How much does it cost to self-publish a novel?
I recently decided I would like to self-publish my current novel project and have been considering all of the hard work that will go into such an endeavor. For example, I am an excellent editor. However, if I want readers to spend their hard-earned money on my product, then I need to hire someone to come along behind me and clean up any errors I might miss. Who knows why it is easier to spot mistakes in someone else’s work than in your own, but it is. So an editor I must hire.
I will probably need to hire a few other people as well. I could probably figure out how to format my own book. But again, I want it done right. If I can find someone to do it properly, I will likely save my readers a great deal of irritation on the back end. One thing I have no confidence that I will ever be able to do is design a captivating book cover. The sad fact is, readers often judge books by their covers. Yes, I need to hire a professional book cover designer.
Bottom line? If I want to do this right, then I am going to need to hire some outside help. The instructor of the self-publishing seminar I attended Wednesday provided the following list of costs that one might expect to incur:
- Developmental Editor: $3 – $5 per page. I do not have one specific source for this number, but this is the range I have seen throughout my research. This is also about what I would charge to edit someone else’s manuscript. Remember, no matter how good you are at editing, you need to hire a fresh set of eyes to edit your book before you publish it!
- Proofreader/Copyeditor: $850, per Miral Sattar at PBS.org.
- Book formatting: $250 without images or illustrations, per thebookpatch.com.
- Cover design: $425, per thebookpatch.com.
- ISBN #: $125 for one ISBN, 10 ISBNs for $250, per Bowker.
- Printing: Around $3.50 per professional trade paperback bound book, size 5.5” x 8.5”, per CreateSpace. I am assuming I will want to purchase at least ten books right away for marketing promotions (giveaways, etc.) and to give to my parents. Aside from this, companies like CreateSpace give you the option of printing books as orders come in.
- Proofs: Same price as for printing. If the book is professionally edited in advance of this step, then that should cut down on the number of proofs I would need to purchase.
- S&H: If I go with a company like CreateSpace, I will likely let them handle distribution. In such case, they would handle the shipping and handling for a fee.
Grand total: Around $2500 to properly prepare a book for publishing. In my research, I have come across some self-publishers who claim to have published their books for as little as $70, while another claimed it cost him over $10,000 to publish his book.
Remember, these are just the up-front costs. There will likely be additional costs once you have completed the publishing process.
I would love some feedback from those of you who have more experience with self-publishing than I do. Is there anything I am forgetting? Are any of my pricing guestimates way off base? Please share in the comments below.
- The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book (PBS.org)
- Can Self-Published Authors Acquire Shelf Space? (projecteve.com)
- Still Can’t Believe This! (stephsweeney.com)
- Facts About ISBNs (hibakhan.info)
- Yes, I pretty much did my own stunts for this book cover (nedhickson.wordpress.com)
- Book Covers and Scarlett Rugers (thelunaalexis.wordpress.com)
- Publishing Purgatory (fredamoya.wordpress.com)
- Because you asked for it, print it is! The CreateSpace Chronicle (reviewerseye.wordpress.com)
- Cover for My First Book! (katherinecerulean.com)