If you’re only interested in publishing your own book for distribution among family and friends, asking one of them to check your manuscript for typos and other small problems may be sufficient. Another option would be to check at a nearby college or university for an English major or journalism major who would be willing to edit your book, either for the experience or for a small fee. A niece or nephew with an interest in art could help with the cover design. There would be no need for marketing. In such a case, your budget would only need to stretch far enough to cover the cost of paper, ink and binding materials.
Hiring a marketing specialist with Internet experience can help you get your book publicized to the world. Marketing specialists, like editors, don’t have to be hired full-time to get the job done, and they also are easy to find online. Many work on a contract basis, perhaps putting in a few hours of work a week to publicize your book over the course of a few months. In addition to contacting bookstores — especially independent stores that may be more open to supporting a local author — to see if they’d be interested in carrying your book for sale, a marketing specialist can design a website to get your book publicized online.
A graphic designer can handle the cover art when you’re publishing your own book. Graphic designers who specialize in books also can design your page layout, headers and footers, and chapter titles and fonts. They also can be found to work on a per-job basis.
Recent innovations in print-on-demand (POD) options have brought book printing within reach of authors who previously could not afford to print their own books. Other innovations in self-publishing include e-books, which may be as simple as a PDF file that's available for download from a website, or as complex as electronic versions of your book that are created for reading on a variety of platforms. Newer devices for the home office, such as high-speed high-resolution printers and other desktop publishing equipment and software, have made self-publishing easier and more affordable for first-time authors who want to handle their own publishing.
For more on publishing, check out our publishing page.