While I've been on book tour for Clark Howard's Living Large for the Long Haul, I've received question after question from people who say they've written a book and want to know the best way to get it published.
The answer I've given to this question has really changed over time. If there is an author in you, there can be a published work in you too. Because what being published means is a whole different game today.
There are some self-publishing companies that will print hard copies of your books on demand. So you don't have to buy hundreds of copies upfront and then struggle with trying to sell them. You can order up a much smaller batch instead.
But the much more lucrative play is e-book publishing, thanks to the popularity of Kindle and Nook e-readers. You can be publish yours electronically and get real money per book.
Did you know that two of the hottest selling books right now are 99 cent e-books? Their writers have sold a million copies of these books! That's serious money. Notice that the old price points are ancient history. Don't think about pricing your e-book at $9.99. Think 99 cents or $1.99.
If you're looking at e-publishing, Kiplinger magazine recommends sites like CreateSpace.com, Lulu.com and Smashwords.com where you can create a free e-book out of your finished manuscript. I've got other recommendations in my self-publishing guide.
The reality is you can cross that publishing bridge with no problem versus the old days when self-publishing was a $20,000 event. Now it's down to practically nothing. But you've still got to figure out how to get people to buy what you've written! That's the hard part.