Thanks for your tips Robo, that information is the kind of stuff I've wondered about.
You made some good points about publishing, which I did not consider. The issue I have with publishing is rights, I do not want to give up control of my work to a publisher, I'd feel rather silly paying for rights to sell my own photos! I'll have to consider all those things as I prepare myself for this project. I think there are other steps to getting noticed, such as getting published in one of the local nature magazines, or calenders.
As for the books subject matter, I suspect it will be more on the technical side, since I think in technical terms. If I were to write a journalistic book it would indeed need to be separate, as it may be attractive to both photographers and outdoor lovers. I can see the book being more of a technical guide, which could then be used along with my photo tours. If you want an idea of how I write, you can check out my blog, linked in my signature. I don't have an editor so my work is a little rough to say the least.
This entire project will not be an easy one, but I think it will be worth while. I'm not worried about photographic ability, I've done some looks around at a few other local nature photographers websites and I know that I can take shots at least as good as they are, and some of them sell 8x10 prints for $45 a pop. I just need to get out there and get started.
I think one challenge will be improving my post processing on the computer, getting Photoshop in addition to Aperture may be in order to get my photos to the next level. I do dread paying for it, but if I want to live as a professional in this field I figure having Photoshop is almost a given.