How can you get your book published in just hours or days-free?
First, you must write the book!
Since your book will be produced by a professional, no-nonsense publisher, the insides and the cover will have to look like other bookstore books. To do that, find the book you most want yours to look like and use its layout as your model. Take your computer copy and convert it into regular book format, including a volta face page (behind the inside title page), a table of contents, chapters, and an index. Then get it mercilessly proofed.
Do you need a cover? Yep, but you have choices: (1) have a designer (or you) create a cover file or (2) use the software provided free by the bound book publishers. Digital books only need a front image-mostly your title and name-since that usually appears as a thumbnail choice in a website catalog.
And must you provide one of those pesky 13-digit ISBN numbers you see on the bar code on the back? No. The publishers will provide the number and the bar code. That saves you $225 since you must buy ten at once!
Who wants your literary gem? Six houses are eager to put your words in print in about a week (if it's a bound book) or in minutes (if it's an e-book). Lulu will produce your book in both formats, CreateSpace and Blurb are bound book publishers, and Kindle, Smashwords, and Scribd seek digital books.
The process? Each publisher has its own step-by-step submission process at their website, but it boils down to you having to create your book on your own computer, then submitting it in a ready-to-go file so the publisher can convert it into ink on paper, which you will approve, and they will print, bind, adhere to the cover, trim, and sell. You will also submit a cover or front image file.
The most extraordinary part of all this revolutionary new "deal"? The cost. It's absolutely free if your book is digital, or if your book is bound it costs you just the shipping costs for the proof (figure $20).
Why would any company print your memoirs, novel, nonfiction how-to, children's book, or a cookbook (or scores of other kinds of books)-essentially free? Because they will keep part of the sales income-and hope you if you have a huge buying family or a rich, curious fan club!
If you did all of the publishing yourself, you might end up with profits of 25% (even 40% if it was a niche book and was pre-tested)-after you'd paid all the printing expenses first. That presumes you have the publishing savvy. Here, these publishers pay you an average of about 35% of the income, and some of the digital books will earn you (in 90 days) as much as 85%!
A final bonus bumper. You can publish your book through one, two, or all six publishers simultaneously. Proof? I just did it for the second time, which you can follow, publisher by publisher, at my blog (see entries from April 7-13).
Major drawback? The jury's out on the profitability since the process is so new.