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How Much Does Self Publishing Cost

How Much Does Self Publishing Cost

How Much Does Self Publishing Cost

Thinking of self publishing, but wondering how much does self publishing cost?

Like asking how long a piece of string is, self publishing costs can go from free to hundreds if not thousands of dollars.  While you will get the best results by hiring the right people to do the jobs you need, you can find some people that you can hire for a lot less.

If this is your first time self publishing I’ve laid out a list of things you’ll need.  But if think writing is going to be a long term vocation for you,  you should consider building your own team of workers and outsourcers that you can call on. Doing so will make sure your work is always at the same quality level and may work out cheaper as you’re hiring people on a regular basis.

With that out of the way let’s take a look at your self publishing expenses.

Book Cover – To sell as many book as you can you’re going to need an attractive book cover and it can cost. Depending on your budget this can go from free to hundreds of dollars.

If your budget is limited you’ll find some great book cover artists on or do use a site like for ready made book covers.  Of course you can go free and do it yourself, but I’d advise against it.  (You want to sell as many copies as you can, right?)

Book Description – After your book cover has attracted your readers eye, your book description is going to be what sells it. If your book description is limp and lacklustre, your readers may well assume that the content inside is too. Because of that you’ll need someone with copy writing or book description writing experience.

Again you can find people on here that can do it.  When shopping on Fiverr pay attention to reviews and pricing. You might find a good gig at a good price, but sometimes you need to pay well for the right person.

Book Layout – Depending on whether you’re publishing  a paperback or ebook, your books layout will be a lot different.  While you can get away with publishing a simple Word doc for creating an ebook. You will need to know how to add a working table of contents (minus page numbers) and add your front and back matter to your book. A paperback on the other hand is a lot different.

If you’re thinking of publishing a paperback you’ll need to use a paperback template (depending on book size you choose) and make sure that your book is formatted properly and looks it’s best. With experience this is easy to do, but if it’s your first time it’s best to hire someone on to do it for you.

Proof Reading/Editing- Unless you’ve got an eagle eye, one of the hardest thing you can do is proofread and edit your own work. If you trust yourself to do a thorough job, do it yourself. But if you want to make sure your work is error free, hire someone to do it for you.   You can find people here on that can do that work for you.  The price you pay will depend on the length of your book.

Book Reviews – Most readers eyes (when they’re buying a book) go through the same cycle, book cover, reviews, and book description.  Having a good book cover and description can go a long way in selling your book, but if your book has zero reviews it may make them question if it’s any good.

You’re probably the same when it comes to your buying choices. If you had to choose between two products, one with zero reviews and one with ten reviews, you’d go with the well reviewed product.  And so will your readers.

While getting reviews can be hard, and costly in some cases, you’re going to need to get them. And get them legally. Failure to do so can get your account closed down in most self publishing platforms.  While there are many websites that offer expensive book review packages (running into hundreds of dollars),  I’ve got a very inexpensive one here.

How Much Does Self Publishing Cost

How Much Does Self Publishing Cost- Other Self Publishing Costs To Be Aware Of. 

Once you’ve got your book sorted both inside and out, your next costs are going to come from marketing your book.  While it would be lovely to self publish a book and watch it race up the charts, this is real life and not a Disney movie.  Because of that you’re going to need to give your book a push to get the ball rolling.

These expenses can involve…

Free Book Promotions Services – If your book is locked into the Amazon KDP you will get 5 days to offer free copies of your book.  When this first started, these free books were guaranteed to fly off the shelves, but times have changed. If you want to boost your free downloads, you’ll have to give them a push. You’ll find service on Fiverr here that will do that.

Amazon Book Ads – Depending on your budget, you can use the Amazon ad service to boost your book sales. These ads run below the ‘also bought books’ section and can get your book in front of new readers.

Like pay per click advertising, you pay for every time your book ad is clicked, and you can budget for how much you’ll pay for each click.  But you can limit your daily budget so you’re always in charge of how much you spend each day. Depending on your niche and book, it’s not unheard of getting a 100-200% return on your money.  You can find out more here.

Facebook Ads – While now a favourite with a lot of marketers and authors, Facebook ads can be expensive.  Especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. An ad setup to target the wrong audience, with the wrong demographics can under perform and leave you with nothing to show for your money.  Because of that I’ve left this one until last in the group of ad services. It’s best if you hire someone to do this for you, it may be a little expensive to do so, but you can save a lot money in the long run.

Your Author Platform – This is  one that a lot of writers neglect in the early day but is one of the most important. While most authors have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram account, having a blog or website hub is just as important.  With those other platforms you’re limited in what you can say, do, and advertise. Your own site is a different matter.

Here you control the ad space, the content, and your list building. Meaning if anything happened on any of those platforms there’s always a place where your reader can find you. Having your own site also allows you to sell your work from it and not have to share any sales commissions with anyone else.  Website and blog hosting isn’t very expensive, (usually $10 -$15 per month, depending on size and traffic), but like your book cover this is one that’ll pay off for you long term.

Autoresponder Account – Want to know the difference between authors who make a lot of money and those that don’t? The latter have an email list of readers who they can call on.  If you don’t have one you’re building your author business without a foundation.  Here’s why you should be building one. 

Once you’ve been to that post, I know you’ll see the sense in it. The service I personally use is Mailchimp which you can get here. It’s very inexpensive and you can get your account up and running for $10 per month.  You can find out more here.

And there you have it, that’s how much does self publishing cost. While I may have left out one or two small things, if you follow the list above you’ll be well on the way to getting your self published business going.

As you’ve probably noticed a lot of the services I recommend can be got cheaply on Fiverr. While there are other outsourcing sites like that you can find people offering those services, Fiverr is an easy place for a beginner to start with and learn how to hire freelancers with very little risk.

Finally, if your budget is limited concentrate on your words, book cover, and description before you go any further and splash out on any marketing services.  If you’re book looks amateurish and not proofread, no amount of marketing will fix your low book sales.

Also if you feel that you’re weaker at key areas but better at others, hire someone to take on those chores for you.  For example, if you think you’re competent enough to proofread your book, do it yourself. If you know you couldn’t design a book cover, or write a book description to save your life, then put your money to work there.

Once you’re making some money from your work, start hiring people to take those other tasks off you leaving you free to concentrate on your writing.

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