I wrote a novel. I started it about 6 months ago.
Some thoughts and things I've learned:
I have never had more fun doing something in my entire life. The editing process is monstrous. I can't tell you anything about the story because I'm too chicken right now. It’s about 70,000 words. I told about 3 people I was writing it, and I think the secrecy played a big role in getting it finished. I wrote a little over 1000 words per day. (Three hours a day.)
Writing a novel, editing it and getting it published is a 12-hour a day job. That is pretty hard for a fellow that already has waaaaaaay too many irons in the fire. I can see why people spend years on a novel. But, the Good Lord helped me pull it off.
I learned what a Query letter is. It is the single most important one page, three paragraph, single spaced thing in your life, that is, if you want to get published. It is more important than your novel. It is like a movie trailer. Or, a movie trailer sales-pitch. I've probably rewritten the query letter more times than any part of the entire novel, except for the last half of the first chapter.
I've been Querying agents the past 2 weeks and got a good nibble from one recently. She's sold some books to the big dog publishers so I'm crossing my fingers as I type, and as she reads. It's a long shot but who knows? She might dig it... However, finding a good agent as an unpublished writer is sort of like getting the senior-class-prom-queen-captain-of-the-cheerleaders to date an 8th-grader with pimples and mashed potato biceps. I got the equivalent of a wink.
Usually, an unpublished novelist lucks out with a breakout novel or a publisher approaches you because of your platform. In my case, if I had a platform, a publisher would approach me and ask me to write a book based on the art of staying in school and getting paid for it. Platforms are for non-fiction. I don't have any interest in writing those kinds of novels anyways so, the hard way it is.
In the mean time, I'm writing another novel with a good friend of mine and we are two-thirds done with the first book of a 5 book series.
Lastly, I'd like to say a word of thanks to my lovely wife. Not only do we sing and write tunes together, but also she is a kick-butt editor. She's been taking my novel to her auditions and editing while she waits. Editing is a long grueling process and she has a knack for it, and actually LIKES it. The woman never ceases to amaze me.