Self Publishing on the “NET”

By Bryan Lambert - August 9, 2009

Pullquote TT230“Are you a writer or do you want to look like one?”  If so, then welcome to the 21st century world of self publishing!  Yes, you too can produce good quality printed works for a pittance – especially with the advent of self-publishing the internet way.  On the Internet, there are a number of self-publishing or “publish-on-demand” sites available and in this week's Tech Tip, we’ll look at some really cool things that you can do by self publishing via the Internet – the geeky way.

Make You Own Calendar, Photo Book or Print up a Family History

Making your own bit of personal memorabilia can be fun, easy and exciting.  Whether it’s a cool calendar that you hand out , a personal photo book for the coffee table or even a family history that you create with the help of (see the Tech Tip on 15 cool websites) you’ll find that self-publishing sites help walk you through the process. Not only make it as painless as possible, but offer top notch on-demand printing that looks terrific and is relatively inexpensive.  Many will even grab your Facebook, Twitter or Flickr Photos.

Sites such as have cool and creative step by step “wizards” and “creators” that walk you through making a terrific calendar or photo book that will be the envy of your friends and family.  Such self-publicizing sites are very up-front with costs (for example, for a standard calendar or a 20 page letter size photo book, on Lulu you’ll be looking at under $20). If you decide to venture into reselling your work they’ll help you with that too.  So in an afternoon, from the comfort of your living room you can design your calendar or photo book and then have it shipped to you – geeky fun for all.

Get that Novel Published (kind-of)

Four years ago, I participated in a wonderful experience of tossing together a 50,000 word novel in just one month – by participating in “National Novel Writing Month” held every November (see for details if you think you’re up to it).  Typically, if you reach the magic 50K mark, one of the self publishing sites will print out a free copy of your novel for you.  Obviously, since these are self publishing websites, any services such as editing and layout are extra, but in this modern computer age, many of us are up to that task.  The last year (November 2008) kindly stepped up to the plate to make this offer available to NaNoWriMo participants.

If you have a novel already done up, why not have a self-publisher site print up a copy for you – it’s something that you can look at for inspiration as you submit copies of it to commercial publishers for their “slush piles.” - or If you are an enterprising type, feel free to try these sites for posting/selling your work – it usually (for the most basic services) will not run you anything to have it up for sale. Self printing novels is actually pretty cheap considering how much you pay for paperbacks these days. For example, for many novels of around 100 pages – you’re looking at under $10.

Look around at what some other people have done

Despite the knock that some uninformed people may give the self-publisher businesses, you’ll be surprised at some of the really good quality items you’ll run across (and how cheap some of it is – some publishers will even let you have e-copies free).   Self-publisher websites are kind of like the “America’s Got Talent” of the writing world – you’ll never know what you discover!  True there may be some duds but you’ll be sure to run across some gems as well in the process.

Concluding words

In truth, this Tech Tip just scratches some of the cool things that you can do in the world of self-publishing.  For example, some sites allow video and musical content as well as the written word.  So get cracking and go ahead and explore this very cool, very geeky and very 21st century version of self-publishing – the Internet way.