After figuring out your voice/strength, you have to figure out how you'll get the book done. Many people write in spurts, others do little chunks here and there then weave it together, etc. I'm a BICHOK person: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. I write every day. Every. Day.
I also have a Day Job so my free time is limited. I taught myself to write very cleanly and efficiently so I don't have a lot of edits to do. I write a good solid draft in about 2 months (for a mystery), let it sit for a month, revisit it and revise, then send it off to my beta reader. Then I start the next book.
Once you get all the Book Stuff figured out, you have to figure out the Publishing Stuff -- who to submit to, agent or no agent, self-published or not, etc. That's a whole world unto itself.
But once you've figured out the Book Stuff and the Publishing Stuff, you have to figure out the Promo Stuff. I've been published for 10 years now, and at first, I tried all kinds of gimmicks -- blog tours and advertisements, and conferences, and bookmarks -- you name it, I pretty much tried it.
About 2 years after my first books came out (I had 5 or 6 books in 2 years, I think), I sat back and really thought about the Promo Stuff. And I came up with 5 rules that I could live with. These are my rules. They aren't yours or hers or his. They're mine:
- Do whatever promo fits in my schedule. Don't take time away from writing (because I don't have much time for writing as it is).
- Do whatever I feel comfortable doing, either personally or financially.
- Don't sweat it if it doesn't work.
- Define what constitutes success. For me, it isn't a ranking on a list or a dollar amount of money.
- Only continue to write if you enjoy it. When it becomes a job, quit.
You see, publishing success is a crap shoot. It's one of the few professions where talent really isn't that big of a factor. There's a big chunk of luck involved, too. Best-selling authors aren't necessarily better writers. I've read "unknown authors" who are a lot better at crafting a story than a best-selling author. The BS author (heh heh) just hit it big with at least one book and then people found that author and told other people, then that author became an auto-buy for people, and before you know it, you've got good sales.
When I first started trying to be published, I went to a lot of conferences and took a lot of notes. One "rule" was repeated over and over, and I think it's repeated because it's true:
Write the best book you can write.
Work on your craft, write a good book, and the rest is up to a lot of things that are totally out of our control. See #3 above. Above all, enjoy the ride. It can be a lot of fun.