I get asked this question a lot. If I had to put out the money that traditional publishers ask their stable of dwindling author's to put out, I would never have published my 9 books in the past five years.
Of course if you want to invest money in your cover design, editorial, and marketing services, you can but it is not necessary. I'm talking about the bare bones to get your first book out there and in the hands of readers. There is no greater feeling seeing a book you published with your name (real or pen).
Where do I start?
Of course there are companies and individuals that are going to charge you an arm and a leg for the information I'm going to impart to you, and of course I understand why. Time is money and basically that is how this industry works. Some people take one to ten years to write a book and they hope to see a return on their time invested. I'm going to show how I started without any money.
Thank God for Amazon KDP & CreateSpace.
Without them I would still be looking at the stack of rejection letters. The following things you have to have (which you already probably have or else you wouldn't be reading this.)
Microsoft word or some of the hundreds of other word processing software (there are tons)
A quiet place to write (home office, work office with the boss thinking you're actually doing your job, library, etc)
If you don't have a ten year old relative to design your cover for you, then you can use the cover creator software provided by KDP. Canva is another place for covers. And if you really want to splurge then you can go to fiverr.com and spend $5 or more for a cover. I would just be selective of who does it for you. The good news is fiverr makes sure you don't lose your money.
Now you have to write the darn book. When you're finish you have to edit it. There is plenty of free, basic software to do it. Then if you want more professional editing software you can not drink beer, or get your nails done for a month and spend $50 for it.
Format that Manuscript
What used to be a nightmare for me is now so simple. You just pick the size of the book you want to create from KDP's various templates. You just copy and paste. There are other software out that there that require a certain skill set and lots of aspirin; I don't mess with them.
Once you have your book formatted, you'll upload the manuscript to KDP, set a price, choose your royalty selection (70% or 40%), distribution market, etc., and within 24-72 hours your book will be published.
Not everyone can afford to run ad campaigns when we're first getting started so there are free ways to get the word out about your book.
1. Word of Mouth
5. email list
8. Your personal website.
9. Attending book fairs
10. Join an author group or community
If this sounds overwhelming to you and you have some money, for a fee we had Stonecastle Publications LLC can do the above for you.
Stonecastle Publications LLC
"Throwing Stones at a Glass House"