C is for Costs – Part 2 of the ‘Self-publishing from A to Z’ series
Today, I’m going to talk about how much it costs the author to self-produce and publish their book. I’m speaking in both, actual costs and hypotheticals. I’m only half way through the process of publishing my own novel, but I can update you on what it’s actually cost me so far. The list below is my own personal cost’s in self-publishing, you may have a completely different set of goals and costs.
- Writing your novel – Free if you fit it in the gaps of your life. My point is, if you don’t quit your day job to write, then you aren’t sacrificing any money to do the writing.
- Start a blog – I believe this is important to start before you’ve finished your novel. You can use free platforms like WordPress, or Tumblr. I’ve gone for a self-hosting wordpress platform so I have more freedom over my back-end. I used Go-daddy and took benefit of a package deal, The first 12 months cost me less than $30. I purchased a theme though, and that was an extra $60. If you choose to get some professional branding done, you will have an extra fee here, once again.
Save money here by, using free images from Flickr or Google in the ‘creative commons license’.
- Start an email list – I use Mailchimp, it’s free.
- Edit your novel – I believe it’s super important to have this done by a professional outsider, the editor I chose was also my lecturer from a writing course I completed. Her name is Ann Harth, and she’s amazing. In total, she’s looked at it once, but I will get her to look again. She charges anywhere from $120 for a mini-assessment to an amount by the hour.
Save money here by enlisting the help of your writing group or friends and family. There are apps that can help you proofread – such as Grammarly and Hemmingway.
- Design your book cover – This cost me about $5o to buy the stock images. I used Photoshop and InDesign, software I already pay a subscription for. I’ve just discovered this amazing online app called Canva. You can design kindle covers for free from templates. I’ve used it to create my in blog image. For a small fee, you can go to crowdsourcing places like Freelancer and 99 designs. Or try commissioning a private illustration from Deviant Art.
- Design the inside of your book – This will be zero costs to me as I am a Graphic Designer and have Adobe InDesign skills up my sleeve. There are great templates you can buy from The Bookdesigner Website for a small fee that use either Word or InDesign. Learning the Adobe program is a benefit I highly recommend and will save you money, in the long run.
Other costs I’m predicting:
- Launch party – I’m hoping to hire a local library room for little to no cost, or using a private room at a bar or cafe. It all depends on how much catering you want to supply etc. I’ve got an intensive launch plan in my marketing printable kit if you need guidance here.
- Merchandise (I’m going to create posters to help merchants sell my book)
- Print costs – using companies like Createspace and Lightning source. Costs here depend on how many books you want to stock for your launch, and to hand pedal to merchants
- Advertising – do you want to spend money on advertising or reviews? I’m going to try to get lots of free reviews first before I spend money on this area.
- ISBN – I think this is around $100
An important thing to remember when thinking about publishing your own books is the cost is spread over months, if not years, depending on your goals. So, instead of freaking out over the total cost, give up something small – like smoking, coffee, alcohol, and put the money in a savings account. By the time you actually need some money, you’ll have enough to spend.
So what’s the actual total for me? Well, seeing as I haven’t finished yet, this is an estimation. By the time I’m finished, I will have an e-book, a print book, a website and an i-book. I’m guessing my total costs will be $1500 to $2000. Most of that is on editing, print costs, merchandise and the launch. I hope getting an inside view of my own costs has helped you with your own publishing journey.