Since getting my first contract for a novel I've learned so much. It's not enough to just have a great idea for a story. You have to know how to write, find someone to critique it. Sometimes numerous someones. Proof readers are always a great idea. And all of this before you even submit.
Each submission needs to be formatted to each publishers guidelines. (read their submission guidelines very carefully) Write a query letter, blurb and synopsis. I have learned that blurbs are a pain in the...After writing a 100k novel, I than had to tell my story in 200 words or less. Really? Blurbs and Synopses for me are harder than writing the novel. I wish there was someone out there you could send your book to and they would write the synopses and blurb for you. I would pay for that.
Now comes the fun part. (I say this with just a wee bit of sarcasm) The waiting. Waiting to hear from the publisher. Some ask for only the first three chapters so you wait to see if they are interested enough to want more. Happy dance when they ask for more. Then the waiting begins again. Many publisher take between 4-6 weeks to make a decision.
Again your doing your happy dance if the publisher offers you a contract. But alas more waiting. Waiting for cover art. Waiting for edits. Waiting for release date. It's a huge waiting game and if you can't handle the wait, than writing is not for you.
No one likes to wait, but I've learned that once I have submitted my story, I try to think very little about it. I move on to the next story. I hate waiting just as much as the next person, but it's what you do with the time spent waiting that matters. In my case. A new novel in the works.