Can someone recommend the best way to self-publish as a first time author?

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I am writing several different things; one is a self-help book on smoking cessation (I quit 6 months ago), and another is on spirituality and higher consciousness. I would like to get these both up quicky and effectively with reasonable cost. Curious as to how other self-published authors got started?
Thank you everyone for your answers. MrsDave and Cowboy Logic both had the best answers, IMO, so to me they tie. If I HAVE to pick one, I am going to go with Cowboy, only because it looks like I am going to go with Lulu.com. Thanks to everyone again 🙂

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Victoria

Subscribe to or pick up a writer’s magazine; they’ve got loads of tips on how to publish as well as common mistakes to avoid when submitting your work.
Good luck to you!

fread4life

I would recommend requesting a free publishing guide from Xlibris. Go to http://www.xlibris.com and fill in the form at the bottom of the left hand side. They will send you a huge envelope full of information and price quotes. You will be very pleased! Here is a little info. from their About Section that you can preview before you decide to check out the site. :::::
“Xlibris gives you the tools you need to become your own publisher. You give us your manuscript, we work with you to format it and design the cover, and then the completed file is stored digitally. Your book is added to our online bookstore as well as other popular booksellers like Amazon.com and Borders.com. When someone places an order for a copy, we have one printed up and ship it out, splitting the royalties with you. We offer hardback and trade paperback.
You retain all rights to your work and are free to take it elsewhere at any time.
Whether you’re ready to publish or are just getting started with writing, our Marketplace area can help. The Marketplace is full of in-depth articles about all aspects of the writing life, as well as a comprehensive collection of markets, contests, useful websites, and tips.
In strategic partnership with Random House, Inc.’s investment subsidiary, Random House Ventures, Xlibris will continuously offer new publishing services that open the marketplace of published books to everyone, and will strengthen and enrich the landscape of books and writing as a whole. So have a look around, see all that we have to offer, and get published.”

cheek peas

If u go down ur local library u will prob find a how-to section with the info u seek…esp if there r other self-pub authors in ur area..check too ur local community groups +/or adult ed institutes for writing groups where u may b able 2 meet other self-pubs hu can give u pointers as to reliable printers, sale outlets + the “wot 2 look out for’s” etc.
Will ur next book b a beginner’s guide:”self-help 4 self-publishers”? lol
God bless … hope it works out

Aunt Biwi

First of all, consider NOT self-publishing. The problem is not in getting a book printed, it is in getting the book distributed to stores so that people can buy them. Most book stores will not accept a book without an ISBN number. Most book stores look askance at self-published books. Most reviewers won’t review self-published books.
I am not saying that it can’t be done, but you are certainly increasing the odds against your succeeding. Now, if all you want is a few copies to give to family and friends then self-publishing is the way to go, but if you are wanting to find an audience outside of that, you need to consider approaching a reputable publishing house in correct submission format.
There are marketing sources available to you at your local library (Writer’s Market and the like) as well as online. They can tell you how to put the book into correct manuscript format, how to submit to a publishing house, etc.
Good luck.

MrsDave

Find out just how much it is going to cost you to bring your books to print .. and a time frame .. 100 books ready in 30 days etc …
Buy yourself a .com to start . you do not want to use free pages .. some do but they lack the respect level your looking for
they are pretty reasonable .. then place word of all your works on there… give yourself a good lead time this is Oct .. say you are able to launch your site by Dec… look to Valentines day to have books ready .. give yourself a nice space to promote your works
Make sure you also place affiliate programs ( amazon etc.. on your site ) it might as well help pay some of the bills eh ..
sign up for pay pal or any other payment processing you desire
In the wording about your books state : reserve your copy now
xxx amount … this is normally the base price plus alittle extra .. don’t gouge the public … the extra will go to buying extra books
promote your website every where .. if you can get reviews for your books even better … give e copies of your books to people that you know will write a review … example your stop smoking book … any one else used your methods ??? have them write about it … place those on your website …
after you have found all the info … after you have your site up .. and way before your target date … promote promote promote ..
I wish you the best
Its exciting to be an author ..

Cowboy Logic

If you don’t care about what you make on these books and you care confident they can fly at this point, find Publish America on line. They will publish almost anything. It won’t cost you anything, but if it goes big, they get all the gravy and you get a pittance.
If you want to self publish because you know it’s good and you can sell it yourself, go to http://www.lulu.com.
If you really just want to get it to the most eyes you can and that is your motivator, grab some patience, edit and polish it till it sparkles and use the contacts off Predators and Editors to find a good brick and mortar publisher that will treat it right and get it to the people.

Wolfgang

Have a look at Dan Poynters parapublishing.com. He is the guru of selfpublishing and you will find loads of information there.
To your success
Wolfgang

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