Cost To Self-Publish a Book

Cost to self publish a book

You’re finally done! After many sleepless nights, a lot of effort spent on finding the right words to express your ideas – your book is ready! But there is another step: publishing.

First of all, you do not have to convince someone that your manuscript should be selected for publication. No one will ever be as excited as you are about your book. Secondly, the fact that you are your own editor gives you total control – both on costs and on profits. Instead of earning 7% up to 10% as copyright, when working with a publishing company, you can receive up to 75% of the book price. Third, you can see your book in the virtual bookstores in less than a month (and not a year, the time this process would take a regular publisher).

This advertising process is carried out according to your budget and the pursued readership target. This last stage is quite complex and costly, it involves activities that precede the publishing of a book and also a lot of work after the publication!

Where do you think the money goes? Take the next situation as an example: you want to publish a 90,000-word book. How much will you spend on self-publishing? Put in mind the next possible budget scenarios.

Self-publishing budget under $500

You can publish your own book
Developmental edit – free ( with some help from your friends, workshops, class);
Copy editing – $300 (you can get it done by a college student);
Cover Design – $30 (you can purchase cover art and do it yourself);
Book formatting and layout – free (you can use free conversion tools);
Printing – free (you can print only on demand);
ISBN – Don’t get one;
Author photo – free (you can use your Facebook profile picture );
Marketing – free (only by relying on social media, friends, and family);
Website – free (you can use free WordPress option);

If you have in mind to spend a fortune on your book publication, you can spend up to $20,000.

Developmental edit – $3,000;
Copy editing – $1,500;
Cover Design – $800;
Book formatting and layout – $1,500;
Printing – $4,000 (500 trade-paperback);
ISBN – $100;
Author photo – $400;
Kirkus Review – $425;
Google Adwords – $500;
Facebook Ads – $500;
Print advertising – $1,200;
Marketing collateral – $1,000;
Marketing consultant / PR – $2,000;
Events / launch party – $1,000;
Website – $2,000;

Most of self-published authors have an average earning of $10,000 a year. The book is considered a product, so you have to invest in the visibility and quality of your product. Even though your product is a great one, beautifully written, and with a professional presentation, you have to get it in front of everybody, not only online.

A reasonable price for smart self-publishing is about $4,000.

Developmental edit – $1,000;
Copy editing – $800;
Cover Design – $300;
Book formatting and layout – $300;
Printing – free (you can print it only when you have demand);
ISBN – $100;
Author photo – $100;
Total marketing spend – $1,000;
Website – $100 (You can use custom WordPress theme);

Depending on your luck or the friends you have, you can find great marketing help for just a couple hundred dollars. You might spend about $2,000 on a developmental edit, but you can also find a student that, for just $500 will do your final proofing.

Should the average working Joe or Jane publish their first book?

Being a writer could be your hobby, writing for yourself and some friends that like your work, or it could become your full-time job. Try to get feedback on your work and if people like your writings, go the extra mile and publish the book you have been working on for so long ! If you’re as good as you think you are, you will get back whatever you invest, if not more.

Alec Pow
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