Every once in a while people will mention they have always wanted to write (and publish) a book. Or they want to ask questions about how they can get rich (the whole writing part being secondary ;)).
So, I just thought I'd outline the path to writing--the brief version.
You're NOT going to get rich ( almost all published authors have a day job for a reason, folks ;)).
Let's say that you're just starting out, brand new, wet behind the keyboard. You have an IDEA. I won't go much into the actual writing--first off it's different for each author, and secondly, that would be an entire series of blogs.
But you take your idea, and you settle down to tell your tale. There are two types of writers with a million variations, but basically : Plotter (also called an architect writer) or Pantser (also called a discovery writer).
Plotters are outliners. Some have outlines over 50 pages, some just a brief run down of the book. Thing is they know where they are going before they start the book. (JK Rowling is a famous plotter)
Pantsers are just jump in and start swimming. We (yes, I'm one) have a general idea or concept (usually) but definately a character or two we want to mess up. Then we write. For many of us, plotting would destroy the story--we write the same reason people read, to find out what happens! Now in a series, ya do have to have some points in your head to build the overall arc.(Stephan King invented the term, Ray Bradbury was also a famous pantser)
There are so many sources of help to write, I won't even go into it here--find groups, reference sites, writing books, go to conferences, talk to other writers. The only words of wisdom I have is take all writing advice with a grain of salt, and be wary when someone says, "You ALWAYS/NEVER do blah blah blah." You'll hear a lot of conflicting advice.
So now you have your book. You've had a critique group, trusted friends, anyone you can find, look at it. You've also edited it a few dozen times. Now what do you do with it?
Two paths: Traditional publishing (you have an agent or submit directly to the publisher) and self-publishing (aka Indie--you are doing everything-- you HIRE a great editor or three, you HIRE a great cover artist.)
I do think that even indies should understand a bit on how the traditional side works--we're all part of the same business afterall.
For info on traditional options: check out Writer's Digest, Query Tracker, Publisher's Weekly. Find out as much as you can about the business and which agents/editors are right for you. Submit it--a lot. Write another book while you wait...maybe a few.
For indies (aka self-pub) you need to really do your research. You are the one in charge, it is your name out there, and you control everything (which is great and scary ;)). I waited a year before I published The Glass Gargoyle. I was checking out cover artists, editors, web folks. Swag ;). Was everything perfect when it came out? Hell no. Still isn't. Perfection is a dream and you will drive yourself crazy over it. Make things as good as they can be right now. That's why it's so important to hire professionals to help you. Yes, it does mean you're shelling out very nice money for covers, editing, formatting, etc--but it is an investment. If you can't pay right now, hold off a year. Save your money. Write the next book.
Pretty much the bottom line is, if you want to be a published author--you can be. But you have got to LOVE the process. And have a day job ;).