Woman with computerHow to get your book out there in the new era of self-publishing

For many new writers, the prospect of getting published can be extremely intimidating. For starters, publishing houses will rarely accept a manuscript if you do not have a literary agent. Secondly, they may not want to publish your book if it caters to an extremely “niche” audience.

Rejection often has just as much to do with what an editor considers marketable as with the quality of the actual work. But there are other options outside the large publishing firms.

In recent years, self-publishing companies like Lulu, Xlibris and iUniverse have gained popularity and respect. These companies offer tools and services through their websites that help you publish on your own.

All three offer “publishing packages” that vary in resources, based on price. Most packages, however, include the issue of an ISBN number, a custom cover design and assure retail availability for your work through trusted companies like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders.

If you want to take an even more “indie” approach to sell your book, you can consider using a company like IndieReader. Once you’ve self-published, you can set up an account with the site for an annual fee of $99.

The company only accepts a high level of standard in the books they sell, so you can be sure that your work will be taken seriously. When a customer purchases your book through the site, you are responsible for shipping it, but you retain 75 per cent of all sales from your book each month, including the shipping fees paid by your buyers. IndieReader will even help market your book for you.

With all the different self-publishing sites on the web, finding the right one to suit your needs can be a bit overwhelming. If all else fails, try finding a self-publishing forum on the web, where you can hear others’ success stories. As a writer, you probably already know there’s nothing more powerful than research.

(Lulu.com, Xlibris.com, iUniverse.com, IndieReader.com)