Doing it yourself is liberating and sometimes the only way to get your work published. Why wait until after you’re too rich to care or too dead to mail your manuscript any more? Technology, that miracle cure for everything, has come up with the means to make printing books affordable in very small runs. Lulu is one enterprising company that will do this for you for a fairly reasonable fee if you’re willing to put some work into it (nothing is without difficulties). Other (often called) Vanity Presses are available too. Here are some I’ve looked at: Xlibris, dog ear Publishing, Author House and iUniverse. These companies will be happy to do more than just print your book. Some extras include: an ISBN, promotion through Amazon or Google or other publishers, colour, professional help editing and a trained artist to do your cover. Bottom line: everything costs and you should decide what it is you want and then shop around to see what you are going to get for your buck.
If you’ve edited your own work, know a reasonable amount about your word processing software and can come up with your own artwork the cheapest solution that I’ve seen so far is Lulu. No matter what you choose (unless you have money to burn) you will need to spend some time matching your software to the templates any of these company offers.
If you want to do it on the cheap without all the extras you can publish one copy of a book at Lulu.com. I looked at a 300 page, bound pocket paperback, fully B&W and 10.795 cm x 17.463 cm (4.25 in x 6.87 in). Their manufacturing cost: US$10.53. Of course, there’s likely to be some extras for tax and shipping but those would depend on what your final product is.
I did read an article in The Globe by Ivor Tossell where he used Lulu to get a 200 page paperback printed in a week for $12 + $20 courier.
So it’s all doable. What are you waiting for?
I know why I’m waiting. There’s that crucial lack of a final draft. That I have to do on my own and by the time I’m done maybe the barriers to self publishing will be even less!