This is why you self-publish: for money. To be perfectly clear: most self-published authors will not make any money. In fact, they'll probably lose money.
Alexandre CIt's possible to write a book while incurring very little cost (say, under a $100), and if you are willing to start out with the assumption that you are writing for free and for the fun of it, then any revenue from self-publishing will be a welcome reward. My costs were so low that I recouped everything after selling 4 or 5 books. Lulu.com gave me an ISBN (not a true ISBN per se, but every bookstore that sells my book was happy with it).
If you don't want to spend $600+ on your next cover, Marina is happy to work with you (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The more original your book is, the less the cover matters. I first contacted the professional cover designers a friend had recommended but they gave me a quote for $1200. At this point, I had no idea if I was going to sell a single book, but I wasn't ready to spend that much. After some thinking, I realized there was really no competition for my book as it was the first course of its kind, so I made my own design. There is no doubt it could be better, but it does the trick and I doubt I've lost a sale because of it.
[From Judith Meyer:] I have also read advice to seek out people who have an interest in reviewing your book and personally asking them. For example, do a Google search to find the top Amazon reviewers for your field, look at related books' reviewers, or ask bloggers who are writing about this topic. Even big companies do so; I recently got a bunch of books for learning Japanese from Tuttle Publishing with a hint that I might write a review if I wanted to.
If your book deals with a specific subject, bloggers writing about that subject are usually happy to review your new book. Take the time to research who talks about your topic and establish a rapport. Just be patient though as it can sometimes take weeks, if not months.
In other words, I think $30 is a good price for customers - that's the price I actually want the book to be. But because of this price war thing between BN.com and Amazon.com, I can set the list price to $40, let Amazon discount the book, and make some extra money.
Pricing your book is an important step. In essence, you want to be able to price it as high as possible without it hurting your sales. Make sure you think of all the ways you'll be selling your book too, as some methods will yield less profit and you obviously don't want to sell at a loss. I'd considered prices from $19.99 to $29.99 for mine. I determined that $29.99 was just high enough that it might prevent some sales, so I settled for $24.99. When the book is sold through Lulu, the profit is excellent, but since I also sell through bookstores (which tend to take 40% [generally 35% to 45%], and considering I have to have the books printed, then shipped to me, and shipped again to the retailer, this price point is absolutely necessary for me to make a profit in bookstores. I've also had to send individual books overseas and this left me with almost no profit. In conclusion, if I had priced the book lower, I might have gotten more sales, but I know other types of sales would have be unprofitable.