Getting started in the world of writing and publishing is a strange and mostly lonely business, so here are a few resources that changed the game for me.
I should tell you I'm listening to Heart sing These Dreams on repeat right now.
1) The post that started it all, where Delilah Dawson lays out the situation, taking no prisoners along the way. Follow every step of her advice. Yes, every single one:
2) The joy of watching other writers, editors, and agents make publishing jokes and realizing you get them. These are the people you should be listening to:
3) No matter where you are in the process, learning more about literary agents is indescribably helpful. These are the people who will fall in love with, sing about, and champion your work like they're living in a Bryan Adams song. They will fight for you. They will lie for you. They will walk the wild for you. You know it's true. Everything they do. They do it for you. But above all they are an intense and close-knit tribe of humongous literary dorks. Learn their ways, learn their joys and toil, work harder on your book than you ever thought possible, and when your work is ready sidle up to your favorite agent and say hello. Understanding what life is like for a literary agent--and treating them like the human-type human beings they are--will take you MILES closer to your goal. And this is the website to use for finding and researching them:
Overall, just do your research. Learn about literary agents, learn about publishing houses, learn about the market. If you want a part in this play, take the time to know your co-stars' roles and how hard they worked to get where they are.
And never forget every book you've ever read was written by someone who started out unpublished, staring at a blank page. There is no other place to start.