I was asked the other day about the process of self-publishing a book. As of today I have nine self-published works on the market with two of them available as audiobooks. To be honest the hardest part of self-publishing is generating the material (writing the book).
My first couple of books were on self-defense. When I finished my first one titled REFUSE TO BE A VICTIM I sent it to several publishers, all of which turned it down. It was then that I started exploring self-publishing. When I completed my first paranormal fiction book titled THE BASEMENT I did the same thing, except this time I bypassed publishers and sent it out to several literary agents, all of whom passed. It was then that I really explored self-publishing.
There are several self-publishing companies out there, I choose to use Amazon. The process is fairly straight forward and simple to complete. The only hang up I ran into was technical hiccups from time to time (which truth be told are probably my fault) and the first few times I self-published the process was very time consuming. Once I figured out what I was doing it cut that time consuming issue way down.
Cover art for your book can also be an issue. I use stock photos/art that's available at any number of online resources. If you spend some time looking you can find some that will fit the bill at a very reasonable price, or even free. Make sure that you take the time to read the license when you purchase any art/photos for use as your cover art. Once you buy the picture save it to your computer. The Amazon self-publishing system has a cover creature section that will allow you to upload the art.
Your manuscript is done the same way, you just upload it to the system and it's converted to what ever size of book you want. There are several book sizes you can chose from, my preference is 5x8. Amazon offers templates you can download so when your typing your manuscript you're putting right into a 5x8 (or whatever size you choose) format. I've also found that if you convert the document to a PDF prior to uploading to the Amazon system it works much better.
Make sure and spend some time editing your work before you toss it out there. If you can afford the cost it's never a bad idea to have a professional take a look at it. There's also several editing programs you can get. I use one called Ginger, it's not bad. Remember that there's more to editing than just making sure everything is spelled right or your grammar is correct. You want the story to make sense and flow. Have a human read it.
Another good feature of Amazon is that once you publish your book they have an option to convert it to Kindle, again very easy. I recommend doing this, it's just another revenue stream to tap into and get your work out there. Here's the best part, it's all free. Amazon collects their cut on the back end so you can get your stuff out there with little to no upfront cost(s).
In my humble opinion self-publishing is a great way to get started. Don't be afraid of it!