Oooh, it's exciting. It's scary. It has also changed utterly. Getting your book published (and more importantly, read) is both much easier and much tougher.
In the olden days, (i.e. a few years ago) there was a set way to attempt this. You got addresses from The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook. You hit on one with a name you liked or whatever random or reasonable reason and packed up your manuscript and posted it. Then, you settled down for a long wait.
You won't need me to tell you that it doesn't work like this any more. Now, there are a lot of options. Self-publishing is a serious option. Some traditionally published writers even choose self-publishing for later books.
We will look at some of the reasons you might choose one publishing method rather than the other in the next post.