Sorry kids, shameless plug coming up.
So have you ever been just typing something out and you're like, 'damn I should totally share this' and then you start a blog and then you totally start kicking blogging's ass and then your husband outright dares you to write a book and you do because you can't ever let him win on something like that and then you wake up one morning with a whole little book-a-roo and you're like 'well what the hell do I do now' and then your husband is all like 'publish dat shit' and you kindof agree that that sort of thing would be really cool?
Well, if that sounds like you at all, and if you are in any way intimidated by the whole 'have an agent, leave an agent, need an agent, find an agent' rig-a-ma-roll of which most book-publishing nightmares consist ...
May I suggest the world of Self-Publishing?
It's also called "vanity publishing" and I totally get why. Soon as you see that damned title on Amazon with your name next to it... well the ol' ego is just never the same. But in a terribly good way.
I shopped around and got loads of advice and discarded most of it. I found three companies, and the one that won on price alone was Xlibris.
As long as you're meticulous and you know exactly what you want and how you want it (my list started and ended at 'published with a barcode, thanks') then you'll be well prepared for self-publishing. Packages can include editorial help, spellchecking, grammar checking... but usually just the basic effort of getting your pdf onto paper is all that simple folk like me are looking for.
And you can tell, because I mis-spelled Tesla once in my book and it's printed that way now forever and I'm horrified but also I'm kindof okay with it.
Long story short: All ye bloggers, minions, slavering stalkers, adoring fairy godmothers and sneaky snoopers... you're all out there with stories to tell. Tell them. Write your novel. Make your collection of thoughts and blog posts into something you can share with the world. Put a barcode on it and get yourself a big fat ISBN number all for yourself. Sell that shit on amazon and watch your world change.
Raking it in I am not. My first royalty check was $40. But I don't write for the money. What I do here, the words I share here and the thoughts I string together... it's medicine. If someone else gets a kick out of it... that's awesome. And with the ol' book, if I can get some gas money out of it every now and then, well that's just gravy.
When choosing a company to work with, please consider how much of your own input you want and how much management you might need. Have a team of word-wizards out there to do your spellchecking? Use them. Save a few bucks. Get solid feedback too on things like plot and flow. Know someone to do your coverart for you? Use them. Save a few bucks.
Otherwise, watch for sales and promotions and squeeze those salespeople for all you can get. Don't be afraid to compare prices and make 'em duke it out for your business. It's a huge investment, to be sure, and the upsell nonsense is just this side of too aggressive. But your book will be published. And, my dears, that is a feeling unlike any other.
JK Rowling we aren't. And that's okay. I don't wanna' be her any more than she wants to be me.
But I've got a secret that she doesn't know: Being me kicks ass. And having a self-published book kicks even more ass. I can't encourage you enough to pursue that final hurdle in sharing your thoughts and developing something real and go-ram solid that you can put on a shelf between your Bruce Campbell biography and your Neil Gaiman novels. Or maybe next to that old college mythology book you've been meaning to read through again. Or perhaps you could jauntily display your book in the living room behind the family photos for when that jerk of a co-worker comes over and then you could be all "oh yeah, this? oh it's just this book I wrote..."
I'm just sayin', kids, Self Publishing.
It's the shit.
And a good place to start, if you don't mind my saying so, is Xlibris. (who just did some kind of merger thing with Penguin, so that's neat too.)