Take a look at the Beacon article for a quick update on major changes in the publishing world.
Things have changed dramatically with the ability to e-publish. You can have your book available for readers in days instead of waiting for years to publish in the traditional method. In the past, most writers struggled with finding an agent, a required component for publication access. You have no access to a publisher without an agent. Yes, there are many agents but many agents want only established writers to represent. So new writers, unpublished, have a difficult time finding agent willing to take a chance and represent a new author.
Some new writers have an inflated view of the value of their writing. Finishing the first draft of a manuscript is the beginning, not the end. A critique group of experienced writers is invaluable in providing support and advice to newcomers. Manuscripts need to be honed and rewritten many times and when you believe it is ready for publication, find readers you trust. The readers are not necessarily writers. They are knowledgeable readers in your genre who are not family members. Unless it’s erotica, your mother will always tell you your writing is wonderful.
If you have a number of manuscripts, unpublished, waiting in drawers to be discovered, maybe now is the time. Pull them out and rewrite them. First novels are like training wheels. They get you going, a start, learning sentence construction, action, character development and tension. If you are having trouble with story structure a must is to take a look at Larry Brooks’ blog – storyfix.com. He is a wizard at engineering a novel and has some very helpful books on the topic you can purchase from his site.