If you’re planning to self-publish a book, you need a budget. Without one, your project will stall as you realize this great, easy thing everyone keeps talking about actually takes some money. How much could it possibly cost? Well, $5,000-$7,500, in fact. For some, it could be much more.
You will soon discover the biggest expense you incur is the time you spend writing and marketing your book. Don’t discount the value of your time. You may be spending a couple hundred hours just on marketing, and that’s time you could be spending with family, friends, or a paying gig.
But what about monetary expenses? When self-publishing, the money you spend will largely be through the professionals you hire to assist you. From manuscript to book, you will require a variety of services to achieve a professional-looking, marketable product.
Here is a breakdown of some of the more common vendors you will use (fees based on Editorial Freelancers Association guidelines and my own research):
Book coach: $100 to $300 per 1.5-hour session
Developmental editor: $10 to $15 per manuscript page, or $45 to $65 an hour
Copyeditor: $4 to $10 per manuscript page, or $18 to $40 an hour
Proofreader: $2 to $5 per typeset page, or $15 to $35 an hour
Interior: $6 to $10 per page, plus setup fee of $100 to $200
Cover: $800 to $1,200; more for complex designs or original artwork
Printer/Binder: These prices assume a black-and-white interior with a full-color cover. You’ll pay more for longer books, color interiors, and/or larger trim sizes.
500 copies: $3.65 to $5.25 per unit, plus shipping
1,000 copies: $2.35 to $3.50 per unit, plus shipping
E-books: Price structures vary. Some are free to start with a cut of the list price going to the company; others charge a setup fee, but you keep 100% of sales.
As you can see, copyediting and design alone could run you $2,000-$3,000. But don’t skimp here. Professional editing, and particularly professional design, are what allow self-published books to compete with the traditionally published. After all your hard work, do you really want to put out an inferior product? Don’t forget, this is your book; you deserve to make it the best it can be!