WHAT DOES IT COST TO SELF-PUBLISH?
It is possible to spend next to nothing on the self-publishing process, and it is also possible to spend thousands of dollars. Looking at just the pubbing process, not the marketing, here are the basics:
1. Editing. Editors are a big expense. You can find an editor for a few hundred or spend thousands of dollars. I’ve never used one. (My critics might say I should have!) Without paying an editor, it is critical that you use resources such as beta readers and writing support groups to be sure your story line flows as it should.
2. Copy-editing. Again, expensive, but necessary. A copy editor checks grammar, writing style, and obvious errors in your storyline. I paid my last one about $500. You may find one less expensive, but quality matters. Get a good one. This is not a step to scrimp on. Once more, if you cannot afford one, join a critique group or share with other authors of your genre.
3. Proofing. I do know an author who does her own proofing, but she was an English teacher in her first career and is a rare exception to this rule. It is hard to see your own mistakes, and readers are not forgiving of more than a few errors in a novel.
Some copy editors will do a second run-through, doing the final proofing as part of their fee. The thing about doing it that way is the two processes will be consistent, but the drawback is a second person as proofer may find things your copyeditor missed.
4. Formatting. I keep vowing to learn how to do this, but formatting
your own work is a skill requiring a lot of patience. Not my strong suit! To have both versions of a book formatted, eBook and printbook, costs about $300. There are formatters out there who charge less, but the good ones are booked months in advance. This is one step where you can save money by taking the time and effort to do it yourself.
5. Cover art. This is another expense that is possible to do yourself
if you have a good eye for graphics. There is software out there to make the job easier and many sites that sell premade covers. A good cover artist will charge about $5OO for doing both your ebook and print book covers. You can find some that are cheaper and do a good job. And you can spend thousands of dollars. If you keep it simple, it’s possible to do it yourself, and if money is a concern this will be a skill, like formatting, that is worth developing.
6. Putting an eBook on Amazon. This step is free!
7. Print book copies. If you use a print-on-demand service, you will pay for just the books you need. Createspace, an Amazon affiliate, is the most popular because it syncs with Amazon. The cost will vary on the length of the book, but an average novel will be about $6.oo a copy plus postage.
8. All-inclusive services There are places that will do the whole package for you for a lump sum. My spouse used one for his print book and was very satisfied. He paid about 1k, but I think generally they run more than that. The upside of this is that you only deal with one person, simplifying the process.
I have vowed to do my own formatting the next time I publish. There are now templates available to make the task easier and they are not all that expensive. I did find a cover artist I liked who is very reasonable, keeping my expenses for this book to a about $1,000.
One area I never skimp in is proofing. They say attorneys who represent themselves have a fool for a client, and it there is probably a similar adage for writers who do their own proofing, although I’m sure many of you will argue that point.
Good luck with your writing!