Undoubtedly, the most favorable way for a writer to be published is the "old-fashioned" way - an editor at one of the NY publishing houses likes a manuscript, decides to publish it, and it's in the bookstores a few months later. Sounds good, right? Trouble is, you have almost as good a shot as hitting the Powerball lottery as you have of this happening. Now, many of us (including this writer) have tried the literary agent route - it turns out that "hiring" and agent isn't quite like hiring a gardener. This is one case where the employee (the agent) basically makes an assessment of the employer (the writer) instead of the other way round. The result is that it is just about as difficult getting an agent interested in a manuscript as it is to secure a publisher. It's a strange industry. There are MANY would-be writers out there and to say it's a buyer's market is a gross understatement. So now the internet gives people the chance to publish material themselves (which I have done). But (and it's a BIG but), the odds against a self-published book making a decent amount of money are rather long. Yes, some writers still get publishers to accept their material, but their last names are usually Clancy, Grisham, Rule, King, etc.