Vanilla, you were an essayist or short story writer, and you sold to anthologies and magazines. This worked best for genre fictionists, people who wrote science fiction, fantasy, westerns, that kind of thing.
Rocky Road, for the curious, involved self-publishing your book, running off some copies (usually at exorbitant price points per copy), and selling them yourself. It could work, if by "work" you mean that you actually had a book of your own on the shelf.
The cones for the scoops of chocolate were the agents, who were either not necessary or absolutely necessary, depending on whom you asked.
Fast forward to today. There are now a hundred flavors of publishing or more. Patreon is, I don't know, pralines and caramel. Something like that. There are so many flavors of publishing that even the most involved can't keep up with them all. I'm publishing here because Theron Harmon, who isn't a writer, told me about Patreon and thought I'd be a fit for the model. And I am and it's great but I never would have found this on my own.
Still, just as most people like chocolate or vanilla, most writers still publish, or try to publish, in the model from the 20th century, and I'm not terribly different. While my favorite ice cream is praline, I'm as interested in vanilla--and yes, Mom, even chocolate now--as the next guy. Accordingly, I'm submitting a story to a couple of agents, and I'm going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how that goes.
First, the agents are Jessica Sinsheimer and Louise Fury. They requested my query and my first ten pages of Cheating Death. Yes, that's right, that's the name of a story I posted here. But since this is chocolate, not vanilla, they don't want a short story (even a long short/novelette like that one); they want a novel. So I've expanded and rewritten the story into a novel, and that's the first ten pages they want to see.
Wanna see them too? Excellent. They're attached. Actually, you get more, because I love you.
What happens next? Well, in the Muppet version, they both get the query, immediately read the attached pages, request the rest of the novel, and fight to the death for the honor of representing the book to publishers. By next week.
The real version is that it's summer, so they get the query and look at it and say, okay, I'm going on vacation, I'll do something with it when I get back, and sometime around September they both send me letters that say, "nice try, sunshine, but this doesn't really work for the type of material I represent."
I promise to keep you informed about either of the above, or any other actual events.
Meanwhile, Sara lives on, and her life is every bit as interesting as it looked like it would be from the tiny snippet we got to see before. Take a look, and tell me what you think. The attachment is both the query letter and the first two chapters of Cheating Death, the novel.