Next you need to decide how you want to self-publish. There are two options: use an online publishing site, or go entirely on your own. Many authors go straight for the easy option of online 'free' publishing services from the likes of www.lulu.com. You simply upload your text and pay the site a premium, and – eventually – it will pop up on their website for purchase.

Personally speaking, however, I don't like the lack of creative control offered by sites like these. In the case of my book, I already knew the cover design I wanted, and online sites can force you to use stock cover images and fonts. You may also be restricted in terms of which printer they use, the standards of cover and main text paper stock and, most importantly, the fonts used for the main text.

Lulu

ONLINE PUBLISHING: Services like Lulu take a lot of the hassle out of publishing, but they also restrict your options

The size and style of the font you choose can have a dramatic impact on the overall feel and tone of your book, and if you pick the wrong combination, it can put off prospective readers. The decision of whether to buy a book often comes down to subconscious factors; readers will flick through your book and then put it straight back down if they don't like the look of it.

Then there's the financial cut that these sites take. Lulu takes 20 per cent. In my case, if I hadn't wanted to publish my book at a loss, I would have had to set a retail price of around £18. I felt that people were unlikely to pay £18 for a self-published novel, and a paperback at that. So in the end I decided to get my book designed and printed independently, and then publish it myself.