In photography, the difference between capable hobbyist and successful professional is huge, and not just in the quality of work. When you're a hobbyist, it's easy to lose perspective on just how an impact networking and paying your dues will have when it comes to building a lasting career. Courtesy of the invaluable advice-on-everything resource that is Ask Metafilter, here's the beginning of a bracing response to a non-professional photographer who dreams of being published in Real Simple: "The first step is not to connect with magazine editors, that is absolute last step. If they haven't heard of you, you have zero chance of getting in the door." It only gets more intimidating from there. It's definitely tough love, but it's always better to know what you're up against.