I get asked for advice from time to time. Being a writer is great fun. Being a published writer is hard, hard work. There are books and books written on the subject, and I suggest reading every one of those books and find the advice therein that rings true to you. Find a writer’s group in your area. If you write romance, join Romance Writers of America (www.rwanational.com). It’s a great resource.
Overall, I try to be encouraging, because I think everyone should follow their dreams. As long as it really is their dream and not others saying, “You write so well, you should get published.” Once you decide to write professionally, and once you’ve got a real handle on the craft of writing itself, then you have a whole lot to learn about the business of writing. How to find a publisher, where does your book fit in the marketplace, do you need an agent, how do you get an agent…all I can say in this short space is, learn, learn, learn. (And check out my For Writers link) Network with other writers, search the Internet (but don’t believe everything you read), don’t ever pay for an agent to read your work or to edit your work, and don’t give up when you get your fiftieth rejection if the desire burns within you.