Seth Godin offers some hard-headed advice for wannabe book authors in this list of 19 do's and don'ts. I've plowed this field myself as author, ghostwriter, and editor, and I'm frequently approached by authors seeking help, so I offer a fervent "amen" to Seth's tips. Especially useful are #3 ("Pay for an
eidtor editor. Not just to fix the typos, but to actually make your ramblings into something that people will choose to read"), #5 ("Don't try to sell your book to everyone... Far better to obsess about a little subset of the market--that subset that you have permission to talk with, that subset where you have credibility, and most important, that subset where people just can't live without your book), and #6 ("Resist with all your might the temptation to hire a publicist to get you on Oprah"--can't tell you how many clients I've had who think the Big O is the sole arbiter of success.)
I do wish Seth had followed his own advice and paid for an editor, or perhaps just a good dictionary, to fix this common homonym error in tip #4: "...you shouldn't horde the idea! The more you give away, the better you will do." A horde is a throng. Seth meant hoard: to amass; to keep hidden.
By the way, if you're serious about writing a book and getting it published, here are two very helpful resources: Susan Page's The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book and Mary Reynolds Thompson's and Stephanie Lovinger's Write the Damn Book, a workshop and teleclasses that get you into gear.
Or you can just hire me to write the damn book for you.