(NOTE: This post about self publishing costs originally appeared on a now-defunct niche site…this link is here only for Google purposes!)
Self publishing costs are all over the map, and it’s time to shed some light on the truth. It can truly be as expensive or as cheap as you’d like to make it. You could put out a book and invest very little in it, and do quite well. On the flip side, you could drop a mortgage payment on an editor and it could flunk.
As always when it comes to making money online, just trying is the only way to find out.
With that being said, my personal experience with self publishing costs tend to skew towards the lower-end. I like to invest in a quality editor and an excellent cover, and go from there. Let’s start at the bottom. Let’s assume you’re writing a 25,000 word book–that’ll be just shy of 100 pages on an Amazon Kindle.
The Obvious Self Publishing Costs—Your TIME!
Time is money, no doubt about it. It’s going to cost you a significant amount of time to pen a book, so factor that in. All of those hours and drafting something are going to come out to an hourly wage. Sure, it’ll be a passive income source. A good book will make you money for a very long period of time.
There are options though if you don’t like the idea of sacrificing your time. You can hire a ghostwriter, or just pay someone outright to write the entire book. Of course, then it’s not your work.
A better option is to test the market and make sure that there is a demand for your idea before you start investing hours into writing your manuscript. Write the first introductory chapter, then give it away as a blog freebie. If you don’t have a blog, then build a landing page with something like Thrive Themes and buy some traffic. If you get signups from 20% of people, you can probably make a good assumption there will at least be a cursory interest in the product.
Don’t invest tons of time into something people don’t want to even buy, or even have a faint interest in. This is the biggest waste of self publishing costs.
What Should You Pay for an Editor?
I’d say it really depends on how long your book is going to be. A novel, yeah—you better higher a damn good editor, and you’re going to pay the price. If it’s a shorter book, you could consider hiring a freelancer off of UpWork or Fiverr to do the work. Just make sure you go over your book with a fine tooth comb yourself.
YES, you must use an editor. No exceptions about it. You’re always going to miss your own mistakes. Nobody is perfect, and if you’re publishing a book you best get it right.
Reasonably, you can probably get a native English-speaking freelancer to editor 25,000 words for about $100 on the freelance sites. The best thing is to pay them first to edit one or two chapters.
See how good their work is.
If it sucks, consider it an investment and try again with another. If the work is good, work a deal with them for the remaining chapters.
TOTAL: $100 for a short book.
Self Publishing Costs—A Stunning Cover
And yes, it needs to be stunning. It’s the first thing people say. It will decide if they stay to read your sales pitch or just click away. Invest in a decent cover. In many cases, a freelancer will be okay. However, you should expect to pay about $75-$100 for a decent cover.
Take a look at what the top-selling books use for covers.
They need to contrast well, have a readable font, and draw people in. You don’t want to look like every other generic cover out there, so invest well in this.
TOTAL: $75, minimum.
What Else Goes Into Self Publishing Costs?
That’s the beauty of self publishing—that’s about it, really. If you need someone to format it for different types, that will cost you. However, if you invest in the right software, you can do it pretty easily yourself.
As you can see, you’d be looking at less than $250 to get a book out to the public. Assuming you can make $5 off each copy sold, that’s only 50 copies sold to break even. If you enroll it in Amazon and manage to talk a few people into buying it, Amazon will do the rest. Remember, they reward books that sell and have verified reviews.
The cost of self publishing doesn’t have to break your bank; a common concern for starving artists. It’s changed the game, and now you just have to play.
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