I think it's really interesting how many people are drawn to being published. There's a whole spectrum of commitment that goes from "Like the idea of writing" to "Aspiring author" to "Published author of ____ series." Go on Twitter and you can see the whole range.
I think the desire to be published is different from a desire to write. Writers write because they enjoy creating their own little worlds. Anything is possible so long as you can find the right words to string together. Writing gives your imagination a sense of freedom.
Publishing seems to be, in my opinion, aiming for real life freedom. So many things are limited in our lives simply because we don't have enough hours in the day to do more. I can only see so many clients in day and, therefore, can only earn so much per hour.
But writing is a limitless prospect and I think that's what draws people in. In theory, there's really no cap to what you could do/earn. Book sales are not confined by number of hours in the day. And I think that's really what attracts people to the idea of being an author. It's that ideal of total freedom.
Realistically, only a small percentage of authors ever make millions of dollars. But it's still a tempting prospect to those that are already naturally inclined to be dreamers.