My new book, An Extremist for Love & Justice, is now available! It'll be up on Amazon in a day or two, and I'll link to it then, but it's better for me if you go through the publisher (CreateSpace, Amazon's self-publishing arm): https://www.createspace.com/3593257. To encourage such, here's a coupon code for $2.00 off -- Q2MVMHDY.
I thought some readers might be curious about the self-publishing process, so I'll write a bit about it here.
Self-publishing has been an interesting process. I've learned a lot by doing it, one of which is how many typos I make, and another of which is that it always pays to document your sources while you're writing rather than having to go back later and look them all up again. Being consistent about MLA or Chicago style doesn't hurt, as well. I spent more time straightening out my footnotes than I could possibly imagine. They're still not perfect, which bugs me, but eventually I just had to move on.
As for self-publishers, I looked into various self-publishing options, including iUniverse, Outskirts, XLibris, Lulu, and CreateSpace. I heard good things from colleagues about both CreateSpace and Lulu, so those are the ones I looked into more--also they were two of four that were very responsive to providing information to me, iUniverse and XLibris being the others. Lulu seemed like a good option that I'll consider in the future. They're one extreme of the options--you provide your own book in PDF form with all the layout done, including page numbers, table of contents, fleurons, and the works. You also have to provide your cover as a completed PDF file with the correct spine width, and bleed margin and so forth. My graphics capabilities are pretty weak, but they have some templates you can play with, and I created something that I think was every bit as good as what I ended up getting. They'll give you a free ISBN, you upload your files, and you're basically done. All that is free. They make a larger percentage off of each book that's printed, but there are fewer up-front costs. But you don't get much for that -- the book is available through Lulu, but to make it available elsewhere there are additional fees (although still smaller than other publishers). Honestly, now that I've gone the other route and seen it all, I can't remember what turned me off of the idea of doing it through Lulu. I know I wanted the comfort of having it be formatted for me, and felt that a less-do-it-myself approach would yield a more professional result.
Once I ruled out Lulu, I ended up going with CreateSpace, because when I added in what I wanted, all of the others seemed pretty equivalent, and I had a colleague who had a good experience with CreateSpace, and since they're connected to Amazon, I felt that would make things smoother. I wanted something that would do the interior and cover layout, would provide an ISBN, and which would make it available on Amazon and other booksellers, particularly Borders and Barnes and Noble. To get all those pieces it seemed to work out to around $500, no matter which publisher I went with. (For example, iUniverse was $599, but would've included the Kindle file; xLibris was $449 but had extremely limited templates.) So CreateSpace was as good a pick as any, to my mind. For $499 they take your file and format it according to one of several templates. The templates have less flexibility than I would like, but they worked with me to find a reasonable compromise. Then they took my picture and words and created a cover according to one of several templates again. They have templates for the front matter of the book (title page, etc.), as well to choose from, and a list of several different fleurons and fonts for the cover and interior. I thought CreateSpace would give more flexibility here than Lulu, but in the end it was about the same as the one I had created myself on Lulu. CreateSpace did throw in their distribution services, so it can be available through just about any bookstore in the country to order. Lulu had the disadvantage of not doing Kindle format, and since I have a new Kindle, I thought I would like to have it in that form. Unfortunately, the Kindle file is not part of the CreateSpace package. It's something I can add on or do myself, so I'll probably look into doing that this summer and make it available on Kindle.
The CreateSpace process took more time than I thought it would after uploading the files in early April to today when I could finally approve the physical proof (and that's without actually getting my proof copy in the mail yet--I approved it sight unseen). There were several steps along the way where I was unclear what would handle next and how long it would take. But in the end they were very responsive to my calls, and I'm happy with the final result. I would recommend them for a first-time self-publisher, based on my experience so far.