Don't sweat it, friends. Your first novel is almost certainly guaranteed to be a steaming pile of unreadable garbage. Take our word for it; we've been there. Unless you edit the thing for ten years to finally polish it up (at which point you're an editor, not a writer), it's going to suck. Really hard.
Brandon wasted two years pitching his first horrendously bad novel before he finally learned it was an enormous waste of time to keep trying to salvage it into something better. Don't focus on one single project for too long if it's not working out. It's messy, unrewarding work to polish a turd. Keep writing. Find good critics, listen, learn, and keep producing new words. They'll get better.
Who's a pretty girl? You are, if you want to be published again.
But Brandon got too busy and the guy just went ahead and completed the novel without him (without even the decency to ask permission). And since he deleted all of Brandon's writing and rewrote it (and because you can't copyright ideas), his douchebaggery was legally sound. The novel is currently being represented by a cut-rate agent and will with any karmic luck earn its author a nice case of Lou Gehrig's Disease. Or at the very least, a solid criminal investigation. Because he is eerily fond of young boys.
But don't let that deter you. Working with people is awesome. We do it every day with this blog, and our novels. We highly recommend collaboration. Just be careful not to work with someone who will screw you over.
No matter what they tell you, trends in publishing are always changing. If sparkly vampires and shirtless werewolves and a teenage girl with a bow and arrow are popular right now, that's great, but they might not be popular in a few years. Don't write to trends. Write for yourself.
Nothing's more soul crushing than writing a fad novel only to find out the fad is "sooo last year."
Oh, and as technology changes, so does the world of publishing as a whole. Don't listen to the stodgy old dinosaurs who swear that books don't need technology to thrive. That's not "experience" talking. That's "ignorance."
There you have it. It's not always sunshine and roses, and it's certainly not easy. Just know what you're getting into before you jump into the shark tank with the rest of us, and keep some Charmin handy because a lot of people are full of shit. Best of luck to you if you've chosen to follow us down that brutal, agonizing, masochistic path we call being a writer.
Because kidding aside (and bullshit aside), it's always worth it. Always. Except when it's sometimes not.
Cheers and stay classy, folks!
Beer: Yeti Imperial Stout
Music: Warren Zevon