Do I really need to spend so much money to independently publish my book? The answer depends on what you hope to achieve and how much work you're willing to put into it. Technically, becoming a small publishing company—an author-publisher—is easy.

You choose a publisher name and open a bank account, and if your state has a Home Occupation License requirement you file for one. In practice, however, it's not so simple. You can get the services of self publishing book whenever required.

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So let's take a closer look: What are the additional steps you need to take before bringing your book into the world?

Self-publishing vs. print-on-demand. Before doing anything else, draw up a reality-check production budget. This will help you decide whether you have the money to independently self-publish your book.

If you do not have enough, going with a cheaper print-on-demand (POD) firm might be your best option. To get a clear picture of your budget requirements, create a self-publishing checklist that includes the following items:

Advantages of self-publishing. While independent publishing can be costly, there are advantages that make it worth the money. First and perhaps most important, you maintain control over your work both creatively and from a business standpoint.

Second, at the right price, you can have a professionally produced book, not a homemade-looking one that paints you as an amateur to booksellers.

And third, today there is, fortunately, a great deal of business and creative support for small presses and self-publishers. So with a good strategic marketing plan (both online and off), the potential for profit is real.