How Much Does A Self-Published Book Cost?
Asking that question is a little like asking ‘How much you would pay for a car?’
Like paying to put four wheels under you, there are a lot of options you can go for. You can go low end, to the guy that’s selling the beat-up wreck around the corner, or you can go high end, to a prestigious car dealership that sells sports cars.
A better question would be to ask, how much can I afford to self publish my book?
For example, if you don’t have any budget, then you’re either going to have to do all the work yourself, or barter to get someone to do that work for you.
So, What Goes Into A Book?
Well, if we break a book down into its separate parts, we’re looking at the content. This can be written content in the case of fiction or non-fiction, or involve coloring images, puzzles, or lined and grid pages, for planners and low content colouring and puzzle books.
Then we’ve got the outer packaging, your book cover. The more attractive and professional you can make it look the better it’s going to sell.
Then comes the one thing most beginners ignore, and that’s the marketing of their book.
With so many books being published online, no one is going to know about your book unless you make them aware of it.
This can involve wearing down digital shoe leather, (in that you reach out to sites, blogs, or groups to make them aware of your book) or you pay money to sites like Google, Facebook, or Amazon, to advertise and get your book in front of that audience.
So let’s have a closer look at all the pieces involved.
Inner Book Content
If you’re creating that inner content yourself, then the only cost to you is your time. If you’re not, then that content is going to involve some cost.
If you’re not a natural writer, or you’re worried that you won’t be able to pull off writing a fiction or non-fiction book you’re going to have to hire someone to do your writing for you. – Like the car example above, this is going to depend on how much you can afford.
You can go to a low budget site like Fiverr.com and hire someone who mightn’t have the best writing ability but is affordable, or you can go to a freelance site like Upwork.com and hire a dedicated ghostwriter that’s proved themselves a capable writer. – The cost of hiring a ghostwriter can vary due to the length of the book, and how skilled a writer you want. The better the writer, and the longer the book, the higher the cost.
That part also bypasses other costs that are involved with writing a book. Which include, planning the book (non-fiction) or creating storylines and characters (fiction). While some writers are happy enough to all the work – planning, creating storylines, themselves, you will find that the more background work they have to do, the more you’ll need to pay for that service.
Once you’ve got those words written, you may need to hire someone to proofread your work. You will find that the less you pay for a writer, the more you’ll need to pay attention to the words on the page. Weak writers, and those from non-English speaking countries, mightn’t be on par as someone that’s got a strong knowledge of the English language. – While there is a free way of doing this, by using software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, it can’t compare to someone who’s job is proofreading.
While some people make the assumption that low content books mean no cost content, the opposite is truer. If you can create content, using software or paid websites, then you can keep those costs as low as possible. If you don’t, you’ll need to buy ready-made puzzle, colouring, or planner content for your book.
While you will find some packages that cost less than twenty dollars (10-15 images per pack), it’s important to remember that others are probably also buying the same content as you are. – If you need to get any unique content made, you may consider hiring someone with graphic knowledge to do this for you.
If there’s one thing that’s going to help or hinder your book’s success, it’s going to be your book cover.
A badly written book can make sales with a great book cover. A great book on the other hand, well, it’s going to be limited by that cover. – Unless there’s a huge amount of positive reviews that convince buyers that it’s worth having.
So, your cover is as important as your interior.
Again, we’ve got the free option as in you do it yourself. Which might involve studying competiting books in your niche and trying your best to copy their design. If that sounds like something that’s beyond you, Canva.com is a great option to start with if you’re on a limited budget.
The paid option of getting a book cover can be a different matter, with prices going from less than twenty dollars, all the way up to hundreds if not thousands of dollars for someone who’s sole job is creating and designing book covers. – You’ll find the lower end of book cover costs on a site like Fiverr.com to more expensive freelancers on Upwork.com and other dedicated book design sites.
Marketing Your Book
While this part of the process comes after you’ve published your book, this is one part that most self-published authors never consider.
The earlier part, uploading your completed book to a site like Amazon’s KDP service or Draft2Digital.com is completely free (each site only takes a small percentage cut from any book sales you make to pay for its use), the latter part ‘marketing your book’ is sometimes where your expenses can add up.
Like I wrote earlier, if no one knows your book exists they no one can buy it. So it’s up to you to get the word out, either using the free option in that you do all the legwork, or you buy paid advertising to get in front of your potential audience.
While it’s possible to make some money, on self-publishing sites site like Amazon, you will find that that “freshness and recently published” halo wears off very soon. And once it does, you will find your newly released book gets pushed further down the rankings as more new books come online.
To keep sales going and a create longer income from your book it’s going to require some marketing on your behalf.
If you’re cash-strapped, and willing to do all the marketing yourself, it’s going to involve reaching out to people that already have the ear of your audience, or sites where your audience hangs out on.
So for example, if your book was a romance type book, you can use Google to find those places for you.
A simple way to do this is to use a term like ”romance book” and then add ‘blog’…’Facebook group’….’site’ to the search box.
This should give you a list of places that you can give copies of your book away to get reviewed, write articles on, or become a member of to make people aware of your book.
If you’ve got cash to spare, you can save time by buying your way there instead. This can involve buying paid ads on sites like Amazon, Facebook, Google, or buying ad space on a related website, to get in front of your buyers. – While this can seem like the easiest option, it can also be one of the costliest.
If you’ve no experience of how to set up an ad, and don’t know how to limit your cost per click or impression, it can be very easy to reach your credit card limit and only have a few sales to show for it.
So, How Much Does A Self Published Book Cost?
Although I’d love to give you a ballpark figure, the cost of self-publishing a book is going to depend a lot on you and your book. The more work you can do yourself, the lower the cost is going to be. The more you need to hire professionals to create those parts, the higher the cost will be.
If you’ve got an idea of what you can afford to lose, just in case your book isn’t successful, then that’s the best place to start.
Having a budget allows you to narrow down not only what you need to do yourself, but it gives you an idea of who you can afford to hire. And it also prevents a book spiralling out of control and becoming one you’ll never make a profit on.
If however, your book does produce an income, you can at any time, return to any of the above and hire someone with more experience to make your book even better. Which hopefully can add some more fuel to that sales fire.
Best of luck with your book!
Want to reduce your self-publishing costs? Then you probably should take a look at becoming a member of WriteCome. In the member’s area you’ll find video courses on fiction writing, self-publishing low content books, book cover design, and much, much more.