You tell your friends you wrote a book and the first thing out of their mouth is, 'are you going to get it published?' Ah, the naivety. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just say, 'yeah, I think I will.' But alas, it doesn't work that way. Anyone who has wrote a book and then attempted to get it published knows the really hard work begins when you finish the book. To make matters worse, the publishing industry is getting harder and harder to break into. A failing economy is making editors afraid for their jobs which in turn makes them afraid to purchase a manuscript that they aren't positive will make back it's advance. The domino affect continues with falling advances. What are we to do?
Well for one, keep buying books. You must support the industry you want to work in, when you can. Everyone falls on hard times and can't afford the luxuries at times and that's understandable. Pick up a paperback every now and then if that's all you can afford to do. It's best to read when your writing, it helps keep you up with the trends.
Keep in mind that an author makes very little off discounted and wholesale books and nothing off used books. I never really thought much about it before. My wallet was light so I always went for the discounted books or stopped by Costco. Authors make pennies off books sold in this manner but I had no idea. I no longer buy bargain books or wholesale books and the only time I buy a used book is if it's rare and/or out of print. An author will make more off you buying their book in paperback than they will off you buying it at Costco or off the bargain table at the book store. Just something to think about.
And I must reiterate one of my favorite lines, never stop improving your book. At the retreat I just attended I heard several people say it was like shoving a college education on how to write a novel into one week. And it was. Maybe you can't afford college, but maybe you can afford a retreat or seminar. Look for them in your area so you don't have to travel far. They're all over the world, chances are you'll find one pretty close by. We invest in our careers or jobs all the time. Think of writing as your career or job and invest in it! More than just improving your craft though, a seminar or retreat gives you the chance to immerse yourself in a positive atmosphere teeming with people who have the same goals. Even if you can't afford these, read. Writers learn from reading. Stay positive, keep writing and growing, and it will happen!