When I started the Weekend Writer feature, what...two years and ten months ago?...I was concerned for a friend who was getting a hard sell from a self-publishing company she'd contacted about a story she'd written. I went on for quite some time about what people wanting to write needed to know. One of the things I wrote was, "I don't think a lot of people outside the writing world realize that you ought to actually know something and go out and learn it before you even try to publish whatever it is you think you've written."
Roger Sutton said something similar in an editorial in the September/October issue of The Horn Book. He's talking specifically about writing children's literature, and he has a specific recommendation for those wanting to get started in the field. Also, he's more comfortable with harshing his readers' buzz than I am, so he's much better about laying his cards on the table.
"Don’t even think about publishing until you’ve actually started writing,
and don’t even think about writing until you’ve done a whole lot of
reading...Deal with it and dig out your library card."
Yes, there's a lot to do.