My Self-Publishing Journal | The Cost

Since my last Journal Entry, I’ve finished the first draft of Where the Carnies Are, gone over it to edit for myself, and sent it off to my editor and then my proofreader. Some people are interested in knowing exactly what it costs to self publish. So, today, I’m outlining what it is costing me.

  • Copy editor: $150
  • Proofreader: $100
  • Cover Design: $29 (I did this myself. The cost is from buying stock photos that I didn’t even use, but will likely use for ads and promotions.)
  • Formatter: $150
  • ISBN numbers: $250 (This is not a mandatory cost, because you can get free ones through Createspace and Smashwords, but it is recommended for better discoverability and the ability to manage your title information. You get 10 at this price.)
  • Copyright Registration: $35 (Again not mandatory, but recommended.)

The grand total is $714. That’s actually not too bad compared to what some people pay, but it is still a good chunk of money. Your goal is to make that money back in sales. Do you think you can do it? That is what you need to ask yourself before jumping in head first.

Some costs not included, that you may also want to consider:

  • Advertising once it is published.
  • Print copies to sell and giveaway. (I’m rounding up to $10 per book, so if you want 10 copies it might cost you around $100.)
  • Possible blog tours or other marketing costs in the future.
  • Swag for giveaways.

Now, some people spend more on their books and some people spend less. I just wanted to give you a bit of an overview if you are thinking of self publishing. My first and second books, Obsidian and Moonstone were not/won’t be self published and therefore I did not have to worry about any of this. However, without delving too much into the subject of traditional vs. self-publishing, You have much more control over your work when you self-publish. That control, as you can see, comes at a price.

Since we’re talking about money, I would also like to mention that making money back on your investment is the most important part of all this. Let’s see how many ebooks I will have to sell through Amazon to make my money back. I’m planning on pricing the ebook at $2.99. That price will put it into the 70% bracket–meaning I get 70% of the sales and Amazon gets the rest. For each book I will make about $2.09. Let’s just round that down to $2 for ease. That means I need to sell 357 ebooks, just to make my money back.

If you can make your money back in a timely fashion, then you should be able to afford to publish your next book!

As for me, I am lucky that I am able to pay for these things. The excitement of being in control of every detail is amazing and I can’t wait to release my creation to the world while being able to say, “Yeah, I did that.”

For those of you who can’t afford to pay for all this stuff, I hope this gives you an idea for what you might need to raise when doing a crowd funding campaign. PubSlush is for books only and would be a great place for you to try to raise money for your book.


7 thoughts on “My Self-Publishing Journal | The Cost

  1. Very interesting. I think your copy and proof editing costs were very reasonable. I am in the process of wondering about self pub as well. Would love to know who you used for editing.

  2. In addition to the costs of marketing and advertising, you also need to take into consideration the amount of time that you will need to invest in these initiatives. Proper book promotion takes a lot of time, which you must be ready for. Very few authors “take off” and are viral successes right off the bat.

    • Yes, I agree. I already have one book out and multiple short stories. Marketing does take a lot of time and energy. Sometimes it has very little effect and other times it is successful. As a work-from-home mom, I am blessed with the ability to be on the ball with marketing, social media and other things throughout the day. It takes a lot of time and effort to get books off the ground.

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