There are three ways to be published these days. One is the traditional route, involving being accepted and published by a Big Name publisher or independent press. But there are fewer of the big players than ever before, following a number of mergers and acquisitions, and it’s harder to be accepted as a new writer. Indies, as they are known, are becoming greater in number and influence, and are a much more likely way for the unpublished writer to gain traditional publication. Literary journals and other (mostly online) magazines are also a good way to break into the market, if you can write something that is good enough and targeted enough to the publication you’re submitting to.
The second method is self-publishing, which is much more common and accepted these days due to the high quality of much of the content.
The third is known as ‘hybrid’ and involves being published both by the traditional route (Big Publisher, independent, journal or magazine – or indeed, by winning a competition) and also publishing your own works alongside this.
I’ve been published both of the first two ways, so I guess that puts me in the third category – hybrid.