One of my favorite fantasy series is the Farsala trilogy by Hilari Bell. The world building's fantastic. The characters are conflicted. The struggle's epic. The plot's full of clever plans, often gone awry. I love it to pieces.
Hilari Bell's other work hasn't impressed me quite as much, with the exception of The Prophecy. However, I've enjoyed everything I've read by her, including her fabulous writing tips on her website.
I was just over there, reading, however, and came across some sobering statistics. Who knows if they're true. Hopefully they're not, but I have a sneaking suspicion they're true.
-Most authors get published between novel 5 and 7, Bell claims. Not the fifth agent they contact. The fifth NOVEL they WRITE.
-It takes 20-50 queries to pick up an agent. And this, I assume, is if your query's decent and your writing's good. Or, perhaps more likely, your query's fantastic and your writing's decent.
-Hilari Bell was working on her 13th novel before she sold one. It was the 5th one she'd written. She'd been seriously trying to get published for 17 years.
Yet, in a post she entitled "The Irrational Optimism of Writers," Hilari Bell quotes a speech she once heard: "The ones who have been published are the ones who didn't quit."