This time, I'm going to take a few paragraphs to speak directly to current or future authors.
One of the best words of advice I can give you: Don't go at it alone. There are other authors in this world, and you need each other. Sometimes, only a writer can lift up another writer. Finding other authors isn't about the competition or the bragging, it's about learning together. There will always be writers whose words are greater or lesser than your own. But when you help each other, you grow.
The other day I was talking to my muse -- Brandy M. Miller. She helped me realize that my current work-in-progress didn't have to start where I started it. Linear isn't always best. Sometimes, it's OK to go back and begin partway through the story, filling in the details as you get there. And while I know the rewriting will take a lot of work, it's going to result in a book people will actually read cover-to-cover. Much better than putting out something I don't even want to read based on the first chapter.
Because of Brandy, I got through Dragon's Destiny. So today, I'm helping her in return -- and hopefully helping some of you. If you need to talk to someone about your book, consider this: http://40daywriter.com/jump-start-your-story/. It might seem like a lot to spend for some help, but her advice is priceless.
Even if you aren't looking for professional assistance, I'd encourage you to reach out to your fellow authors. Pick their brains. Offer to proofread for them, if that's your forte. You never know just how things might come full-circle.