How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

Many authors ask, “How much does it cost to self-publish a book?” The question should be “How much should an author invest in their project based on their marketing goals?” Most authors self-publish in hopes of selling their book, but not every author has the same goals. It is important to consider your definition of success.

If earning money from your book is a priority, a solid marketing plan, in addition to an appealing book and quality content, is essential to selling to your book.

I always recommend professional copyediting and a custom cover to all authors who are serious about sales. Potential buyers typically spend approximately eight seconds deciding if they like the cover enough to consider purchasing the book. Therefore, the cover needs to be unique and eye-catching. In addition, nothing will “kill” a sale faster than a manuscript that is riddled with typographical errors or bad grammar. This is especially important for non-fiction books that are positioning the author as a credible expert.

Self-publishing should be looked at from a business perspective. All businesses must budget for advertising.  I typically estimate that $2,500.00 is the average self-publishing budget. In this estimate, I have allotted $1,500.00 to the actual production of the book.  The additional $1,000.00 should be used for marketing services. The cost for professional copyediting is not included in this amount, but I do recommend investing in professional copyediting.

 Although many people spend more or less than this amount, I believe this is a good estimate for self-publishing authors. However, it comes down to each individual’s goals and reason for publishing. For more advice on creating your self-publishing budget, contact your self-publishing company.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

4 thoughts on “How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

    1. The $1,500 estimate typically includes professional interior formatting of your book, a professionally designed custom cover, obtaining an ISBN, the set-up of your print files with a printer, establishing the distribution chain through wholesalers and online retails, creation of an author webpage and the publisher will handle order fulfillment and shipping and the payment of royalties to you.

  1. When it comes to publishing a book there are a lot of great tips out there as to go about doing so, but when it comes to self publishing sometimes there isn’t as much info regarding the financials of it. It’s a breath of fresh air to see posts like this with insight in to that side of the self publishing world. I’m helping a friend research self publishing and he told me about a book on the market called “Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook” by Helen Sedwick, Seems to fall right in line with this topic and might be beneficial to others. Thanks for the post, will pass it along to my buddy.

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