This weekend will be the tenth anniversary of the first time I finished writing my manuscript. It sucked then, but I had no idea. I thought it was a victory. I'd overcome my demons and turned them into something that would help someone else overcome theirs, or at least help a loved one understand. And so I set out on a journey to get it out there to all the someones and the people who love them.
I committed rookie author sins. I submitted my 38,287 word first draft manuscript to agents. My query letters were embarrassing. Worst of all, I didn't really know yet what I had to say.
Then, I started to learn. I took classes and workshops, attended conferences and critique groups, and I read books and blogs. Your blog is one of my favorites. Also, through following you, I met others whose help was invaluable. But in submitting to you, I was given something even more precious. You answered me. Not a form rejection, but an answer. With you, I felt heard. Your rejection was fair, so please don't fear I'm asking you to do consider my work again. You've also been very generous in answering questions. For all of this, I sincerely thank you.
If I may be so bold to trouble you one more time, this silly anniversary has prompted one last question. As I worked over the years, I also prayed for the words God wanted someone to see. Now, despite the constant rejections I receive, I feel a responsibility to get my work to the right eyes. My story is finally ready. Following a professional edit, I'd like to self-publish. I'm not a career writer, nor do I expect to make any money through this venture. I can't, however, afford to make books on my own.
Are you aware of a way in which I could have books printed and sold at cost?
Maybe I'm being foolish. Perhaps sharing this victory is what I need to make it real. I don't know, but I have to do something.
You're not being foolish, and it's not a silly anniversary.
You tried something new, and persevered to get better at it.
That's something to celebrate.
And if anyone says anything to you disparaging your accomplishment, punch them in the nose. Well ok, maybe just a pithy retort will do. Something akin to "even your dog knows you stink."
But on to your question.
There is indeed a way to have books printed and sold at cost. But that's not what you want to do. You want to self-publish and use POD. I don't know how to do this, but a lot of other people do. You can sell your books on Amazon, and you can have a buy button on your website.
Do what you did when you researching trade publishing: google, find people who know what they're talking about, ask questions and listen to the answers.
And when you publish your book, let me know. I like to support writers, even the ones I don't represent.