I’ve self-published 3 novels, one a year during the past 3 years, and have done extensive research on the subject. I’ve made my share of mistakes until getting the process down.
At the moment, I beleive the best deal going is an Amazon owned company, CreateSpace.
I don’t mind sharing this cost info. to give you an idea of how it works. My latest novel, “Night of the Walrus,” is a 292 page 6″ X 9″ trade paperback printed on demand. When I placed my first order for 100 copies, my cost including tax and shipping totaled $511.48 or $5.11 per book. Shipping costs vary depending on the number of books ordered. There is also a one-time $39.00 “pro plan” fee which I won’t go into here. You can research that on the CreateSpace web site.
There is a minimum threshold price that you need to set for your book which is very reasonable (again, I’ll let you research that on their web site). I set my book price at $15.00 and wholesale it to book stores at 40% off or $9.00 each.
The printing quality is very good. Covers are crisp and paper stock has a decent weight. This isn’t the cheap newsprint quality that you sometimes find in self-pubbed books or mass market paperbacks. I can say, though, that their bright white paper is better than their cream colored option.
A huge benefit of going with this company is they provide the ISBN for free and setup a free listing for you on Amazon.com complete with their “Inside the book” feature, and they allow you to setup an Amazon Author Page which is also free. There is also a Kindle option, but I haven’t checked into that yet. As you know, you are on your own by going the self publishing route, so it is essential that you have a way to sell your books online. I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of adding a shopping cart to my website and packing and shipping books. Amazon does all of this. Obviously, your cost goes up a few dollars for this service, but it’s worth it. They send me checks for these online sales when profits accumulate beyond a certain threshold which I believe is $50.00.
Now I’ll drop the other shoe. You have to format your own book block and design your own cover. Don’t panic. I learned how to do it, so you can too. You’ll feel empowered by the process of choosing your font size and style, etc. The CreateSpace website walks you through the entire process and they have the proper downloadable formatting for Microsoft Word. You can also use their template for cover design, but I prefer doing my own with Microsoft Publisher. I get my artwork from royalty-free websites like http://www.photos.com. I paid $25.00 for royalty-free use of the artwork for my latest book, “Night of the Walrus.”
Email me back if you have other questions. I invite you to visit my website: http://www.dennisroyer. com which links to my books on Amazon where you can see the final result. Oh, and by-the-way, feel free to buy a copy while you’re at it!