The very first panel at the PSWA conference was about what the authors wished they'd known at the beginning of their writing careers. Panelist were Sue MCGinty, W. S. Gager, Michael Black, Bette and J. J. Lamb.
Here is some of what they had to say:
1. Enjoy the moment.
2. Keep track of everything if you are writing a series.
3. First chapters need to start off exciting.
4. The hardest parts are the middle.
5. Think about what is the worst possible thing that could happen, and then put that in the book.
6. Should be suspenseful to the end--excitement to the final chapter.
7. Be sure to tie up everything.
8. A twist at the end.
9. Joining a critique group.
10. Learning how to edit.
11. That it's tough to find a publisher.
12. Need to start promoting yourself from the beginning.
13. Publishing is a cut-throat business.
14. Make each book able to stand alone even if it is a series.
This is all good advice and it was a great panel.