The cost of self-publishing really can vary massively depending on how much of the project you undergo yourself. I asked the members of my Free Facebook Group how much they generally spent on each book release and there was a huge scale of costs, the majority of authors spend between £100 and £300 but this did also range all the way up to over £1000 in expenses. In this blog post, we are going to take a good look at the expenses of each part of self-publishing and also ways in which you can save money to spend on those more vital sections, which you should always get an expert to complete.
Ok, first of all, let's take a good look at editing. There are many forms of editing which all vary in price, so understanding which editing style is right for your manuscript is vital. There are three main styles of editing. Developmental editing consists of a complete evaluation of your manuscript. Line editing is where your editor will go through your manuscript line by line and fine-tune your writing. Finally, copy editing includes making corrections to spelling, punctuation, and grammar as well as enhancing the overall quality of your editing. Every author should at a minimum have copy editing done on their manuscript, editing is something that you should outsource because no matter how effective you are at editing your own work it's impossible to be subjective about your writing, after reading your manuscript over and over again you are also extremely likely to miss things as you aren’t looking at it with a fresh pair of eyes.
All of the authors who participated in the poll in my group stated that editing was something which they would not cut corners on, as this could be the difference between your book flying or becoming a complete flop, a poorly edited manuscript can lose you, vital readers. All of the authors also agreed that editing was one of the biggest expenses when releasing a book but that it was worth every single penny.
You can read more about what editing style is right for your manuscript in our blog post here.
These editors have been recommended by the authors for whom I work, however, it is also vital for you to do your own research and see if their style matches what you are looking for.
Karen Hrdlicka at Barren Acres Editing
Stephanie Farrant at Farrant Editing
Lily Luchesi from Partners In Crime Book Services
Anna Bloom of The Indie Hub Service
Nikki Groom of The Indie Hub Service
Proofreading is the final process in the editing stage and although not essential to your self-publishing journey, can save you some embarrassment on release day. If you have selected the wrong editing option or gone for a very basic edit, the proofreader will ensure your writing is up to standard.
The best way to look at a proofreader is to consider it your final quality check before it is released. A proofreader will find any errors that remain and can be corrected before uploading your final manuscript. They may even spot plot holes, conflicting accounts, grammatical errors, spelling errors etc. Depending on how much editing you have done prior to this in regards to Alpha or Beta readers, how extensive your editing has been and whether you have taken a look through the manuscript yourself will depend on how long this stage will take.
Proofreading expenses are usually charged based on the word count, so depending how long your manuscript depends on the cost of your proofreading. Also, remember that not all proofreaders will charge the same due to experience. After doing a little research online the cost is around £12.50 per £1000 words which will work out at £0.0.125.
Scarlet Le Clair of Scarlet VA Services
Cover Design Expenses
So now on to my area of expertise and this is one that you really need to consider employing a professional Cover Designer. Ever heard of the saying never judge a book by its cover? Well, I hate to tell you this but we all do. In order to give your book the flying start it deserves you must invest in a professionally designed cover. Many authors choose to cut costs on this by designing their own via programs like Canva etc. However, you have to remember this is the first thing any reader will see, if your cover looks amateur they really aren’t going to invest because they will expect the same of the inside. Readers will believe that if you haven’t got a professional-looking cover then it hasn't been edited to a high standard. So seriously, if you take anything away from this post it really is the importance of a professional cover design.
A professional cover really doesn't have to break the bank either but you must remember these fiver covers will not be completed to a high standard. A cover designer will work with you on market trends and what will help sell your book, they will ensure you have the correct licences when it comes to the images and fonts on your book cover. There are a number of highly talented cover designers out there that are extremely cost-effective. Another option to consider is to find a pre-made cover that suits your novel. For example, all my pre-made covers can be found in my shop here, covers using stock images are priced at £79 and this includes an ebook and paperback design. If you were looking for something that was custom designed, my prices are still competitive at £99 for ebook and paperback and can include a zoom or call with the client to go over their requirements.
There are other things that will increase the cost of your book cover, for example, if you do not wish to use stock images and would rather have an exclusive image provided by a model this will increase your budget considerably. These photographers can charge anything up to £400 for a single image, so really consider your budget and stick to it.
Take a look at our blog post; Top Tips For Book Cover Design for more information and tips on getting the right cover which will really enhance your sales.
Recommended Cover Designers
Obviously, a number of the authors in my group use me for their designs, be that using pre-made or custom designs, but here are a few other recommendations as well as a couple of groups I am part of which have multiple designers.
Again, Promotional images are not an essential expense as these can be created yourself using programs such as Canva and are a great way to cut costs. Although in order to create consistency in your branding it is always worth asking your cover designer if they do Social media packages or .pngs of your title, this will allow you to keep all your branding and colours consistent with that of your novel when creating your own teasers and promotional images.
I offered a promotion during the month of November which allowed my authors to invest in a promotional package for £70 this included, 3d renders of up to ten books, blank teasers to add their own quotes or book reviews too, .png’s of titles if they were designed by myself, different size images for the different social media platforms, etc. It is always worth asking your designers if this is a service they offer as it will not only save you time in creating your own images, but will create a consistent brand throughout all your material.
Again the expense for this one varies, many authors use software such as Vellum or Atticus to format themselves, and although there is an initial outlay for this, it saves them money over time as they no longer need to outsource this type of work. Vellum’s cost is $249.99 for both ebook and print, however, if you just require an ebook and do not intend on releasing it in print it is $199.99. This is an initial outlay, but there are no further expenses for this software. Atticus however for a lifetime purchase is $147. It's worth comparing both pieces of software to see which works for your own requirements.
If you do not wish to use any software, you also have the option to conduct your own formatting via Microsoft Word, which is relatively straightforward to use. This is how I used to format for some of my clients before using the help and support of Helen Stothard's book Publish your book on amazon. This book not only takes you through a step-by-step process for publishing it teaches you how to format using Microsoft for both ebook and paperback.
The promotions I am talking about here are those run by a PR company and include promotions such as cover reveals, pre-order blitzes, release blitzes, and blog tours. Using an external company is always an advantage from the prospect of them allowing you to have more time writing your next novel and also the fact that they will already have a list of bloggers they can call upon but you can run these yourself too! Yes, it is time-consuming, but can save you money which can be used on more essential things such as editing and cover design.
I do have a workshop/self-study video and .pdf which walks you through running your own book promotion from setting up the forms right through to creating an HTML post for all the blogs participating.
These expenses can seriously run away with you if you aren’t strict with the amount you would like to spend on advertising. You can run adverts on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, BookBub, and Google, but I highly advise you to do your target audience research and really consider your keywords to maximise your return on adverts. Set yourself a strict budget each month with how much you wish to spend on advertising and stick to it, you can very easily rack up a huge advertising bill if you don’t keep it in check.
Something else that isn’t necessarily required but will benefit your reach is using a Book Blitz company such as Sian Claven, she shares your release in over 200 book groups, increasing your exposure. This is also true for any PAs you hire; they can be responsible for sharing material with a wider audience to allow you more time to write. Remember these are not essential but are valuable extras if your budget allows you to stretch that little bit further.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I do hope that you have found it beneficial, if you would like to learn more about self-publishing, with a weekly dose of tips and hints be sure to sign up for our mailing list. All those who sign up will receive a FREE book launch checklist which you can download!