For years I have had a goal of publishing a novel. I'll only consider this goal complete if:
1) The novel is published by a legitimate publisher. I will not self-publish.
2) I have to do a book signing. I don't care if the only people who show up are my family members. I will do a signing.
3) I have to get a photograph of me pointing at my book on the bookshelf at a bookstore. My last name is Heppe. This lands me right between Robert Heinlein and Frank Herbert. I'll be insane with joy at the sight of Eternal Knight on a shelf between The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Dune.
What have I done so far?
1) I have a completed 105,000 word manuscript. It is much leaner and meaner than the 220,000 word original.
2) My critique partners have given my manuscript a very thorough going-over.
3) I have unsuccessfully queried over a dozen agents and one publisher. This was with an earlier version of the novel.
Tomorrow: My query letter.