Writing a novel consists of several steps.
The first step is the creative part - writing the novel.
The second step is the edit process and this step occurs at the discretion of the writer. Some will edit as they create while others edit at scene breaks, the end of a chapter or the end of a story arc/plot line. Many will edit after the entire novel is finished.
The edit step is not complete in one pass. It takes many edits to polish a novel regardless of your level of skill. Professional authors who have written many books will edit until they are happy and that might take a dozen or more edit sessions.
The third step is to have some people (not family) read the polished version and provide you with comments. These beta readers, as they are called, will express their opinion. The writer must then consider those comments and decide if the novel needs to be revised. Stephen King made a valid point that you can't please everyone. He also indicates that when the same comment is received from more than one reader, it may require some serious thought.
If the third step prompts revisions, go to step two once again.
The forth step is pitching the novel to an agent or publisher. This step requires you to create a query letter and a synopsis of the novel. Both of these tasks are significant enough to warrant a separate post.
The fifth step after being signed by an agent is to cross your fingers and hope the agent can find a publisher for your novel. The agent may send you back to step two before they are ready to pitch your book to a publisher, so be prepared.
The last step is to sign the contract. This step is the end - right? Wrong! Now the work of promoting yourself and your novel, creating a social network, and waiting for the release date to arrive are just a few of the tasks this step launches. After the book is release, there may be book signings, book tours, speaking engagements or dead silence if the book fails to sell.