The quickest way to get published is by the Self Publishing method. Amazon offer, not a free but, a no upfront publishing platform that takes a percentage of each sale. It's called Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP for short.
I am going to gather some information and resources from Amazon to give you an insight into self publishing to give you an informed decision as to if it's a route you would like to try.
I myself have several novels published on amazon in both e-book and print. Yes, you heard right! Through Amazon KDP you can even produce a real life tangible paperback book. They used to integrate with a company called Create Space and link to your Amazon account. I'm not sure if it was originally owned by Amazon or if they bought Create Space out but it can be created now from the same management console where you create your e-books.
Rights. Keep control of your rights and set your own list prices. Make changes to your books at any time.
Get to market fast. Set up your book in minutes, and it will appear on Kindle stores worldwide.
Royalties. Earn up to 70% royalty on sales to customers in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, India, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and more. Enroll in KDP Select and earn more money through Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.
Features. Books will be included in a broad set of features in the Kindle Store, such as Look Inside the Book. This list of features grows over time as we continue to improve Kindle and the Kindle Store.
Rights. Maintain creative control and own your copyright with our non-exclusive agreement.
100% availability. Printing on demand means your book will never be out of stock.
Distribution. Reach readers through Amazon websites in the US, Europe, and Japan.
Royalties. Earn up to 60% royalties on the list price you set, minus printing costs.
When I had just finished my first my first novel and thought it was the bees knees, I did a google search for agents. I found a website that was accepting submissions, so, I uploaded it. An hour later, while I was at my mothers house, I received a phone call from LA. I'm based in the UK and I thought this was amazing. We had a good chat and they said they would publish me. I was over the moon. When I got home something wasn't sitting quite right. I google the organization and it lead to a little more research. It turned out that there wasn't two types of 'being published'... Traditional and Self published. There is a third which claims to be in the first bracket but their definition is a very loose fit. Some even go as far as saying they are a publishing scam.
They basically charge you eg $5000 to print and deliver 500 paperback books to you. They may say that they will promote your books but it will be the minimum they can get away with and very vague.
They are just a glorified independent printer. Once they have your money and delivered your books, that's it.
Yes, there may be an exception to the rule but do your own research before you part with any money. A traditional publisher won't charge you anything in advance. They may not offer you an advance but that's normal this day and age. Gone are the days of large cash advances. There are just too many authors around.