You want to be an author, fantastic. You're taking the serious steps of getting your book published this means you've stepped out of the "This is a hobby" to "This is a job" stage.
Wait, this is a job?
Yes, this is a job. Welcome to the hard road and dedication it will take to get you through this. Trust me, you'll need it.
Over the months you might spend your time trying to create the most wonderful one of a kind masterpieces. You might even be a closet writer like I was for a long time. People would ask, "What are you doing?" I'd freak-out shut down my word and say, "Nothing." Because at the time I was completely scared that my work sucked. But eventually, very slowly I might add, I began to share. Bit by bit. It's a process, and again, eventually you'll share.
Next comes the figuring out your path. I tried the agent thing first and I ended up with the wrong one the first time around. This happens. Sometimes no matter the research sometimes you just end up with the wrong agent. The good thing about this possibly painful realization is that you know now what you need and are looking for. Hopefully, you find it. I didn't search for an agent until after I published my second novel through Swoon Romance.
Yes, I went the Indie route, and you know what? I love it. I can honestly say I've grown and have learned more going this route than trying to do things myself. Or trying to find a place for my works in the world. Is it for everyone? Probably not. Some people are happy with self publishing and you know what? Good for you. I'm glad. It doesn't make this person any less of an author than me. If you think differently then ok, but let me ask you this, if a person is selling his or her books whether or not online or in stores does this not make them an author? Let me ask another question, did this person write a novella or a full length novel? Then wouldn't this make them an author if their work went from being an MS to being sold?
Point is don't judge people by what form of publishing route they take. Agent or unagented. Self-published, Indie, or Traditional. If their books are out there they are an author.