Anything you know now that you wish you knew when you were first working to get published? Anything about the business? About your craft?
Ummm, try everything
I banged out my first manuscript on an Apple IIGs on that paper that had a duplicate page on the back, and perforated sides that had to be torn off? The first thing Leslie Wainger told me when she bought me was to join RWA. The second was to get an ink jet printer
I didn't know that you were expected to just write a proposal (or even what that was) for your subsequent sales. Wrote the first six on completes until Leslie Wainger threw a fit
Basically, I just wish I'd known *anything*!
Any advice you'd like to pass on to aspiring authors?
Oh, I'm full of advice :)
1) Finish the manuscript! I'm often shocked at how many unfinished works aspiring writers say they have. That's fine when you're learning craft, but once you're out of beginner's stage, you need to start practicing manuscript completion. You have to learn how to slog through that sagging middle, how to unsnarl plot tangles, and basically how to get over the hurdles along the way to The End. That's what published writers have to do, and they do under deadline. (Hey, that could be a T-shirt!) You won't really know what it is to be a writer until you start completing the books start to finish.
2) If you get an invitation to submit--do it! Again, appalled when friends come back from an author pitch at RWA all full of excitement about their invitation...and never follow through. What was the point of the meeting then? You don't want to spend so much time polishing the manuscript that the editor will have forgotten you and your pitch.
3) Use contests for cheap feedback on your writing. Yes, you need to develop a thick skin. But that will come in handy when you're submitting to editors!
4) Remember that the first sale, while a reasonable goal for an aspiring author, is just a starting point. To have a career, authors have to *stay* published. So the work of honing your craft, staying up on the market, reading thoroughly in the lines targeted--that doesn't end.