I get a large number of inquiries from people who are interested in becoming writers. Many of them are looking for an insider to show them the secret handshake that will magically open the door to their dreams. I'm not sure, really, how to go about helping. I've both taught and attended workshops, talked with a few editors, and participated in quite a number of publishing related panel discussions and I've yet to find any technique that guarantees success.
While I have had the good fortune to be able to make a living writing, that does not make me an expert in the field. There are other authors, like Holly Lisle and Dean Wesley Smith who have far more experience and insight into publishing than I do, and who have gone to considerable time and effort to try to help aspiring authors. I would strongly urge anyone with serious aspirations to seek advice there.
What I hope to do here is to present a few short articles, mostly written by Mike or by forum members, in the hopes of either provoking some good thoughts or, at the very least, steering you away from the more dangerous pitfalls. Some of what you'll see here was pulled from a FAQ I never actually found time to maintain, some of it was from earlier posts, and some from other sources (with permission, of course).