I am always interested in finding out other people's points of view on the writer's journey. I'm on several writer's loops, a member of several writer's groups and read writer's blogs. The interesting thing is that no two writer's journeys are the same. Some gush about how great there editor is. Others talk about how bad their editor is. The same with agents. There are reported agents who help "doctor" manuscripts to take them to the bestseller lists, agents who walk writer's through their career goals and agents who supposedly call back and e-mail you more than once a year. I'm always amazed at how different other people's experiences are from mine. And, after twelve years in the business, I have come to understand that no one has the "best" experience. There is no right or wrong. All you can do is the best with what is presented to you and clearly the differences are as varied as finger prints.
I try to educate myself as best I can on contracts, agents, publishing houses, etc. Still two other writers, starting off the same as I, (same house, same print run) can end up in vastly different places. They might have an agent that plucks them from the masses and tells them-write this- and voila they are getting amazing print runs (numbers of books produced by the publisher). Or they may get a call from an editor who asks for such and such type of book-bam, they hit the best seller lists. Or they sell one book and are discouraged by the lack of notice and quit writing all together. (Some of these people are the best writers in the bunch.)
It's a crazy business filled with "helpful" people telling you what you're not doing right and how, if you follow their advice, you'll be rich and famous within the next six months. Or worse, bragging about how rich and famous they are because they are superior writers..of course... cough, cough.
All you can do is gather as much information as possible and make decisions that are best for you. Allow your own journey to develop how it will and try not to get run over when some one hollers there's a fire sale on paranormals and every one rushes to publish that.
Remember, writers sell stories for a living. Don't let their stories discourage you from living your own.