If you have the funds and want to see your book in print in a hurry, you can opt to pay for it by signing up with one of hundreds of on-line print-on-demand publishers. It used to be that self-publishing was an absolute book killer. However, it has now become fairly acceptable. I say fairly because book distributors, booksellers, reviewers and even librarians might not accept your book as an authentic work.
Also, if you want to acquire a grant for your next book, that first book would not be considered legitimate. This is unfortunate, but that’s the way it is. The benefit, however, is that you will get that first book into print and will have it to prove to the rest of the world that you are an author. If you’re one of the lucky few, your book will fly off the shelves and this of course, will look good when you pursue that next contract with a mainstream publisher.
Be aware that self-publishing with a print-on-demand or vanity publisher can cost you from $500 upwards of $2,500, depending upon the one you choose. Even if you decide to go this route, you will need to do your homework. Choose a few that you think are within your budget and will accept the genre of your writing.
Then ask questions – lots of questions. First of all, what are their fees and what do you get for that investment? Do they provide a professional editing service and will that cost you more? Be aware that some of these publishers will say your book has been edited, while it has not. Don’t believe it? It happened to a couple of other authors I know. To ensure this doesn’t happen, make sure you get a galley (copy) of what they are calling the finished work, before it goes to press so you can look at it. Do they do any pre- or post-production advertising? Do you get any free copies of your book upon publication? What is your royalty rate and so on?
Your other self-publishing option is to create your book through a site like Lulu’s. However, you will learn that there is a lot you will have to do for yourself to actually see your book make it into bookstores and/or become successful. This site does offer a free writing community though, with various forums of interest to writers.