"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction & Fantasy" provides practical, solid advice, and it does it with the help of some very funny stories. It's at once sobering and hopeful; it doesn't get you worked up with a lot of false hopes, yet doesn't leave you depressed and suicidal about your chances of getting published either.
This book debunks popular myths and legends about writing. It covers the varieties of science fiction, as well as fantasy, including "dark fantasy" or horror. It briefly touches on fans and conventions, including how to handle your fans (the good and the bad). It discusses the importance (or not) of having "new" ideas for your stories, and of knowing your subject. It'll also point out some of the mistakes and problems that knowing your subject can push you into.
It goes into writing as a job. It covers the usual "you have to make time for it" idea that every book trots out, but it also provides useful suggestions for how to go about this. It goes over the good and bad methods SF authors use to convey information in their stories. Instead of simply trotting out the old "show don't tell" advice, it provides practical structuring suggestions, as well as examples of those suggestions. It also goes into such genre topics as world-building.
One of the invaluable aspects of this part of the book is the insider's perspective. These authors haven't just summed up their own experiences submitting things--they've talked to lots of editors and networked with everyone. They tell you what editors like, don't like, and dread.
This book gives practical advice on self-promotion, without pushing you to use the sleazy, shady, or just plain rude self-promotion practices I've seen advocated in many articles. You'll find all sorts of tips in here on readings and signings, conventions, cards and fliers, press releases, interviews, reviews, and book launches. The book even covers web sites, newsgroups and netiquette, mailing lists and awards. There's also a section on agents, electronic rights and publishing, contracts, taxes, and writers' associations.
This is an immensely practical book for genre authors, and well worth reading several times over. It includes information on everything from idea generation through publication and promotion, in as much detail as possible!