Self-published books are not built in a day.
First you have to write the sucker. Then you need to edit it. Several times.
Then you might want beta readers to give you feedback. Then you edit it.
Then you should have a copy editor and proofreader review the book for you. Then you edit it. Often there is a cost to this. I have several very literate friends edit and proofread my books. They do it for free books or dinner. I also swap my writing services with editors. Cost me nothing but time. And I ask on social media for folks who want to edit/proof my book in return for free copies of my books.
Then you want to get an ISBN number if you are going to produce a print edition (as opposed to just an e-book). ISBNs are free in Canada. While they cost a few bucks in America, many companies that you’d publish your book with offer free ISBNs. This is something you would need to check out.
You want to make sure your book is formatted properly (free 50 minute webinar on formatting your book) for print, Kindle and Epub. Then you self-publish it, at no cost, thru Amazon KDP, Kobo Writing Life and D2D. D2D will get your book into many book retailers, so you don’t have to publish it through them. You can also use Ingram Spark, a division of Ingram, a major book distributor. Ingram Spark will get your book into many book retailers, as well (don’t use D2D and IS). There is a modest fee to use IS, plus a small annual catalog listing fee.
Of course you want to create your cover (and spine and back cover if you are producing a print book) or pay to have a designer do it for you. You can construct your book covers on many self-publishing sites at no cost. I have created some decent book covers — Family Tree – Chronic – Geri – Rebel in the Back Seat — and some that suck – Say It Right. The best book cover I created is not even for a book of mine! It was for somebody I was helping self-publish a book, Zap: Confession of a Channel Changer (Amazon.com) – Canadian version (Amazon.ca).
So there is a bit of work to do if you want to self publish your book. There is a bit of a learning curve to get started.
I’ve done it 25 times for myself and a dozen times for clients (and no, I am not trying to sell you my self-publishing services as I am retired). I have gone from butterflies before self-publish my first book, a business writing book, to kind of enjoying the process!
My cost for doing all of this? $0! (Okay, I’ve paid for some help with free books and dinners. but I have not paid out thousands or even hundreds of dollars for assistance!) Virtually no money spent. But time spent. It does take time to learn how to self-publisher your book.
I have no super powers. So if I can figure it all out, you can too–if you want to work at it. However, if you need help with certain aspects of self-publishing, pay for it. Just don’t pay a company thousands of dollars (sadly, money most people who self-publish won’t make back) when there are people out there who can help you through the process for far less. Do you research. Get quotes. Find people like I used to be–somebody who charged a reasonable rate for essential services. Use knowledgeable friends, acquaintances, relatives! And get it done: self-publish your book.
But remember: first you have to write the sucker!