I've been seeing a number of articles like this one, purporting to give young writers advice about a writing "career" and the realities of the "book business." Undoubtedly this particular essay, from Bookninja, contains some nuggets of good advice, but I would like to propose some counter-advice. I don't suspect many would-be writers--especially those seeking a "career"--would take it, but it's worth expressing it, anyway.
The best writers don't have "careers." If they do, it's usually an accident, a byproduct of the happenstance of actually writing a good book, even an important book, and miraculously acquiring readers, in some cases enough readers to make it financially feasible to do nothing but write more books. Such writers certainly aspire to write well, to produce worthy fiction and poetry on a more or less long-term basis, but if they had simply set out to have writing careers, they almost certainly would not have written the important books in the first place. Third- and fourth-rate writers settle for careers.
The "book business" is something to avoid. What has the book business ever done for American literature (or Canadian literature, as the case may be)? Earlier incarnations of the book business (now the "industry") overlooked Hawthorne, neglected Melville, probably helped to kill E.A. Poe, sneered at Mark Twain, ran Henry James off to Europe, couldn't at first have cared less about Faulkner. Even now some of the best American writers--Gaddis, Gilbert Sorrentino, James Purdy, John Hawkes, numerous others--have been and still are cast aside by the "industry," obliged to supplement their "careers" through teaching, or advertising, or not at all and forced to just scrape by. Most of these writers thought the "book business" their enemy.
Of course one could say that all of these writers might have avoided their fates had they simply shaped up and written proper books of the sort the book "audience" wants to read--and thus provided themselves with "careers"--but of course that is just the point, isn' it? They wanted to go their own way and write the books they thought could be written, not the books that needed to be written to support the "book business." They paid the price for it, and perhaps that is how it should be. (I doubt any of them ultimately thought it too high a price, all things considered.) Some of them (Twain, at least) even wound up finding themselves "popular," if not necessarily for the right reasons.
So one could set out as a "bright young thing" to be "successfully published," and one could accomplish this goal. One could have a long and happy "career." But if you think the "book business" will respect you for your talent and originality, assuming you have them, you might come to be bitterly disillusioned. Perhaps this will happen, however, in time for you to write a really good book.