Self Publishing – What Will it Cost You?

On of the big concerns people have regarding self-publishing their newly completed book is cost. How much is this going to cost me? It’s a valid concern and there are many different opinions. In which format do you want to publish – e-book, paperback, hard cover? Are you trying to make a living as an author? Is this just a hobby? Is your book for family and friends? Do you want to be famous with readers all over the world? The answers to these questions will help determine the cost.

Publishing your book as an e-book is the least expensive way to publish. E-books can be published for free in some cases. Although, most people incur some cost. To sell your book as an e-book all one needs to do is convert the manuscript into a PDF and set up a way for customers to pay for and download your book.

I am going to list all the steps involved in producing a professional book and a range of their costs. What you actually pay will depend on what you can do for yourself, how you outsource what you need to have done and whether or not you purchase a publishing package utilizing an independent publisher, print-on-demand (POD) or a vanity press.

  • ISBN – $40 – $125. If you plan on selling your book through bookstores or online stores such as Amazon your book needs to have an ISBN. These can be purchased directly from Bowker or one can be assigned from a variety of publishing companies. Sometimes included for “free” in publishing packages
  • Bar Code – $25 – $50. Selling your books in traditional brick and mortar bookstores require that your book have a bar code.
  • Editing – $.025 – $.12 per word. This price varies greatly depending on how extensive and the type of editing you need.
  • Proof-Reading – $199 – $500 or more. Varies based on your connections and how long your book is.
  • Formatting/Interior Layout – $149 – $750. Once again depends on how much work needs to be done and who you hire. POD companies have several templates to choose from. An independent publisher may cost slightly more but your format/layout will be just like a traditionally published book.
  • Cover Design – $100 – $1000. What type of cover do you need/want? A totally custom cover will cost significantly more than a cover based on a simple template.
  • Printing – $2.00 – $20.00 a copy or more. This could be the most expensive cost you will incur. This is cost is based on: number of pages, page size, type of paper used and last but not least – the number of copies printed. Discounts are given as the quantities increase. It is cheaper to use digital printing up to 250-500 copies depending on the printer and offset printing for 500 copies or more. It is not uncommon for authors to print 1000-2500 copies on their book.

As a general cost range for someone that wants to independently publish their book (not POD), prepare to spend between $2500 – $6500. That should allow you to produce a professional book and receive between 250-1000 paperback copies of your books.

If you use a vanity press or POD publisher your price range will be between a few hundred dollars up to $10,000 or more. On the low end you will receive 0-5 copies of your book and on the high end you will receive a number of paperback copies, a few hard covers and one leather bound copy as well as a number of marketing tools.

E-book publishing can be free or close to free up to several thousand dollars for someone that needs extensive editing, proofing, interior and cover design.

It is your money and your book. Define your publishing objective first and research all costs prior to spending any money. I wish you much success with the publication of your new book. – Simplie Indie is an e-commerce and resource hub for independent authors and musicians. – Prismatic Publishing is a custom publishing company that works exclusively with independent authors.

Author: Bill P Walker
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