A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. Richard Bach
Who decides how much time and effort you’ll put into the pursuit of a career as a published author? Is the decision driven by a timing element, some number of days, weeks, months or years to achieve the goal you set for yourself, like an expiration date?
When you hit the self-determined “expiration date” have you already decided in the absence of a book contract, you just weren’t talented enough to make it in this business?
When I hear aspiring authors make blanket statements about how long they’re willing to work towards the dream of being a published author I begin to doubt their sincerity in pursuit of publishing. Many writers will tell you stories about how it took them a dozen manuscripts before they produced a salable idea. Or even recount the years of work and study of craft that took them from a dreaded day job to a long-term publishing contract.
Writers, and there is a difference between authors and writers, make writing their priority. They set realistic goals and work towards the end result by learning the craft, paying the dues, and earning the place in the industry. When they arrive, they do not forget how difficult it was to achieve the dream and so they normally do two things: they mentor others, and continue to keep the craft fine tuned.
Oh yes, i am aware anyone may self publish, but many who do shouldn’t, and some who can, won’t. Either way, do not forgo professional editing. It’s never a bad idea.