For the fiction writer, Createspace is NOT a vanity press. However, you must be able to do your own editing for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors and please don’t have your character getting shot before the villain pulls out his gun.
If you tell a good story with believable characters in an interesting, fast moving plot, there is always someone who is willing to spend a few bucks to read it. First and foremost, you need to get a positive, UNBIASED opinion of your work. You know your relatives will unfailingly praise you to the sky.
Do you ever watch the try-outs on American Idol? It makes you wonder why mothers, spouses, siblings or closest friends don't tell their youngster the truth..."you need a bucket to carry the tune." No, they let this poor individual embarrass him or herself in front of millions of people. So, my advice is...don't embarrass yourself with poor craftsmanship. Publishers want a marketable product. It's a business and they want to make a profit.
This is where RWA shines. By going to RWA sponsored conferences, (or one of many writers' groups who have conferences) you can get an appointment with an editor and pitch your novel. It doesn't have to be in the romance genre. The editors usually have a panel discussion early on and tell you the types of stories they are looking for RIGHT NOW. Don't waste an editor's time if your novel is not completed. Don't present your manuscript to an editor that doesn't publish your genre. But this is a great way to get a leg up and moved to the front of the queue.
My advice is...if you're young, energetic and your novel is clean, error free and as good as you can get it, then by all means aim for the big New York publishing houses. The important message here is "if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." Criticism is a painful but necessary part of writing.