firmly believe that anyone can write a novel since celebrity idiots write bestsellers. (They are ghostwritten by someone else.) All they need to do is sit down and write to the finish which should take a few weeks at most. They believe that grammar, punctuation, and spelling will be taken care of by some editor so they won't need to learn those skills. The novel will then be sold almost instantly to a big publisher for a huge amount of money and become a bestseller and a major motion picture.
Sadly, these people don't have a clue and are shocked when I explain how many years it takes to learn your craft to be publishable, how many hundreds of hours you will be sitting on your rear in front of the computer while everyone else is out having a life and fun, and the classes you will probably need to hone that craft.
Once you have a well-crafted novel and you decide to go the traditional publisher route, you will spend a few years, if you are lucky—most aren’t, trying to get an agent or editor to actually read some of your work. You will discover that you are not only competing with other new writers for a slot in a publishing schedule, but with writers who have been published multiple times.
If you finally make that sale, you will most likely be given a pittance as an advance, the book will be thrown into the market with no advertising, no book signings, and absolutely no glamor, and you will be lucky to sell any other book because your book will probably sink like a stone into oblivion and you won't see another penny from it. That is the fate of most first books.
Only a very few are able to escape that dismal ending to their dreams by making money and creating a true career as a writer, and the money is rarely enough to make a living so they need a supportive spouse with a lucrative job or a trust fund so they can afford to write full time.
To be successfully self-published, you must hone your craft to the point that the traditionally published must achieve, then you must also develop the skills and soul of a used car salesman to shamelessly slog your books, and you must learn business skills since you are now your own business.
When I tell these would-be authors the truth of the matter, as I have learned being in and around the publishing business for over thirty years, they decide that they should buy a few more lottery tickets because they have a better chance at making big money doing that, and it's a lot less work.
QUESTIONS, I TAKE QUESTIONS! Contact me via the comments section of this blog or through my yahoogroups list.