In my last post, I mentioned "traditional" publishing. I've been corrected; apparently the term I should have used was "trade" publishing.
Either way, if you're interested in being published by a company that will pay you, that will help promote and market your books, and that sells books to readers, this is probably the type of publication you want.
Another question I'm frequently asked when I give talks about writing is how to find trade publishers.
That's a huge question, and one I'll need more than one post to answer. There are tons of publishing companies out there, and they aren't all what they seem. Some will tell you they'll pay you royalties, but then require you to buy copies of your own book before you receive any money. Some will pay royalties, but they don't pay based on the cover price.
The first, and easiest, way to find a trade publisher is to look at the books you've read. Especially those that are similar to what you write. Publishers' names are always located somewhere on the books, often on the cover or spine and always on the copyright page. If a book similar to yours has been published by a certain company, that company might be a place to consider submitting your own book.
Of course, as always, you have to do your research. Once you find the company's name, you'll need to look them up. Nearly all trade publishers have websites, and on those websites they usually tell authors how to submit to them. Not all publishers accept manuscripts directly from the author, so you'll need to check those guidelines carefully. Some publishers, especially the bigger ones, require authors to submit through an agent. (I'll talk about agents in a future post.)
You'll also want to look around their website to see what types of things they publish, and how much of it. If they've published a dozen dystopian novels and you have a dystopian novel, you actually may be out of luck; they might have decided they have enough dystopians on their list and not want to do more.
Check out the names of the authors who are published with them. Do you recognize any of those names? If not, or if you only recognize one or two, the company may not be doing enough promotion.
Always research companies you're interested in. Even if you're seeing their name on a book, that doesn't necessarily guarantee they're a trade publisher or a company you'd want to work with.
I'll be back in a couple weeks with more on this thought, and other ways to look for publishers.