I was just asked this question again, for the umpteenth time.
First of all, if you don't know the answer to that question, then you are nowhere near ready to publish. No, don't argue with me. I'm sure your writing is unique, and you have a very interesting story to tell, but we all have to start with the basics.
Before you enter into any potentially life-changing venture, research, for Pete's sake!
Would you jump into a new job without knowing anything about it? Of course not.
There are plenty of reasons why you need to go into publishing well-informed. For one, you want to be taken seriously as an author.
Readers, publishers and other authors can smell a rookie.
Novice authors tend to fall into one of two categories:
1. The Eager-to-Learn Rookie:
Doesn't know where to start but wants to learn and asks the right questions. These are the authors who often do well right out of the gate - they have all the bases covered before they hit Publish. Their product is professionally polished and they already have a marketing plan in place. These writers usually find other authors to be supportive, encouraging, and willing to answer questions and share tips.
2. The Know-it-all-Noob:
Already knows everything and ignores advice generously offered by those with experience (I was one of these). The Noob inevitably appears in writers' groups asking stupid questions about things they should have known about long before they attempted to publish. Authors tend to lose patience with these people quickly; they have better things to do than explain (again!) things that this person should have been able to learn long before attempting to publish. It's especially frustrating to have someone ask a question, then shoot down the answers everyone offers because the individual doesn't want to learn or expend effort to meet the challenge.
The bottom line is, RESEARCH and LEARN. If you don't know what research to do, or what you should be learning, then I give you the indie author's Bible: Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran.
But you say, "Oh, no thanks! I don't need to read anything. You see, I'm much too busy with my writing." Believe me, you NEED to read this. After all, if you're capable of writing an entire book, surely you're capable of reading a few.
*This post is not a cleverly disguised sales pitch for Mr. Gaughran's book. I really believe that it is a must-read for anyone interested in publishing. If you take a moment to scroll down his page, you'll see that he even offers a free download of the book in PDF for those who don't own e-readers or can't afford to buy it.