I have embarked upon a journey of discovery; another one. I wrote previously about publishing on Amazon.com's Kindle Direct Publishing platform. I discovered that, with some effort, it could be done. And it's fine for those satisfied to see their work represented only in the electronic ether. For those for whom a book in the hand is worth more than a potentially infinite number in digital space, self-publishing is becoming the preferred alternative to endless rejections from the brick and mortar world of harried agents and risk averse publishers.
In self-publishing, one may work almost entirely on their own to create his/her book, or use one of many services to do so. I've chosen to use CreateSpace, the publishing engine of Amazon. Although there are other Do It Yourself (DIY) publishing engines, Lulu, for example, I found CreateSpace to be the most intuitively straightforward, with their step-by-step process. In addition, even for those competent enough for an all-in DIY effort, help is available. As an added benefit, the CreateSpace team will make my physical book available on Amazon.com alongside its Kindle cousin. A very detailed rundown on the CreateSpace process can be found here.
I chose CreateSpace's Total Design Freedom Standard package ($728) because I want help formatting and designing the interior of my novel, The Lion and the Sun. I read a great deal, and I know how important the right choice of typeface is, both to facilitate reading and to convey the theme of the story. Whereas your romance novel might look terrific in Emanuela, the same font would look silly in your hard-boiled, noire crime novel.
For the Total Design Freedom Standard process, I submit my manuscript as a Microsoft Word file, with the manuscript written in Times New Roman 12 pt. font. My CreateSpace project team will design the book interior using a font that they feel reflects the genre and general tenor of my novel. I filled out a questionnaire on the CreateSpace web site that provided my input on this.
I had my first consultation with a member of my design team today. Seven days from now I'll be sent a mock-up of the interior of my novel to review and approve. I'll also be sent a cover design. I was given ample opportunity to provide my ideas for the cover (see above), and will have two rounds of review before coming to a decision. After the mock-up and cover concept are settled, it will take the team 10 days to fully format the novel, and I should receive a physical copy of the book 15 days after mock-ups have been approved. After that, I have one more chance to provide feedback.
I'll document my experience using the CreateSpace service here, just in case anyone is interested in self-publishing and would be interested.