The preparation begins during the stage of writing. You need an idea that's original, creative and interesting. The market is already quite saturated with authors, so you have to give a reason to read your book to people. Polish your manuscript as much as you can before submitting it, hiring editors to support you with accuracy, clarification, creation of character and grammatical errors if appropriate.
But that's just the beginning, and there's a lot more to be written than just getting a manuscript of high quality and exclusive. In general, you need to understand what publishers are looking for and how to market your manuscript to be successful.
infographic by: www.queryletter.com