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 Tis pleasant,sure, to see one's name in print;  a book's a book, although there's nothing in it.         Byron

For the experiences of a novice,  see 'A first foray into writing and publishing'  by Hugh Cochran. 

Rachel Attwell writes:  "It is very difficult to get original work published whether fiction or non-fiction.  It can be very frustrating and disappointing to have your manuscript rejected over and over again. However, if you are persistent there are successes and you can, of course, publish your book yourself. 
If you want your book published in the conventional way, it is worth trying to get yourself a literary agent. The annually updated Guide to Literary Agents lists them. They will do the hard work for you, but you will have to negotiate a fee at some point.  But remember that honest literary agents should not charge reading fees. 
There are online sites that claim they will assess your work and contact publishers on your behalf. They include:
http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/index.asp  – promises to give a full critical report for free.
If you cannot persuade an established publisher to print your work, then you can publish yourself. But beware – there are some less than honest companies out there, and if you can get a recommendation from someone you know who has done this - that would be best.  

If you  are thinking of becoming a freelance publisher or writer you may be interested to see a comprehensive guide to business and taxes. One of our users, Jackson Hille, together with his college mentor  Justin Gomer, a Lecturer at UC Berkeley, have  developed two guides to help out freelancers during the tax season and throughout the business year. Here is their finished work:


Among those advertising their wares on the webs are:
There is a Self-Publishing Magazine from publishers Troubadour. They invite you to sample a free copy before subscribing. www.selfpublishingmagazine.co.uk
Also a useful list of contacts and publications are listed on www.author-network.com
And if you want to get an honest assessment of your skills it might be worth joining a creative writing course first.   See http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/a215.htm  
http://www.escargot-books.com/  Escargot is 'an author powered e-publishing company - an independent company dedicated to the artist and the art of writing'. From their new website you can download books direct onto a kindle, i-pad or computer. Maybe they can cut your publishing costs!  
If you are into e-publishing and want to include a video clip, see thousands of these, mainly rights free, at www.bbcmotiongallery.com