If you are trying to become a published novelist, one of the (depressing) things you hear over and over is how hard it is to actually make a living from your writing. "Don't quit your day job" is advice given to nearly all aspiring and new writers.
Several interesting posts counteract that gloom and doom forecast.
Nephele Tempest of the Knight Agency talks about 'best-sellers' versus best sellers.
From there, Nephele links to the blog of the national book critics circle board of directors in which they talk about 'secret sellers--books that just keep going.' I've actually read several of these, and have meant to read several more.
From the comments in Nephele's post comes a link to a post from 2006 at Making Light called 'Conventional Unwisdom in Publishing' in which Teresa Nielsen Hayden dispels the myth of 172,000 books published each year.
Writing is still a chancy gamble in a casino where the writer doesn't set the odds, but it's not the hopeless, impossible dream some of the statistics would have you believe.
In the immortal words of Miss Snark, I like to believe that 'good writing trumps all.' So the one thing an aspiring novelist can do is to write as well as possible and continue to hone the craft.
It is only the rare few who make a living from art. Perhaps a rail and a rant about why this is so is a blog post for another day. (We can all lament being part of a culture that raises fast food to its art form and worships the immortal sitcom. And reality shows? Need I say more?)
Go keep writing and keep the faith.