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.

5 Self Publishing Mistakes You Can Avoid

Unfortunately, some people have a negative perception of self publishing. This is because some self publishing authors make detrimental mistakes that prevent their books from being taken seriously. If you want to be seen as a professional author with a successful book, be sure to avoid these five self publishing mistakes:

1)Doing the interior yourself –  You’re a writer; not a book designer.  Leave this task to the professionals and focus your time on writing and promoting your book.

2)Using a template cover –  Most readers judge a book by its cover, so having an eye-catching, quality cover that professionally represents your book is essential. Most template covers will look and feel like a cookie cutter design, even if you make small changes to it.  Invest in a professionally designed, dynamic custom cover unique to your book.

3)Editing the book yourself – No matter how great of a writer you are, you cannot edit your own work! It is too easy to miss mistakes because you are too familiar with your work. This task requires a professional.  Pay for top-notch editing services – this means using a professional editor and not your sister-in-law or next door neighbor.

4)Skipping the back cover –  Once you are ready to self publish your book,  one of the first things you’ll be asked for is your back cover synopsis and author biography. Don’t just throw something together without much thought!  Readers will look at this and determine whether or not they should buy your book.

5)Rushing – Sure, you are anxious to self publish your book, but don’t rush. Producing a quality book (one with a great cover and copyedited pages) takes time. Be patient now, and you will be glad you did once you have a book to be proud of.

There are many great self publishing success stories! You can be one of them by avoiding these mistakes.

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.

Three Types of Copyediting Services Available to Self-Published Authors

Every author needs an editor. No matter how great of a writer you are, it is impossible to review your own writing objectively. Because you know your story and writing style so well, it is too easy to overlook simple mistakes or inconsistencies. Plus, copyediting requires special skills. Copyeditors are experts in the Chicago Manual of Style (and other style manuals). They not only look for grammar and spelling when they review your manuscript, but they also make sure your manuscript meets your industry’s publishing standards. This is essential if you want your book to be taken seriously.

When hiring a copyeditor, you will need to decide what level of editing is best for your manuscript. Often the editor (or editorial staff, if you are hiring through a company) will review your manuscript and tell you which level of editing is best for your book. Before beginning this process, it is a good idea to understand the various levels available to you. Here are the three types of copyediting services available to self-published authors.

Basic Copyediting

Basic copyediting is a good choice for authors whose primary concern is correction of style and mechanics. Basic editing does not include fact checking, sentence restructuring, or suggestions to improve flow, aesthetics, or voicing. Corrections you can expect with basic editing include:

• Typographical errors

• Misspelled words

• Grammatical errors

• Punctuation

• Homophone confusion

• Style consistency

• Standardization of spelling and capitalization

• Consistency of specific or repeated references

This is the most popular level of editorial service and is appropriate for all genres.

Moderate Copyediting

Moderate editing is a good choice for authors who would like to improve the flow and aesthetics of their work as well as improve the basic style and mechanics of their manuscript. Moderate editing will usually include restructuring of awkward sentences, elimination of redundancies, and attention to inconsistencies of tone or voicing. Moderate editing often includes some fact checking, such as confirmation of brand names, proper names of historical figures or locations, etc.

This level of editing can be tailored to your particular needs or concerns. If you are not sure whether your manuscript needs moderate editing, talk to the editor or editorial staff. They can look at your manuscript and make suggestions based on common mistakes they see.

Extensive Editing

Extensive editing includes mechanical and style corrections as well as sentence restructuring, attention to aesthetics, and some fact checking. More than any other type of editing, extensive editing is custom-designed to meet the specific needs of your manuscript and your goals as an author. Extensive editing may include project development, such as tracking and critiquing story arc and character development. If your project is nonfiction, you may want your editor to give input as to the effectiveness of your organization or the strength of your arguments. Your editor may give reader commentary as well as mechanical and style corrections.

Extensive editing is often a good choice for first-time authors who have not had a chance to workshop a manuscript with a writing group. It can also be an excellent choice for authors who are too close to their subject matter to objectively assess the effectiveness of their writing – a challenge experienced by many memoir writers. Extensive editing can also be an acceptable solution if English is not your native language, in which case your manuscript may require a higher level of text polishing.

If you are interested in copyediting services, there are many ways to find great copyeditors. One option is to find out if your self-publishing company offers copyediting services. You can also search for copyeditors online, post a project listing, or ask for references.

I’d love to know, which level of copyediting do you plan to purchase for your self-published book?

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.

The Benefits of Copyediting for Self Published Authors

Every author, whether self-publishing or traditional publishing, needs an editor. Even authors who work as editors need another editor to review their manuscripts because they know their own writing too well to view it objectively. When you’re too familiar with your own work,  your eye naturally skips over typos and errors. Hiring a copyeditor ensures that all those easy to  make errors are caught.

Additionally, storytelling and expression are different skills from language mechanics. You may be a brilliant storyteller but lack expertise in formatting, punctuation, and book style: That’s where editing comes in. Your editor cleans up the details, while you focus on the creative aspects of your work.

Also, copyeditors look for more than just grammar and spelling errors. They are experts in different styles, such as Chicago style and AP style, and they look for consistency and adherence to style guidelines in your manuscript. If you want your book to be viewed as professional, it must meet the appropriate style guidelines.

When hiring a copyeditor, it is important to note that there are different levels and styles of editing. Basic copyediting is a good choice for many authors, but there are more in-depth editing services available as well. Stay tuned for my upcoming posts explaining the different levels of copyediting.

I’d love to know, why do you plan to hire a copyeditor?

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.

Self-Publishing Author: There’s a Problem with Your Book

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

Your book published. Your family and friends have bought it. You’re excited…until they call you to tell you there were so many grammatical errors in the book that it was difficult to finish reading. “Oh no, I should have paid for copyediting”. Now you run the risk of “looking” unprofessional in the author community.

Too often authors are faced with the decision to either save their pennies or invest in editing services. They decide to bypass the editing. Fast forward to publication and many authors wish they would have made the extra investment. Even if you have gone through your manuscript with a fine tooth comb and had friends or family look it over, you’re almost guaranteed to find mistakes at publication. As a matter of fact, when you pay for professional copyediting services, the editor normally still has a 5% margin for error. With that margin of error from fresh and professionally trained eyes, imagine the level of error from amateur and familiar eyes.

When asked what they would have done differently when self-publishing their book, most authors agree they would have invested more money into professional copyediting and customizing their book cover.

So, I’m sold on the need for copyediting service, what do I need to know about working with an editor? Here are a few tips/things to keep in mind when you hire an editor:

  • Proofread and spell-check your work before sending it to an editor.
  • Remember that Editors are human and many work with about a 5% margin of error.
  • There are different levels of editing intensity: basic, moderate, and extensive.
  • Basic copyediting typically catches about 70% of errors in a manuscript.
  • As a self-publishing author, don’t focus on what the editor didn’t find, but rather what WAS found.
  • Review your manuscript again after you receive it from the editor to check for errors they may have missed.

If you want to be a successful author, it is important that you take the publishing process very seriously. That includes investing extra money into creating a polished product.


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.

 

DISCUSSION: Did you have a professional edit your book? If not, do you wish you did?