You’re a writer the moment you write. But if you want to be a published author, one route is to obtain representation. That means researching which literary agent(s) seem like a good fit for your writing and sending them query letters. Literary agents are extremely helpful to a writing career because they can submit to publishers that are closed to unsolicited submissions, negotiate better contracts on your behalf, and some provide editorial guidance. The following post by Mary Kole can be read in full at Writer’s Digest.