I am on the verge of having a new-found chance to try my hand at professional writing (http://apprenticewordsmith.blogspot.com/) and was looking for a bit of advice from The Table. I want to write fiction--fantsay novels, to be exact--and I'm not quite sure where to begin. Obviously, I need to finish my novel--a work currently in progress--and get it all polished up. But then what?
The general conscensus is that sending an enormous, unsolicited manuscript to a publisher is not a very good idea. But I have heard that one way to make a name for yourself in the genre of fantasy is to write short stories for magazines and contests. I'm willing to give that a shot. Heck, I'd be willing to write for Better Homes and Gardens, though I doubt the would hire me if they saw my house. But short stories are not my strong point. Long-winded, never ending ones are (and there in lies another deeply rooted problem).
Another approach I've heard is to get an agent. But I wouldn't have the slightest idea as to where to find a good one or how much money would go into that sort of thing. I am a substitute teacher, for crying out loud. I don't exactly have an infinite bank account.
Any ideas out there in the blogosphere?