A few years back I purchased the book How I Got Published. It was enlightening to say the least. I highly recommend reading it, as it contains essays from famous authors sharing their story of how they got published.
Clive Cussler's essay, entitled I Decided to Take a More Devious Approach, tells the cunning story of how he created a fake agency to woo another agent to read his work. Remember folks, this was back in the day.
Marian Keyes' essay shares the low points of her life and how eventually her writing helped turn everything around.
It's an excellent read, especially if you're an aspiring writer. Almost 350 pages ranging from quick luck to years of persistence. No, I'm not getting paid to plug this book or anything. I was just dusting my bookshelf and I came across it. I read it and it energized me (as well as gave me a good reality check) about writing. Just thought I'd share.