At Simpson's flog, floggerette BParks of Virginia has denigrated my novels numerous times. I'm waiting -- I won't say anxiously awaiting, because I think hell will freeze over first -- but I'm waiting to see her produce a comparable counterpart to my novels. Comparable means doing basically what I do, but with her own subject matter.
1. Write the manuscript (after deciding on the genre, concocting a story, creating characters, choosing a location and setting, etc.)
2. Edit and rewrite the manuscript, as many times as necessary.
3. Submit the manuscript to critiquers and beta readers because I don't have the money to pay for professional edit. But if she has the money for that, I will consider it comparable. Judging by her comments, she would need a professional edit...
At this point, she can choose to shop the manuscript around to agents and publishers to try for getting traditionally published in an industry being radically transformed by the digital revolution.That's what I did with Storm Surge, and it was published by Desert Breeze Publishing, a royalty-paying publisher in Castaic, California. But to truly parallel my novels, she needs to self publish. To continue --
4. Do the book design (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_design) and choose a trim size.
5.Typeset the manuscript in a desktop publishing program for print. (I use a very old version of QuarkXpress, but she can use an up-to-the-minute program like In-Design or its rival, Page Plus, if she likes.)
6. Create the cover, using whatever artwork she wishes and whatever graphics editor she chooses, in the file formats specified by the publishing platform. Choose and place titles, typefaces, styles (drop shadows, etc.) and back cover text and images. Calculate the spine width based on the number of pages and type of paper. Cover art for print must be 300 dpi. btw.
7. Decide on a publishing platform. The major ones for self-publishers of paper books include CreateSpace/Book Surge (owned by Amazon.com), Lulu, Lightning Source and some others. She can research it herself, if she wishes.
BParks cannot use XLibris, AuthorHouse, iUniverse. Vantage Press, PublishAmerica or any of the other vanity/subsidy publishers. To turn out a comparable product, she has to choose a publishing platform that does POD (print on demand) book creation. (I use CreateSpace. Their process is easy, they are accommodating, and the finished product is beautiful. But BParks can choose whatever non-vanity, non-subsidy publisher she wishes.)
Decide whether to buy an ISBN (expensive) or use a free one from CreateSpace. If you use a CreateSpace ISBN, they will own your book, not you. Decide on a price and royalty rate, distribution, etc.
8. Upload the interior and cover files (converted to PDFs) to the chosen platform. Order a proof copy. Make any changes to your interior and/or cover files and upload the corrected file. Do this as many times as necessary (every time you find an error in the book).
9. Format your manuscript for e-book distribution, which is different from typesetting. You can't just upload your print-book PDF (except to those platforms that will convert it for you -- for a price). E-book file types include e-pub, mobi (for Kindle), lrf, etc. Authors can self-publish e-books through Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, Book Baby and others for distribution through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers.
10. Begin promoting by submitting free copies to book reviewers. It would help to join various author forums for help advice on this. Buy ads, if you can afford them. If not, do whatever you can at low or no cost. Create an author/book blog and/or website. Create a Facebook page for your book. Tweet about it occasionally, but not continuously.
11. Occasionally make your book free as a sales strategy (see Kindle Boards Writers' Cafe for insight into that), and be sure and let me and my readers know when it's free ... so we can see just how comparable it is to my books.
Remember the old saying. Those who can, do. Those who can't, bitch, moan, fault-find, nit-pick and nag....