What Does It Cost to Self Publish?

Publishing 101 Step 6:

Setting Your Publishing Budget

pub101 logo 1024x3041 Setting Publishing Goals

Everything I know about publishing in a weekly step-by-step blog giving you an action plan for getting your book published!


What Does it Cost to Publish?

Empty purseThere are many different costs associated with publishing, and the bottom line really depends on how professional you want to appear, and how far and wide you want to reach for publicity. If you are publishing an eBook your costs will be less than for a print book. Costs will also change based on your marketing goals and if you decide to have books printed and marketing materials designed and printed.

As far as looking professional, usually, the more you have done by experts, the more professional you look. (Think about the difference between a selfie portrait and one taken by a photographer with lighting and setting–its the same difference with your marketing materials and your branding.)

If your goals are to sell a few hundred books and move on, you won’t need to spend as much. If your goal is to land an interview on a national talk show, you will need to spend the time and money on branding and getting lots of followers and fans so you have relevance to a national audience.

In short, the bigger your goals, the more you should invest in your publishing and promotion.

Here is a list of different considerations you will have when you determine a publishing budget:

1. Business Expenses: The costs of managing things as a self publisher. These may include items such as business incorporation and application fees, bank fees, ISBN fees, copyright registration fees, credit card fees, memberships,  classes, etc. Budget for a minimum of $500, but you may spend more depending on who you hire to help you in this area.
*If you hire a publishing coach (wink, wink), you should add those costs here too.

2. Book Production Expenses: The cost of producing your book. These costs will include editing, proofreading, layout, cover design (front and back), stock photos (if used), proofs for printers, digital book conversions, etc. Budget for a minimum of $1200, but you may spend up to $10,000 or more if you have complicated files, intricate cover designs or if you need illustrations or want interactive eBooks. You will also spend more if you choose to have a printer produce your books (for a higher quality product compared to what Amazon prints).

3. Distribution: The costs associated with getting your book into the hands of your readers. These costs will include fees like paying Amazon their cut, paying an upgrade fee to Amazon, paying a monthly fee to a national distribution and warehousing company so you can have your books sold to national retail chain bookstores, the fees you pay to paypal or other credit card processing companies. Generally, it doesn’t cost you anything upfront to distribute your  book.

4. Marketing and Promotion: The costs associated with getting people to buy your book. Here’s where the equation becomes relative. Generally the more you spend on marketing and promotion (in both time and money), the more successful you will be selling books. Items that fall into this category include business cards, postcards/bookmarks, promotional materials, press kits, book stubs, preview files, website set up and branding, social media branding, video promotional trailer, professional photograph, book onesheet, bio sheet, book launch party, and whatever other items you use to get the word out about your book. You should plan to spend at least $500 in this category, but the ceiling is limitless..

For my complete article with a Costs Chart, please follow this link.

Action Step:

Decide how much money you can set aside to publish, produce and market your book. There are many ways to save money when you publish (to help you out, Saturday’s post will have some information on where you should spend money and where you can save). Think about the goals you have for your book, the money you can spend, and the things you don’t want to skimp on (like editing, layout and cover design). Then you can figure out ways to cut your costs in other areas if you need to.

Coach’s Note: I  work with my clients on ways to save and ways to look professional with an artist’s wallet…just one of the many benefits of having a coach on your team! There are places where you want to spend your money so you can look professional, but there are some ways you can do that without breaking the bank. Every situation is different, so I can’t really go into the details here, but if you are interested in getting some help with your publishing, feel free to contact me and we can set up a free call so I can answer any questions you might have.

View the previous publishing step