My first caveat is to warn you that fiction is a thousand times more difficult to sell for unknown authors than nonfiction. The vanity presses and subsidy publishers will tell you that is not the case, but they want your money and don’t care if you ever sell a single copy. That’s the first fact. If you are considering trying to self-publish a piece of fiction it is unlikely you will ever show a profit–I know, I just broke you heart, but at least I’m being honest with you.
So what does it mean to self publish? It means that you do everything in terms of getting the book into print and marketing it. Most people are not willing to do these things. But if you’re a go-getting and don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and doing some grunt work, you can make money self-publishing non-fiction books.
Search for print-on-demand printers online and get some quotes for your book. Most will do runs as small as 25 copies, although you will pay more per unit in small quantities. They can produce books just like the trade paperbacks you find in bookstores: color laminated covers with perfect bindings.
I would suggest you look online for catalog companies which carry titles in your niche and ask them about including your title in their next mailing. Offer a 50% discount and send a cover letter, a bio page, and a sample write-up they could use in their catalog. It’s easier to do than you might think.
Go to your library and find a copy of Bacon’s Radio Directory. It lists all 10,000+ radio stations in the U.S. with data on each one. Find stations that do author interviews and call them to give them a pitch for interviewing you by phone about your book. Authors sell huge quantities of books with this method.
Strangely enough, book stores are one of the worst places for unknown authors to sell their books. Sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. Try the techniques I mentioned and you might be surprised at your results.