I have written several blogs on this. Go to http://cozyintexas.blogspot.com/2010/08/self-publishing-part-1.html (there are several parts to the blog)
I started with Dog Ear Publishing and wouldn't recommend them. They weren't overly professional and it was expensive. If you're comfortable with formatting the book yourself than I've found Createspace is the best way to go. I was also impressed with the cover templates. My last two books look more professional than the first one (A Graceful Death) that I paid Dog Ear Publishing to put together. They even messed up the title. Two words are in one font and the third in a different one. The way I found out how to layout the book in Createspace was by looking at other novels to get an idea of the margin width etc. I used Garamond for the font, it seemed to work out better than some of the others in the conversion process.
Ann, thanks for this helpful information. My book is self-published on Amazon for Kindle. However, I've been thinking of trying CreateSpace but have been intimidated. Now maybe I'll give it a shot.
I know how you fell about finding self publishing - publishers, but before I add some to your list, there are great pros and cons to this route of publishing.
Some say you can get caught up in a big pile, of books going nowhere, when you self publish. Some say very few self published books are taken seriously or even seen once published. I would suggest you look into OutskirtsPess.com and Author House .com. I personally like Outskirtspress.com because the editor/ publisher/owner is quite honest about what happens when you self publish. There are many sides to it, that include distribution, copyediting, PR and advertising that will cost you extra -( as added costs) after the book is published.
I hear/read Amazon is very limited in their distribution practices so avoid them, and they have first rights (control), believe it or not. Xlibris is unreliable on promoting the book once it is published. Have you considered some of the publishers connected with bookblogs like DGPublishing and publish your book groups right here? Look in the groups section there are publishers in your midst and small presses.
Much success; do lots of research, diligently,
Do look at contracts before going with any of the "self" publishing companies. Outskirts press has an "as is" clause in theirs which means if they make an error you're stuck with it. They assured me they have never had a problem, but if they were confident in their work they would not have this clause in there. It doesn't matter what is promised verbally, it's what is written in the contract that counts. I don't think there is any detriment in self publishing if it's a well written and carefully edited book. Many self published authors have gone on to be best sellers - John Grisham is one. Yes, distribution is limited in some cases and I believe Createspace only publishes in the U.S. but you can also upload your file in Kindle format and also on smashwords.com so that it is available overseas.
I don't think either the big publishing houses or the smaller presses do a great job at promoting a book unless you are already a best selling author. You're pretty much on your own whichever way you go.
Hi Hannah, there's also Smashwords.com. If you go down the Smashwords path there's a fair bit of prep reading involved, and a bit of work to get formatted 'just so'. Smashwords seems to be reasonable enough, and sets the ins and outs in plain view (lots of reading - useful to print it out at times). While I couldn't make a comparison, there is a heap of information covering a lot of territory at Smashwords. From what I've read some people don't like the rigmarole involved in formatting etc at Smashwords, but others take to it like a fish in water... each to their own preference. Read all the fine print wherever you go, I think is the rule of thumb. Like buying a computer, do some research and decide what you want it to do for you before you go get it whether it's self publishing or otherwise. I'm sure there must be a fair few people sharing good and bad experiences, so google for info about sites and reviews etc.
First of all, if you've only just finished writing your novel, go back and edit it. Then leave it for half a month. Then edit it again. Then get a beta-reader. Then when you've done /that/, make sure whatever company you decide to go with has some in-house formatting rules (so they don't just make it up on the spot), as well as an editor whose experience you can ask for.
Do NOT go for self publishing just because it might be 'easier'. Anyone can write a book and have a hundred copies sitting at home. What you need is a company which actually gives a flip about quality rather than just shoehorning new authors through the doors and fleecing them on hidden costs.
~Sara, from Inspired-Quill
Have you considered a royalty-paying e-publisher? My publisher is currently accepting submissions in all genres. They print in e-book format and trade paperback.
I agree with what everyone has stated regarding independently publishing your book, while it is EASIER to publish these days, there is still the onus to produce a good book. That being said, independently publishing a book can be a "feeder" towards getting picked up by a major publisher, but this is not necessarily the case these days. Some hot authors are actually dropping publishers and becoming their own publishing imprint.
The quality of POD printing is good enough, but an offset printer does a better job, but at a higher cost for a larger print run than POD. That's the tradeoff, a little bit lower quality for runs of one POD printing versus higher quality but runs in the thousands for offset.
I did the Createspace.com thing as I figured that I'd get more feedback to improve it. If you're a Mac person, it is SO EASY compared with Windows users. :-)
Edit, edit, edit!! And then go for it.
I was in your position slightly over a year and a half ago, and now I have had my book out for 15 months, it has sold over 9000 copies, and I have learned an enormous amount.
First of all, as a self-published author you will probably find most of your sales as an ebook, so you need to look into how to get the book up on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. Nowadays, there are a fair number of people who will format your books for ebook conversion for reasonable prices, although without a lot of technical knowhow, I did it myself.
For print on demand (and it is good to have print books available, if only to give to book reviewers, and those people who are still loyal to print). Lulu and CreateSpace are very similar. I used CreateSpace, primarily because my book could get free shipping on Amazon (and Amazon discounted my book at various times which helped my sales) and I found them very easy to work with.
I agree with previous comments that a well edited book the first important criteria, the second is probably a professional cover. This is the one area I spend money ($250) to get a cover designed, and it was worth it.
To help you negotiate these waters, do go to the Publetariat site, which is the most complete source of information about self-publishing you can find-for free! The founder of the site April Hamilton also has a guide to self-publishing which I found very useful, but there are a number of guides out there you might try.
Don't spend your money on author services self-publishing (where you pay several thousand dollars), the editing is often not as good as you can get from a free lance editor, and cover design, formatting etc are generally over priced, as well as actually having more stigma as vanity press than indie publishing.
Also read JA Konrath's blog for inspiration, and great advice on covers, pricing, etc.
Finally, I have been writing about my journey into self-publishing, so you might find my blog of interest as well.
Good luck to you.
M. Louisa Locke,
M. Louisa, great advice. I'm going to hop on over and check out your book.