After completing my first draft of the non-fiction book now titled Humanism for Parents and releasing it for review, I started looking around at how to publish it. Since the intent was to learn about the publishing industry and I didn't want the hassle, or filters, of an agent, editor, and traditional publisher, I decided to self publish.
Self publishers had been around for a while at that point and were just starting to mature. There are different business models and some of them seemed more like a scam than anything realistic. Generally if they wanted me to pay a lot up-front, I avoided them. There are some very respectable services that do require some amount up-front, but then there is a corresponding gain in the lower print rates (so you make more on each book, but have to pay something up-front to even get started). Some of those that charge up-front also include services (e.g. editing, cover design, etc.) that account for that cost.
However, I really wanted to do it myself and I didn't want to pay much, if anything, up-front. So, I selected Lulu.com. They charge nothing up-front and you are allowed to edit the book and make changes as much as you want (up to actually releasing it for the public). They also offered a number of services that I didn't use and some I did. For example, I really liked their publishing packages that include an ISBN number and releasing the book to the major distribution channels like Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Google Books, and others. They also have international distribution options.
All-in-all, it worked out quite well. The one downside of this route is that the book cost is kind of high and there aren't a lot of options for discounts. The Humanism for Parents book ended up just under a hundred pages and cost about $12. I was able to buy books for my own distribution at a significant discount - in bulk it was down at the $4 range.
So, I ended up publishing this one to the public and it continues to sell some each month. I also published a genealogy book and a book of letters to my kids, both of which were private publications. I highly recommend this type of publishing in certain circumstances.