For those of you who would yearn to see your own fiction published: here's some more unasked-for advice from yours truly.
I honestly was too shy to contact any writers, go to any fiction workshops or even ask a friend to look over my manuscript before I sent it off to the publisher. I'm of the opinion, even now, that those who schmooze, lose in the novelist's world. It probably pays off bigtime to network obsessively if you want to write screenplays, but if not if you want to write a book. Why? Quality, not "who you know" still counts in the literary world, and agents and editors are always hoping to stumble across a well-written manuscript by a first-time author. It's the work, not the connections, that count. Give up the lattes and gabfests at Starbucks with other wannabe authors and hightail it to your writerly hovel and pen a few pages instead. I really do believe that talking out a story too many times saps the energy you need to write it down, and dilutes your enthusiasm for it.
So how did I break into publishing? Well, I wrote a book and mailed it off with an SASE that I never got back (though I'm not complaining). But FIRST I 1) obsessively outlined the plot of at least a dozen novels I admired in the genre I wanted to break into, because of all my skills, plotting was my weakest; 2) studied WRITERS MARKET and made sure I submitted the novel to the right editor using absolutely perfect formatting; and 3) worked my saucy derriere off making sure the book was as good as I could possibly make it.
I think I got the idea for outlining novels I liked from a book on writing by Lawrence Block. I forgot to mention 4) reading every book I could find on writing by published writers. A few I found useful: The two books by Lawrence Block (TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT is one), ON FICTION by John Gardener and THE ART OF DRAMATIC WRITING by Lajos Egri. Now that I'm familiar with writing lingo, I love STORY by Robert McKee, but most beginners find the jargon and technical stuff off-putting. It's the most concise, inspired explanation of plot construction I've read.
If you're not a stickler for detail, if you're not an utter perfectionist, then enter a different line of work. If, however, your friends and significant other(s) have labeled you a nit-picker, then novel-writing just might be your niche.