Are you published yet? I get asked this just about every time people find out I'm a writer.
The short answer is: No.
Longer answer: It takes a while. You work on the craft for years, polishing and honing, and then you network and make contacts until the planets align. Right now the planets are crashing into one another.
The publishing world is in upside-down chaos these days, sort of like the Poseidon Adventure, only less fun. Both Barnes and Noble and Borders are hanging onto bricks and mortar book stores, but they are hurting. People are browsing, then buying online from Amazon or other e-retailers. This means they are having a hard time making the building lease payments, which pressures the mall owners, etc.
But what this all really means is books are being sold for less than ever--either p-books (printed) or e-books--from online retailers. Even physical books sold at Walmart and Costco pressure the price. That puts the squeeze on the publishers' profits, which further cuts into the authors' receipts. Pretty soon, it just won't pay to write books. Oh, wait...that's pretty much the way it is now, at least for most authors.
Check out the well done blog on this topic by literary agent Steve Laube: "Is This the End of Publishing?" He has some links to rather discouraging blogs about the state of publishing, but also a very creative video that gives some hope.
Now, does all this doom and gloom mean no one will write books? No. Writers write--gotta do it. It's like a bad habit: once you pick it up, it's hard to put down.
So I'm excited about the new publishing world. We're going to have many more choices of where we get our reading material. Sure it'll be confusing for a time, but the possibilities are almost endless.
And those possibilities take me one step closer to publication.