1- Do It Yourself

Read more publishing and writing tips in Andi’s Attic >>

Is the idea of submitting manuscript after manuscript for sometimes months (or years) making you feel defeated? Heads up! You can publish your own book yourself and for pennies (or free). I suggest you reread or skim this old post about the advantages and disadvantages of publishing with a royalty publisher and self publishing. Read this >>

Then come back if you want to know how to “do it yourself.”

First Things First

You need to think about a printing option. For sure, you do not want to go with a printer/publisher that tries to “sweet talk” you into publishing with them. Even if they say it will only cost you ten dollars, run the other way! Those are what used to be called “vanity” presses and they have soaked many an unsuspecting new author. I almost got sucked into one, but by God’s grace, it never went anywhere. He had other plans for my books. Now, much older and wiser, I can help you avoid any scams right from the get-go.

Amazon KDP is a good option, but they require your bank account information, as well as a W-9 form with your social security number. KDP also requires your book to be listed on Amazon.com. This last part is a new development. I used CreateSpace for many projects in the past. I could order print copies using my private account without being required to sell the books on Amazon. That all changed when CreateSpace merged with KDP. Amazon is the best option for young (or old) authors who are serious about publishing and selling their books online. Amazon has world-wide distribution. This is not the best option, however, for children or young teens who simply want to hold a book in their hands.

Lulu.com (or Lulu xpress) is another great place to create your book. You can quickly upload your interior pages, upload a cover, or you can design a cover using Lulu’s templates and connection to Canva.com.  I like this service for printing just-for-fun books for kids, or for anyone who wants their book published but is not interested in going through the legal and financial hoops of KDP. You need no bank information and no W-9s. You do not need to give them your social security number. You don’t even need an ISBN number unless you plan to list the book for sale online. Lulu xpress prints your books and mails them to you. The End.

A couple of other printers are CreateMyBooks.com and TheBookPatch.com. I have not tried these, but creating an account is free and you are not committed to using their services if you change your mind. Play around and see which book printer works best for you. Remember, however, that if any of these printers want money up front in order to use their services, delete them quickly!

Finding a good printer for your special book project is important. Before you get in a rush, check out some of these places. Create accounts and look around to see how easy the process it to create a book. There are also many other things to consider, like . . .

  • Do I want my book to be professionally edited for typos and content?
  • How do I create a cover?
  • What is a “cover flat”?
  • How do I upload my book to the printer?

We’ll talk about those next time. Happy publishing!

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

35 thoughts on “1- Do It Yourself

    1. A professional editor (like I am) usually charges by page count (though some charge per word). A standard page count contains about 250 words.
      Then, an EDIT is about $3.00/page (a page being the 250 words for each page). The editor finds all kinds of things to help the author make the story shine (run-on sentences, POV issues, character issues, timeline-issues, plus spelling and grammar). A PROOFREAD is usually done on the PDF file that is ready be uploaded AFTER the manuscript has been edited. The proofreader checks for typos and formatting but does no actual “editing.” This is usually like . . . $1.50/page.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I published my first book at the age of nine on Amazon! It’s called The Mystery of the Missing Boat, in case anyone’s interested. Back then, Amazon was CreateSpace.
    Now, I have self-published my second-ever book on Lulu! Lulu is so easy to understand, and it’s perfect for those who just want a book to sell to their family and friends. My book is titled The Children’s Home. I never knew about Lulu until I took the Zoom Writers Workshop with Mrs. Marlow!
    Anyway…while it’s cool to have a book up on AMAZON(!!!), if you know it’s nowhere near professional quality or you don’t want to wrestle with getting all the information for KDP, just publish it on Lulu. It’s a lot easier.
    Thanks for listening to my TED Talk. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Super cool!! Yeah i am still working on the same book i was during the writing class last December! Im hoping to publish it next year on LuLu!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Super cool, Cari! Mrs. Marlow, would Lulu Express(or any other of the companies you listed) print like, a thousand books? Or only how much you ask them to print(like, two dozen)?


  3. Also, if i wanted to publish a book, could i send you the story(s) so you could read them from a professional POV(I would, of course, pay you)?


    1. Well .. I don’t think you could afford me. 🤪 Editing costs a good bit of money but I’m open to discussing it. But not for several weeks, as I am already in the middle of three current editing jobs.


  4. Thx, i was just looking at my choices. No plan to publish my book until im a bit older and ready to go through with everything


  5. Can’t wait for the next post about the things you listed you would talk about next time. Is it goanna be soon?


    1. No. The books I’m offering….I just put them up…. Have no bar codes. I did them on lulu.com.
      Amazon gives you bar codes for free if you put your books up there


  6. Mrs. M., how would you compare Lulu.com with Amazon? Which is best for a very younger writer who would like to hold her own book in her hands, but also earn $$? How long does Lulu take to print and mail book compared to Amazon? If i went with Amazon, would they have the final say on everything? Do they pick the title or\and cover? Can you sell your books on your blog even though you have them up on Amazon? And what about Lulu.com?


    1. Either Lulu or Amazon (KDP) work great. You can sell your books on the Lulu site but I doubt many will find it, but it can happen. If you want to sell your book online and also buy your own print copies to resell, KDP (Amazon) is a lot less expensive, nearly by half the “author copy price” than Lulu. I would not print my Fan Fun Extras on Lulu if I could sell them on Amazon. Way less expensive to get the copies in my hand on KDP. Note: if you choose Amazon KDP, you MUST sell the books on Amazon. If you choose Lulu.com you can simply choose “private” and not sell them anywhere and just order your own copies to sell. KDP requires banking and social security information. Lulu does not require any of that (unless you sell on their site). But I was going to SELL online, I would choose Amazon, of course, since they are well known.

      Lulu takes less time to print and send your books, maybe a week less than Amazon. I’m still waiting for my Christmas Collection books from KDP (Amazon). They take at least two weeks but the lower price is worth waiting for! KDP (Amazon) has absolutely NO SAY in anything. They just print the book according to your files. They do a quality check to make sure you formatted everything correctly and that your files are printable, but other than that, YOU decide everything and it doesn’t cost anything. They do NOT edit or set prices. You set the price too. It’s great! (This is all true for Lulu.com too. YOU decide everything.)

      You can sell your books anywhere you like, and that includes your blog. Buy the author copies (usually about $2.50 – $3.00 each depending on page count) plus shipping (boo). Lulu shipping is WAY more expensive than KDP (Amazon). But Lulu offers coupons for 10%-20% and that sometimes pays for my shipping.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Oh, yes, thank you! Amazon doesn’t charge you for the printing? None at all? Or to get your own copies? And would your own copies be cheaper then the original price? What percent of the money do you get? And you can set the price? Cool! Do you have an average amount of days\weeks it would take for the Amazon to get your files and then for the book to get into your hands?
        ~A young writer


      2. They do not charge to produce your book but they do charge you to buy the books from them. They do not send them to you free!!! 🤪

        Yes. You buy them for the cost of printing then plus shipping.

        You upload everything and it takes a couple of days for KDP to approve the files and then it goes up for sale. It’s pretty fast.


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