So what do you need to become a publisher? Keep in mind that, as of this writing, my company has not yet made me filthy rich, and I'm not out buying exotic pet tigers and Ferraris and training my tigers to drive my Ferraris. So I could be wrong about all this. But I have put a lot of thought and work into it and I think I've got it boiled down to the basics.
You need a thing to publish.
You need a means of preparing that thing for publishing.
You need a forum in which to put that thing on offer.
You need a means of letting people know about that thing.
In other words you need to satisfy the following conditions:
There are a lot of other ins and outs and other marginalia but that is basically it. And it all starts at the product. I believe it is Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, one of the great movies of our time, that says, "Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed... I will. I got spare time." Which is to say, a lot of people can offer you a publishing platform with all the bells and whistles, but it's ultimately what's inside that counts.
So you start by securing a good story. In my case, a dear friend of mine had what I thought was a great idea for a coming-of-age fairy tale series. The story was great, had a positive message and a lot of action, a dose of magic and characters that I thought would appeal to older women as well as young girls. Women of all ages read a good deal more than men, which I still find surprising as a man who reads a lot. Maybe most dudes are too busy at car shows and all-you-can-eat wing nights. I dunno. Anyway, when trying to sell books, or really most anything in life, it's best to appeal to the ladies.
I know it's tempting just to publish things you are personally in to, like erotic elf westerns or books about sexy turtle people, and I'm not trying to say that there aren't people out there that might be into that stuff, but it's a tough sell to the majority of people out there not romantically interested in turtles. On the other hand, it's also tough to sell the millionth YA vampire love story; you have to fight to get noticed because it's been done every which way before. The point is, there is a medium that you need to find, a fresh story that might appeal to a bunch of people other than you and your wierdo friends.
So you've passed on the manuscript about a Conan the Barbarian type that lives in kickassville and drives around a souped up Camaro, knocking heads and seducing strippers. Good. That's a good first step. What's more, you've found a great story that you think has a lot of potential. Now what?
Well, now you get it formatted. And let me tell you, friend: You're in for a world of pain.