This is probably a bit presumptuous of me, but here goes—what I’ve learned about book publishing so far, or, my advice for new writers:
Be persistent. Be realistic. Publishing a book probably isn’t going to change your life, but it can be very satisfying. I remember hearing Helen Humphreys say once, that you just keep reaching a higher level of rejection, and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. You think you’ve got it made when you get an agent, because it’s so difficult to get an agent, but then, it’s even harder to get a publisher, and then it’s even harder to get the book buyer’s attention in the book store, and to get the attention of the reviewers and so on. These are very hard times for writers, I think.
I remember one of the more memorable rejections I’ve ever had—it was something like, “Thank you, but we’ve gone bankrupt.”
Also, growing up in a dysfunctional family is good preparation for a novelist.