The answer is that there’s plenty.
Writing is like a puzzle.
All the pieces are mixed up in the box, and a finished puzzle (published book) seems a thousand miles away.
Actually writing, either by pen or by keyboard, will get you only about a quarter of the way assembled and ready to go. Another ten percent or so is the idea and how that changes over the course of writing and revising.
Speaking of revising, this is the bulk of the work you’ll do between opening the box (getting the idea), and opening a literal box (holding your printed book in your exhausted, triumphant, terrified hands.)
About sixty-five percent of writing is really hard work. I’m thinking of a certain quote from a certain man regarding inspiration and perspiration.
Inspiration. An idea hits. Great. Start thinking about it a little, and then maybe a little more, depending on how you work, and then start typing it out or scrawling it on paper, again depending on how you work. It’s fun to write, but it’s not perspiration. Not yet. Not the nitty-gritty, muddy, messy job it will soon become. It’s like being the jigsaw puzzle designer imagining the picture they will use for their puzzle.
Keep writing! Don’t stop because you’re afraid of the work ahead. Keep right on writing!
Perspiration. Revising your work can be hard. It can also be fun. Take it likke a challenge and sweat your way through it. It will cost you a lot of mental energy, some tears, but no actual blood. It’s neither a fight to the death with a dragon nor an argument with your least favorite person.
And beyond. After you inspire and perspire, you require and you should hire an Editor if possible. A friend with an English degree might be a wonderful Reader if they like the genre you write in, but an Editor has additional experience and it’s best to find one who edits books in your genre(s). Then you will need somebody to format your book correctly and also a cover design. If you can do these things yourself, that’s allowed, but if not, you can pay for these services.
You’ll be self-publishing, so nobody will sell your book except for you. A place like Amazon can send it to customers, but you are the one who must convince those people to click that big old BUY NOW button. You are the one who will ask bookstores to stock your book. You will be the one to pay for an ad on TV or in the paper to tell people your book is out there and ready for purchase. Unless you hire somebody to do it, you alone post on social media about your novel.
Beyond is big, and while you’re there, inspiration and perspiration might come along for your second, third, or fourth book. You will need to keep your audience’s interest, and will probably want a website. You’ll spend time working on it, and you’ll need good time management skills to juggle it all.
Don’t get discouraged. Don’t start thinking that you can’t do it, that you’re no good, or that you just don’t have the right writing stuff.
If you have even a tiny idea seed at the back of your mind, a little spark of potential in a sea of boring old business as usual, you can do it. An image of a young man climbing a mountain (what does he want to gain?), the feeling that you want to write a horror novel (what a scary thought!), or the name of a character (Tom Jones?) are all beginnings. Inspirations. Arrows that point toward perspiration — and beyond.