It's been a mere THREE DAYS since I set out to find out how authors get published, and I have decided that the entire publishing industry is barking mad. What's more I've had my opinion confirmed by an insider. It really is just that stupid. So I brushed up my arrogance, polished my hubris to a bright sheen, and decided to shake the dust of this publishing industry from my sandals. I would do it without them.
For the rest of this blog, I'll try to use the common term "self-publishing company" to talk about what is really a "Company that has services that a self-publishing author might want to take advantage of". It's kind of a weird term at face value, but it's the term everyone uses. So be it.
The first two companies I looked at were lulu.com and blurb.com. Both were recommended to me by friends-of-friends. Both seemed to offer similar services.
The rules of self-publishing are pretty straightforward: you get what you pay for. Now that is a concept I was familiar with. I may not know anything about what I wanted to buy or how much it should cost, but at least I could buy it today if I did.
At bargain basement end of self publishing, you have "Go to Kinkos, make a copy of your book, sell it off a table at a flea market". Congratulations, you're a published author. This you can do without help. Since you get no help, the self-publishing industry is kind enough not to charge you anything. See? Fair.
Lulu and Blurb seemed to offer similar services: on-demand printing services at competitive prices. (looked like the print-cost of my book would be in the $6 area) With the first print purchase, there are some freebies: they would convert my manuscript to ebook format, list it on the various e-sites that host eBooks, etc. Things like ISBNs and getting a professional editor to read over your work (and make suggestions) were extra. Fair enough.