If your goal is to become an author, there is not one specific path to the top. However, there is a path which many authors have taken in the past. While luck certainly plays a role in an author getting discovered and published, taking the right career path can definitely improve your odds of achieving your goal. Even if you follow this path to the letter, it will still require a great deal of hard work on your part to ascend to the level of authors like Daniel Handler. Here is how to break into the literary world.
1. Brainstorm Ideas
Your content is going to be a huge factor in whether or not a literary agent takes an interest in your work and decides to represent you. Many people who are trying to breatk into the literary business make the mistake of focusing on their knowledge of grammar and punctuation. Nowadays, there are many word processing progressing programs that can help you with any grammar, punctuation or spelling problems you might encounter. However, there is no program that can help you dream up material that is both interesting and exciting. This you will need to do on your own. Take some time and write down as many ideas as you can for a potential book. From these ideas, start to narrow down the list, eliminating the ideas that you don't think will work.
2. Get Feedback
Show your work to as many professional writers as you can. You do not want to start sending your first draft to literary agents or publising houses. Not only will it most certainly get rejected, it might leave a bad taste in the mouth of the people you send it to. You want to make sure your manuscript is very tight and as good as it can be before you start sending it to agents and publishers. After you give your manuscript to professional writers, they will most likely give you some notes about what they think you should work on. They will tell you certain parts of your manuscript that need to be improved. Do not be insulted by their criticism. Listen to what they tell you and use their advice to improve.
3. Send out your Manuscript
Once your manuscript has been rewritten and you think it is as good as you can get it, you can begin to send it to literary agents. You should try to get an agent before you approach a publisher.