Don't I need to shop my story around before I can publish it?
Sure you can opt to take this path and contact publishing houses and likely get discouraged if it is not accepted and then decide to not publish your story. Not to say that overnight success does not exist or instant acceptance to a publisher does not occur because it does happen, but not for everyone. You have to determine how much control you want over your book and how much time and energy you are willing to put into it. Are you the type of person that doesn't mind getting your hands dirty? Or would you rather have others make decisions for you about a book you wrote? What type of personality you have will ultimately help you decide on which option would be right for you.
For me personally I like getting my hands dirty. I like sinking my teeth into the whole process of creating a book. I also like to keep everything simple. Once you write your first book and go through the process, you will have more confidence to write your second book. There are several companies out there now that will assist you with self-publishing your book. I personally have used Lulu.com for all seven of my books. I have been working with them for over seven years. The company itself has grown and expanded their services to accommodate my distribution needs and their prices are very affordable for an author just getting started.
You can have the freedom of designing your own book cover layout or you can purchase a publishing package that will include this service. When you choose to self-publish, it is best to choose a company that is going to meet your needs and give you the flexibility to have control over the creativity of your book creation.
You no longer have to wait for the acceptance from a publisher, you can publish your book yourself and make your own brand and writing dream a reality.