A lot of people have been impressed by the layout quality and overall look of my book, Demon's Bane. Several authors expressed interest in the self-publishing methods I used.

So... I'll be writing a series of articles about how to duplicate my results, using open-source software whenever possible. I also recommend going directly to the leading Print-On-Demand supplier: Lightning Source.

The benefits of printing via LS instead of using a "middleman" like Lulu, iUniverse, and Booksurge/Createspace (Amazon) are clear. If you do all the work, you get a higher cut of the sale price. Lulu, in fact, uses Lightning Source as their printer - they just do a bit of the production work on your book, and of course take a cut.

Now, here's what you'll be doing by yourself if you publish via Lightning Source, so you can judge whether your computer skills are up to the task! I'll be adding new articles one by one, so look back here (or subscribe to the newsletter) to be notified about new ones.

Total cost (not including software):
$275 for 10 ISBN numbers through Bowker in the US
$112 fees for Lightning Source (cover+interior processing, proof, 1-year listing fee)
$15 subscription (monthly fee), though I did not test this method
$402 total

You may have higher costs if you buy software, make a mistake in your proof ($30 + possibly re-processing fees for LS to load your new files), etc. However, when you look at the high costs of many POD "author services" companies, or how little royalty you get from them, it could be worth it for you. When I check with their POD option sold through Amazon, my profit per book at $11.95 list price is -$0.13. That's right, I'd have to pay them to sell it. I could pay $39 to upgrade to a Pro account and get a whopping $2.84/book, but with Lightning Source I get a couple dollars more than that. PLUS Amazon sells my LS book at a 10% discount already (at no cost to me).