I always say there are essentially four stages to successful writing. Not all writers will go through all four stages, hence I used the adjective successful. In a nutshell, here they are:
1) Getting an idea
2) First draft
When I mean that not all writers go through all four stages, it's fairly self-explanatory. All writers have an idea for a story. And that's where they stop. They never get to stage two.
And if they start writing it, do they ever finish?
Once again, most don't.
If you can make it through all four stages, you are the elite of the elite.
Okay, Mark, what about self-published authors? In today's ebook market, anyone can publish a book. That's true. But then we have to delve into the quality of the work.
And that's what will set you apart from the other hacks out there.
Write. Every single day. Work at improving your craft. Excel.