The Cost of Self Publishing

In trying to contemplate the “most asked” question by authors considering self publishing, it is difficult to narrow it down to just one question.  There are several questions that self publishing authors frequently ask. Since I only want to focus on one question in this blog post, I decided to address the common question, “How much will it cost me to self publish my book?” (Don’t worry, I’ll address the other common questions in future posts.)

Authors considering self publishing often want to know how much it will cost to publish their book. My first response: That’s a loaded question.  The answer varies greatly based on the goals and budget of each individual author.

While there is no one size fits all price for self publishing, there is some information that all authors considering self publishing should know before figuring out how much their self publishing project is going to cost:

1) It’s an investment.

You can’t think about the money you will spend on self publishing your book simply as an expense. Instead, think of it as an investment. By putting money into your project, you are creating a book that has a value and will earn a profit. Unless your goal isn’t to make money off the book (yes, some authors have goals other than earning a profit), you need to think like a business person and remember the cliché, “To make money, you must spend money.”

2) Think about what you are getting.

Rather than focusing just on the numbers, you need to think about what the money you are spending will get you. For instance, paying for a customized cover is getting you a unique cover design that will help draw readers to your book and will literally be the face of your project. After all, research shows that readers decide within eight seconds whether or not to purchase a book. Similarly, paying a copy editor will get you a clean, professional manuscript. If there is one service that I suggest all self publishing authors invest in, it is editing!

3) Plan to make a profit.

Many self publishing authors focus on how much is this going to cost them now, instead of thinking how this can make them money in the future. If your goal is to make a profit from your book, you need to create a solid marketing plan. Think of your book as a business. Would you start a business and then not advertise it?  Of course not!  So why would you publish a book and then not market and promote it?   So when you create your self publishing budget, you need to factor in the cost of marketing and promoting your book.

That said… 

In my years of experience in this industry, I would say the average cost range to self publish a marketable book is $2,500-$3,500.  This allows roughly $1,500 for a good publishing package with a custom cover design, plus $500-$1,000 for professional copyediting, plus $500-$1,500 for marketing services.  You will likely spend more on marketing and promoting the book down the road, but this provides a good snapshot of the upfront expenses.

Like I said, there is no one size fits all price. Some authors will spend more than others. The key is to look at your goals, needs, and plans when creating your budget, and don’t forget to consider the value of the investment you are making. Remember, you can’t make money, if you don’t spend money.

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.

How Much Do Illustrations Cost?

Like ghost writing or copyediting, illustrations take time and require a great deal of skill and talent. It is important to remember that illustrators must be paid fairly for their time and expertise. The price for illustrations can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. It depends on the size and complexity of your project. When considering illustrations, it is important to do some research, figure out your goals, and create a budget. Once you know your expectations, you’ll want to find an illustrator who meshes with your style. To do this, find out if your self publishing company offers illustration services and get a quote. You can also look at sites such as guru.com or elance.com to find a freelance illustrator. Be sure to always look at sample work before choosing an illustrator. There are many different styles, and you want to find an artist who matches your vision.

For more information on illustrations, check out these articles.

The Importance of Illustrations

What You Need to Know About Custom Covers

Illustrations Affect the Success of You Children’s Book

 

Cheri Breeding ABOUT CHERI BREEDING: Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.

Your Book WILL Be Judged by Its Cover

Today’s post is by publishing industry expert, Cheri Breeding.

Readers will judge your book by its cover — and quickly. Statistics show that the average person will decide to buy your book within 8 seconds of  seeing your cover. That’s an expensive piece of real estate! It helps you get noticed and is usually directly correlated to sales success.

My book is well-written and packed with intriguing content. Doesn’t that count for something? Of course, but if no one ever sees your book’s content because of a boring cover, how much will that help your sales? Have you ever heard the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? This is especially true for books. Your cover should be 10x better than the content on the inside. So, if you have AMAZING content, you must have an EXTRAORDINARY book cover.

To put it in another perspective — when you go shopping for clothes, how do you pick what to wear? Do you pick the best-looking shirt? Or, do you blindly choose a shirt off the rack irregardless of looks? If you’re like most people, you choose based on aesthetics. This example was about clothes, but books are no different. People are drawn to things they find attractive. There’s very little attraction to a Plain-Jane cover. People like to see pictures and text intertwined in a visually pleasing way. Some books can get away with text only covers, but the layout must be creative in some way to get people to read it.

If you saw the two covers below (for children’s books), which would you choose to find out more about?

One Wacky Wasp book cover

If you’re like most people, you chose the top book. Don’t you see just how important a “pretty” cover is to your book sales?

A professionally-designed cover is important for online sales, but even more important if you plan to “sell” your book to the brick-and-mortar booksellers. A buyer will also apply the 8 second rule to your book before making the decision to purchase it. They see many books every day. If yours doesn’t stand out, they likely won’t be interested.

Getting a custom cover design is expensive! What if I can’t afford to pay for it? Maybe now is not the best time to publish your book. Continue saving and set aside enough money to do it right the first time. That way, you won’t have any regrets later. Think of your cover design as an early investment in your book promotion strategy as a lame design can affect the overall “saleability” of the book.

DISCUSSION: Did you pass on a professionally designed book cover? How do you think you think your sales have been affected?

Cheri Breeding ABOUT CHERI BREEDING:
Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.