The way I see it self-publishing a book is much like planning and launching a business. It is very easy to spend way more than you set out to. A good self-publishing plan can help you keep your spending in check and keep your priorities where they should be. Here is a breakdown of some of the costs you can expect when self-publishing:
Beta Readers: Free – $200. You will need some willing participants besides your friends and family who will give you their honest opinion before you start the process of turning manuscript into book.
Cover Design: $200 – $1000. Unless you have graphic design experience, I wouldn’t attempt this as a DIY. I pass up so many self-pub’d books due to poor cover design.
*Proof Reader and Editor: $500 – $3000. This is a critical step! There is nothing worse than a poorly edited book. Save lots of $$ here if you happen to have a close relationship with someone who is an editor or an editor that is willing to barter with you.
ISBN: Free – $250. ISBNs are free in Canada, but must be purchased in the US. The cost is $125 for 1 ISBN or $250 for 10. You will most likely need an ISBN for your ebook and a separate one for your paper copy (Kindle books do not use ISBNs). If you are planning on releasing multiple versions or titles 10 is the way to go. Most self-publishing companies also offer a free ISBN, but they will be listed as your publisher. With your own ISBN you can choose your own publishing company name.
Author Photo: $200 – $700. If you know someone who is a photographer, great, save some money here! While a professional author photo is not required to publish a book it sure makes the back cover look great and you will need one for putting together your media kit for marketing the book down the road.
Book Listing: $25 – $300. Depending on your self-pub service they may charge a fee for your book to be made available for book sellers and online retailers.
Ebook Conversion: Free – $200. With some dedication and technical knowledge you can do this one yourself in Microsoft word. Otherwise choose a service provider that can format your ebook for you.
Book Printing: You don’t actually have to order your own books beyond your review copy but I highly recommend having some to send to reviewers and media. It’s also a good idea to include book parties in your marketing plan, and you should definitely have books on hand to sell for those. These costs vary greatly but as a basic idea you can view how Createspace determines cost per copy. You can also view aCreatespace royalty calculator.
Proof Copy: $20 – $50. Once all your files are submitted you will want a copy to go over to double and triple check for errors. You may want extra copies to enlist other to put their eyes on it to see things you may have missed.
Book Marketing and PR: $50-$20000. There are a vast amount of things you can spend money on when marketing your book. A few examples: review copies $5-$10, author website and hosting $60 – $600, book Trailer Free – $800, materials like bookmarks, postcards etc. $50+, advertisements $20+, online marketing plan $200+. A great way to keep these costs down and give your book a great head start is to start building up social media followers at least a year in advance and work on it daily, with a goal of a minimum a few thousand followers.
These are some costs that should be considered but every book is different and so will each self-publishing experience. I would recommend getting quotes from all your providers before starting out on your project.
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