How does someone publish their writing?

One of my friend’s children (30 years old!) wrote me with this question about writing curriculum for children. Here’s the answer I sent her:
Publishing is a tough game. I would start by getting a 2014 Writer’s Market. I also get the deluxe, online edition because then you can do an online¬†search of their database. Many education type publishers are available. You may need to narrow your search to a Christian or homeschool publisher. This has been the most difficult route for me to find a publisher, but if you have something they want (or decide they want), you can be a traditionally published author!
Be aware that you can find a publisher, find a self-publisher, or self publish yourself. It all depends on how much money you can put into the project. I worked with Tate Publishing to publish Gold Earrings. Tate is called an “author investment” publisher. Basically you pay a flat fee (was $4000 which my mom paid for me!). Tate then has editors, layout people, cover people,¬†printers & marketing reps. You then buy what you hope to sell yourself. They place it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, etc. They did a great job creating the print copy and Kindle version. The marketing was not as aggressive as I would have hoped, but that is becoming true throughout the publishing world. The writer is expected to promote the book. I felt Gold Earrings (begun when I was in high school) needed to finally see the light of day. Tate gets a bad rap online if you google them. Basically you just need to be aware of what they do and don’t do.
There are a myriad of self publishers and a myriad of book publishing packages at different price points. The publishing industry is more accepting of self publishing now than it was when I was looking for a publisher originally. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) gets a list of accepted publishers, those that are traditional publishers by their definition.
Another option is creating the Kindle version yourself through the KDP Select program. This puts your book out at Amazon within a month or so. You get great royalties on purchased digital versions. Again you end up being the primary marketer though Amazon does what they do to suggest books to Kindle customers. You can then work with their partner CreateSpace to produce print copies. The Kindle part is basically free to cheap. CreateSpace is a “print on demand” publisher. Not sure how much all that costs.
So this is my basic knowledge of the publishing world. Pretty scary and frustrating, but we write because we are called to write. Publishing is still in God’s hand in my mind. God’s timing is never my timing though!