You can do it with all the equipment you are currently using at this very moment.
That’s right, just a computer, an internet connection, your brain, and your fingers. Let’s say you have a manuscript. It could be a novel, non fiction, book of poems, biography, cookbook, or whatever. If it’s polished and ready to see the light of day, you already have everything you need!
How can you do this without fancy software or paying publishing fees? Read on.
If you have your text ready, the first thing you will want to do is format it and make sure it includes all the bits you need. Author’s note, copyright, acknowledgements, etc etc. That’s not bad. Then you need to be able to convert it to PDF. One free software program can do all that and it’s called LibreOffice. It’s available for free, and works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Just gGoogleit!
Many self publishing places want you to put your book in 6 by 9 inch format. That’s easy to do with Libre Office, you can set up the page size so it will automatically be in that size. And when you have your file exactly the way you want it, you can convert it to PDF through the “export to PDF” in the file menu. PDF format is good because it makes sure the book prints out exactly the way you have it set up.
But what about the cover? If you have some artistic or creative talent, you can do it in GIMP, another free program that works for Windows, Linux, or Mac. When you are done setting up the titling and everything, it will also export to PDF format.
Don’t want to draw your own cover? No problem, both of my favorite print on demand sites have a cover wizard that help you make a nice looking cover with very little work.
My favorite print on demand sites are CreateSpace and Lulu. Both support print on demand and ebook options. CreateSpace takes a bigger cut of the profits than Lulu does, but at the same time it gives you much wider distribution options. Both places will assign you an ISBN and let you keep all your own rights in case you should make it big. And neither charges anything for basic set up, they only make money if you sell a book. How much you need to charge to make a profit will depend on how many pages your book is.
My own novel, that I published last year, is 250 pages that are 6 by 9 inches in size. If I charge $14.99 for my book I make just over $5 in profit. That may not sound like much, but it’s a lot better than most authors get with traditional publishing. The Kindle edition makes me more, as I get about $4 per book if I charge $5.99. I like that anyway, because ebooks are great! If anyone would like to see my book, they can search “The Dice of Fate” in the CreateSpace or Kindle eStore.
So there you have it. I published my book and I didn’t pay a cent, and you can do it too.