Well, I'm not writing a novel. I've written. And now I"m painstakingly editing and submitting to publishers and agents. It's exactly as exciting as it sounds. So, what does this mean in the end? What happens when Jay get's all published and stuff? Astounding fame? Dizzying fortune? A calvacade of escalades, all pimping with sick kicks and overflowing with Kristal? Almost precisely that, actually.
Let me drop some science for all you would-be novelists. Here's how it goes down. You write the novel. A whole different, cumberously titanic ball of wax altogether. It involves TONS of reading, just reading lots of different fiction, as well as books and articles on how to write. It also involves, be still my stars, gads of writing. Writing until the little letters on you keyboard are worn to nothing, and they start to look like the sinister and generic keyboards found aboard the Death Star. It involves stopping any other activity in your life (luckily for me, I'm a man of no hobbies or interests).
Then you submit to publishers and agents, hoping that the former will buy your book, and that the latter will believe in you enough to get the former to publish your book. You get rejected. Alot. JK Rowlling apparently got rejected 17 times. Stephen King used a RAILROAD SPIKE to lance his rejection slips to the wall. These are the bestest mostest sellingest authors in the whole universe. "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" was rejected, hold onto your pantaloons, ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY SEVEN TIMES, over SIX years. That's dedication.
So you get rejected, over and over and over again. You get embittered. Hopefully take up some sort of substance addiction as that's all the rage. King, Hemingway, Poe, what do they all have in common? They liked the sauce!
Everyone tells you your book is either 1) lame and why do you bother? or 2) great, and why hasn't it ever been published? I'm not sure which one is going to be more painful. You trudge on. You persevere. You keep writing your second, third, etc novel.
At some point the rejection letters actually have some personlized response on top of the form rejection. You cherish these, use this to improve your writing. You keep writing.
At some point, many years from now, when all wide eyed optimism -- of a heady and easy life writing on a quirkily anachronistic typewriter at a banged up and historied desk overlooking the ocean -- has been lost. You'll get accepted. Maybe. Not for sure, not guaranteed. You might toil away and never get published. Accept it. But let's say Faeries live, Americans will start building cars that don't suck, and anime will one day have a cartoon in which a massive explosion or ninjas aren't prominent, let's just say you get published.
What happens then? For the amount of toil and time you put into your darling novel, you get paid approximately half of minimum wage. Assuming minimum wage is 7 bucks. It's basically an advance on royalties that your book will most likely never earn out. The average advance is about $5-7 grand.
I KNOW I KNOW! Where do you sign up, right? Open up Word (or Writer from Open Office if you are really cool). Put your quavering and expectant hands to the keyboard. Start writing.