Author Jeff Goins has produced two self-published e-books and recently published his first book, Wrecked, through Moody Publishers with great success. He offers 5 Facts About Publishing at his blog that are particularly salient for anyone looking to get published for the first time. The only adjustment I would make, as someone in publishing, is to #1.
Visit Jeff's blog, where he writes regularly about writing and creativity, for the full article. His insights are very helpful for authors or prospective authors.
Fact #1: You need an agent [Barnabas's note: Or you need connections at a publishing company. In short it's nearly impossible to cold call your way into a published book.]
Fact #2: Everyone needs a platform (yes, even fiction writers)
For potential novelists and the like, it’s your body of work. . .
Fact #3: The publisher won’t do all the work
Assume that the publisher won’t do any of the work to promote your book, that it will all be up to you. And if for some reason, they do something to help you, then it’s an added bonus. But never expect it.. . .