This is the "not for the faint of heart" section. You can, at this point, go the traditional route to get your book published and if successful save your self a lot of heartache, if you get so lucky.
Traditionally, you would seek out a literary agent, who in turn, would become your representative to some publishing house, all for a percentage (10-20 percent.) The publisher then takes your book and maybe suggests, or edits it preparing it for the market they market to. Keep in mind that a best seller in this country is only about 25,000 copies. Million seller block-busters are rare and many companies take on only less than ten books a year because the costs as so high these days. So, you will likely not get an agent and not get a publisher. If you do, great, the party will be at your house with the 1,500 advance they will likely give you. I will bring the Lima Beans.
So the agent route is not going to likely happen. What now? I mentioned the self-publish options above. The one I like is Amazon. At least the book gets out there, is seen on the Amazon website and you can get this done for relatively little money. You can pay an extra 40 dollars if you want to get into their "Distribution Channels." Still not a bad deal if you have no money and less time.
But part of even this arrangement involves many, many other decisions. I have a few modest examples listed below:
1-Do you want to go with Amazon's cover and have one done by your own cover designer. If the latter: Cost about 600 dollars. Covers matter. Bad cover, bad sales or none. Good cover; two maybe three sales. (LOL) My advice; invest in a good cover. Amazon templates are serviceable but not really that great.
2-Do you want to invest in copyrighting your book. The industry tells you "oh, don't worry about that, things are automatically copyrighted the minute you write them." Really. I don't think so. While that is the letter of the law you can and probably should look at copryrighting your book formally and getting it registered internationally (there be book pirates abroad) if the thing has any chance of being popular. Cost 345 dollars. And while you are at it you might invest in getting your own ISBN (International Standard Book Number.) Look it up. The deal here is that self-publishers look to own the ISBN as do the big six because books usually are ordered by that number and the owner is the one who is communicated with. Also there is the matter of the bar code which is on the back of every book. This costs money too. (I didn't say it would be easy.) You have to decide if you want to control these things or if you want the publisher to have control of them. Being a control gentleman, I have chosen the latter.
Now self-published or regular published you should be aware of these issues. Have I mentioned national vs international rights, royalties etc. That is why you need time. Have I mentioned issues of the audio book, the e-book and movie rights? There is TV, if you are so lucky, publicity, marketing, book tours, social networking sites and sanity to consider. Maybe if you want to hold on to yours, you should try the agent thing and ponder all this anew.
If not then, in the full book I will go into detail about the above, but for this blog I will tomorrow go over some of the headlines of what would be involved if you decided to do it the hard way.