1. There is both more love and more rejection out there for published authors than I ever imagined. I try to concentrate on the love--which can come from the most unexpected and delightful places.
2. Self-promotion and extroverting do not get easier. Ever. On the other hand ...
3. Once one has accepted the need to extrovert, author events are quite fun.
4. I just have to build in plenty of resting-up/restoration time before and after.
5. A book from a small press is not likely to become a big seller. Distribution is the main issue. However ...
6. The book is a "calling card" that proves you can finish a book and get a publisher to love it and invest in it, which is no small thing. It's also a chance to prove that you're willing to put yourself out there to promote your work.
7. The production quality of small-press books--and large-press books, astonishingly--varies widely. My publisher did an awesome job with the cover, paper quality, fonts, etc. This stuff is important, so look at other books the press has produced before signing on.
8. Taking two private acting lessons so I could give better readings was possibly the smartest thing I did, out of all the things I did for this book. Including writing it.
9. Networking with fellow authors is absolutely critical. It isn't as hard as it may seem. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of writers are kind, supportive, interesting people who genuinely want to help each other out (even if we also have to stifle a little envy sometimes). Try to be one of these kinds of writers, and you will meet them in abundance.
10. Publishing with a traditional press of any size is hard--and there are different kinds of difficulties at different levels. As various tennis coaches used to tell me, just before I was pulverized by much larger and more accomplished players than I, "just play your game." In other words, do what you can, the best you know how, and keep doing it.
(See? You can always slip in a little self-promotion.)