Alternatives to PublishAmerica:
The publisher pays you a substantial amount in advance, and ensures that your book is widely shelved in physical bookstores without your intervention.
If you're going to do all the work anyway, you might as well control all the aspects of your publication and reap all the rewards (if any).
See also: Lulu.com, CreateSpace, CafePress.
In my opinion vanity publication is always a bad choice, but some writers may choose to follow this route.
Even though vanity publication costs a fair amount up-front, the long-term costs are often lower than PublishAmerica's long-term costs to the author, the per-unit price to customers is lower (removing a major bar to sales), and the contract is less onerous (Seven years? I ask you!)
See, for example, AuthorHouse, Tate, Infiniti, and other vanity presses.
Again, I don't recommend any of them. See Yog's Law: Money flows toward the author. Collorary: The only place an author signs a check is on the back.
Bottom line: PublishAmerica is a vanity press. Know and understand this on the way in the door. Before choosing to go with PA, check other, more honest, vanity presses.
Learn how to write
E.G. Mainstream/Contemporary/Literary, Religious and Spiritual, Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
It doesn't matter what you choose to do. If you can't write, you won't sell. Readers don't give a fig about "giving writers a chance."
Get an Agent
Also numerous other places here at AW (and elsewhere). The basic rule: A useful agent has sold books that you've heard of. No agent worth talking to charges anything up front, or sends you to someone else who charges anything up front.
Be aware that not everyone can be a professional writer any more than everyone can be a professional football player. Take enjoyment in the writing itself.