If you were faced with a new author, what is one thing you would tell them is a must to do and what would you tell them to avoid?
HH -A: First of all, avoid nothing. It’s all grist for the mill. Read authors whose work you like. Don’t be afraid to take the best of what they have to offer, whether it be plot, characterization, location, phraseology, or descriptions, whatever. I don’t mean plagiarism but try to emulate what makes the story sing for you. Everyone “borrows” and there’s no sin in it. We all learn from one another. Then, write, write, write. You can’t be a writer unless you write. Join a writing group. Take classes. Learn, grow, experiment, and discover yourself and what you excel in, your strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, never let anyone tell you, you can’t write. Scoff them, sneer them, expunge them. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They are projecting their own feelings of inadequacy upon you. Got it? Now, get out there and write. And revel in it. You belong to a wonderful club, the Writers of the World.
PB-A What Heather said. The only thing I'd add, would be to familiarize yourself with every aspect of the industry. Things like copyright, publishers and editors 'button's to avoid making any errors, and listen to them. If you get a rejection that explains why - read it, absorb it, learn from it and rewrite and submit elsewhere. Your job is to write and you'll not find success without getting out there and trying.