If you plan to self-publish, after you've written your book manuscript, the next step is to get it printed. The most affordable way to do that is to use one of the many companies online that print books on demand. In other words, the book is only printed when someone orders it.
Unfortunately, many options for turning your manuscript into a book are expensive and some are out and out scams. The publishing landscape is littered with unhappy authors who made poor choices for producing their book.
I'm a big believer in making money on books and not getting ripped off, so first I'd like to explain a couple of things about how book publishing works.
If you do a Google search on "self-publishing" you'll see ads for big companies like Xlibris, iUniverse, and Outskirts Press. The problem with these companies is that they separate you from your profits by acting as a "middleman" between you and the real print-on-demand printer they are using. In the book publishing world, these companies are referred to as subsidy or vanity presses. And almost every knowledgeable person in publishing recommends you avoid them (including me).
Here's why. Subsidy presses mark up their printing costs, and then pay you only a percentage of sales (called "royalties"). If you like profits, subsidy presses are not your friends. Often they have complicated contracts and keep rights to artwork you paid them to produce. Most people regret going with a subsidy once they discover the alternatives.
To make the most profit, you need to be the publisher of record. To do that, you buy your own ISBN block from Bowker at http://www.myidentifiers.com. Owning your own ISBN makes it possible for you to go to the printer directly and get the same distribution the subsidies offer.
Once you have your ISBN, have a graphic artist lay out your book so you maintain your ownership rights, and take it to a printer yourself. (Hiring a freelancer to lay out your book usually costs less than the "packages" subsidy presses offer.)
I only recommend two print-on-demand printers: CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon.com, and Lightning Source, which is owned by Ingram.
Some companies like Fast Pencil and Lulu can act as printers, but they are just marking up printing from another company (usually Lightning Source). For example, a 200 page book costs $9.30 to manufacture at Fast Pencil. However, you can get the same book for $3.50 at Lightning Source. Why spend $5.80 more per book?
Although many people like Create Space, I personally print my books through Lightning Source because you get better distribution for less money on online bookselling sites. However, Lightning Source has higher setup fees than CreateSpace and doesn't have forums you can turn to for community support like Create Space does. If you only plan to release one book and aren't worried about distributing books anywhere other than Amazon.com, Create Space can be a good option.
When it comes to book publishing, a little knowledge can save you a lot of money. Spend some time researching your options before you sign a contract you might regret. Just because a company comes up first in a Google search doesn't make it the right choice for you and your book!
Want to Publish Your Book? Learn Our Secrets!
Publishize: How to Quickly and Affordably Self-Publish a Book That Promotes Your Expertise is the book that tells you everything we did to self-publish 8 books in less than 18 months. (Now, we have 11 books to our credit.) Publishize is full of all our best secrets for writing, publishing, and promoting your book. Learn the smart way to self-publish a book without dealing with a subsidy press, or ending up with thousands of dollars caught up in inventory and a garage full of dusty books. With a focus on earning more profits and smart outsourcing, Publishize is a hands-on guidebook for entrepreneurs who want to add a new revenue stream to their business.
Visit the Publishize Web site
Buy Publishize on Amazon