How Much Money Does It Cost to Self-Publish?
How Expensive Can It Be?
When I first decided to publish my children's book Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss, I had to weigh my options. Was I going to go the more traditional route or with self-publishing?
After much consideration, self-publishing outweighed traditional in several categories including a major one, expenses. Both were going to be expensive but when it comes to self-publishing you get to choose where your money is allocated and what expenses need to be cut from the budget.
But how much would it really cost?
If you're wanting to publish a children's book and had the same question I did then here are some items you may have to budget for.
There are thousands of proofreaders and editors out there. Prices are determined by the editor and most often times are done by word count or page count. Cost can add up quickly so make sure you read the fine details when searching for someone to edit your story. I've seen editors ask anywhere from $2 to $5 per page.
I used fiverr.com to find someone reliable who wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg. In fact, I even hired another editor to cross reference their edits since the price was so low. In total, I spent $24 to have my book edited.
Illustrations are so essential when it comes to a children's book and the most costly overall. I've mentioned in previous posts that finding the right person to collaborate with you on such an large project is important, but you also want to make sure the cost is right. Some illustrators charge upwards of $500 dollars per page. Do your research and take a few weeks before making your final decision. This will avoid getting half way through the project and realizing they might not be the right one to help you thus losing out money you could have spent elsewhere.
Back in 2020, I was lucky and stumbled across someone who would do a page for $45. In total, my cost was $1440 for illustrations.
Most first-time self-publishing authors avoid beta readers as they see it as a waste of money or lack of confidence in their work. What they don't realize is beta readers will catch mistakes or give advice on how to improve your story. In the long run this advice could make you thousands of dollars that you might have missed out on.
In total I spent $7 for a group of beta readers along with taking friends and families' advice.
Blurb and Author Bio
When writing a book, you'll need to intrigue readers not only by the cover but the blurb found on the back. You might think your entire story is important and write more than you need. This is why you should hire a third party to write your blurb as often times they can give a more concise overview.
I was able find someone who did both book blurbs and author bios. Since no one really likes talking about themselves, or in this case, writing about themselves, I decided to have her write my author bio too. Cost for the service was $58.
Besides illustrations, formatting is the next most important item when it comes to your story. Hiring someone who is able to see where your text belongs on the page, the correct font and size, while formatting the pages for print ties everything you've been working on together. When done wrong can cause several set backs and waste time and money.
Once again, I used fiverr.com to find my formatter. Once I had sent everything sent off he had it back to me within a day. In total, I spent $58.
If you aren't familiar with what an ISBN number is then grab the nearest book you have and flip it to the back. There you'll see the word ISBN with a bunch of numbers following after. This number is used universally and contains information like what edition the book is along with price. If you sell only on Amazon they are nice enough to give you one for free, but if you decide to sell through places such as Barnes and Noble or Instaspark you'll have to provide your own copy.
ISBN's run $125 each but you can bulk buy and save some money if you plan on writing more books. Since this was my first book I decided to only get one and spend the $125.
You can see my post here about copyrights and if you should obtain them for your story. Depending on the type of story, copyrights very in price point.
My cost was $60 for a children's book which is one of the cheaper options.
When you add up all the numbers my total cost for Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss came to $1,772. Not bad considering how pricy some of these services can be if you don't know how to do them yourself.
If you're thinking to yourself, "Hey I don't have that kind of money," look for other options that may work for you or teach yourself how to format and edit. I spent my money over a span of a year which allowed me to save as I went.
These numbers will be different for everyone as each person's preference for publication is different. In fact, even though I spent a total of $1,772 on the book itself this does not include money spent on advertising, promo pictures, publishing classes, the hundreds of hours preparing everything, or launching my website. These items I find to be in a separate category when compared to the physical book.
In the long run, self-publishing will save you a ton of upfront costs that traditional publishing would have you spending elsewhere. If you know of great quality services for self-publishing that won't break the bank leave them in the comments below.