If you decide you want to go the self-publishing route, you have a number of options. The choice that has been around the longest is the subsidy publisher. You pay one of these houses an up-front fee, and they take care of everything connected with producing a finished product. Fees are per page based on the size of your book and the number of copies you want to receive. The fee includes the binding, the paper, and a stock cover. You are responsible for providing press-ready pages and a custom cover if you so choose. You must also purchase ISBNs and bar codes and review the final proofs. You can purchase extra services, including promotional help, but you are responsible for marketing the book once you receive it. Some also offer print-on-demand services in which books are printed and shipped as they are sold rather than sent to you in an agreed-upon block.
Some of these publishers will accept any manuscript as long as the author is willing to pay their fee. Others are more selective and insist on being more involved in editing and marketing the book. In these cases, they may also take a percentage of the profit from the sale of each book.
Another option is to become your own publisher. This means you have to learn and apply all the necessary technology, which can be fun but also time consuming. You are in complete control, and any profits from sales go into your pocket. However, it takes you away from what you do best — writing. Many writers don’t want the distraction of self publishing and prefer to pay someone else to do the work.
Finally, there is the option of e-publishing. This means your book is produced only in electronic form. Here you have a choice between publishers who act like mainstream publishing houses and those who are like the subsidy publishers described above. Non-subsidy publishers are selective when it comes to what they take on. When a manuscript is accepted, the publisher does all the work, but unlike print publishers, they do not give you an advance. You only make money in the form of royalties when the book sells. Subsidy publishers require payment up front just like their print counterparts, in which case you take things from there on your own. Many also offer marketing and/or promotional packages, in which case they will take a percentage of the profits as well.
If you are interested in any of the above options, I urge you to go to the web site
for an exhaustive presentation of all facets of e-publishing. My focus here is on writing and selling fiction, but Laura Ramirez has parlayed her multifaceted experience into a template for taking what you know about any subject and writing and publishing an e-book that will sell on the web. Information I gleaned from her site inspired me to create this one. It can do the same for you.