What does it cost to publish a book?



Writing the book is the creative part. Independent Publishing is a Business Venture! 

Your business is the creation, distribution, and sales of your product: Your book! You need to go into this with a clear head and the willingness to give it your all.

As a publisher you must be able to look at your book objectively as you create a strategy to bring it to market. All cost associated with the creation, distribution, and sales of your product are paid by you!

  • Editing
  • Cover Art
  • Interior Design / Formatting
  • Printing and Distribution
  • Ebooks and Distribution
  • Pricing and Royalties
  • Marketing

Never begin your publishing adventure with a blank check mentality. Cost add up very quickly. 

SET A BUDGET!

Remember this: There is no guarantee your book will sell, no matter how much money you throw into it.
  • Be very realistic in your goals.
  • Keep a level head where costs are concerned. 
  • Only spend what you are comfortable investing into your book.
  • Make a budget and stick to it!

Your product (your book) is a direct reflection of the work you’ve put into it and the money you’ve put into producing it. Find the balance between quality and affordability. Your book needs to be able to recoup its cost before it can make you any money. If you need help setting a budget or completing the steps needed to publish, check out Rising Sign Books for your a la carte publishing needs. 


Professional Editing 
$0.005-$0.05 Per Word

Hire an Editor
Do not skip this step! 
Do not attempt to edit your own work!




In the independent publishing realm you’re going to be aiming for editors who handle more than just line edits. There are wide varieties of freelance editors out there, and with a little research, you can find one right for you.

A good freelance editor will always offer you a sample edit first. A sample edit usually comprises the first five pages of your manuscript. You’ll send this to the prospective editor, who will edit that portion for free. This allows you to see the editor’s style, as well as let you know how well you would work together. Don’t use a freelance editor who doesn’t offer a free sample. 

Once you hire your editor, you can expect him or her to take a thorough pass through your completed manuscript. You should receive back an edited manuscript full of notes. In most cases, you’ll go back and correct things based on the notes. You should have another set of eyes check it after this process. Unless you have paid for two passes from your editor, you will need to have a final proofread done. This can cost additional money. This allows the editor to take one final look over the cleaner manuscript, and if necessary, make any last minute corrections. After this process is completed, your manuscript should be very clean. 


Book Layout
(0-$500 depending on service provider)


The layout, otherwise known as the interior book block, is the process of formatting your manuscript so that it will look how you want it to when printed.

Each version (ebook, softcover, and hardcover) of your book will have different layout requirements.
If you don’t know how to do this right, make sure to include cost in your book production budget!

What should the interior of book look like, and how does it differ from your word-processed manuscript?

To grasp what your book should look like inside, you need to look at its peers. Take ten or so traditionally published books from your genre and go through them with a fine-tooth comb. Note the standards in their layout so you can try to mimic them. 

Please note: fiction differ from non-fiction books in the way their interiors are set up.

  • Standardizing text and paragraphs
  • Standard justification
  • Copyright page verbiage 
  • Table of Contents (clickable for ebook)
  • Active Hyperlinks (clickable for ebooks)
  • Custom headers for chapters, acknowledgements, forwards, and dedications
  • Drop Caps (if requested)
  • Bullets, number lists
  • Custom Header & Footer
  • Page Numbering for all non-chapter heading pages.
  • Chapter starting on right side (if requested)


For Print Books: Print formatting is a fixed size, fixed width layout. What you see on the PDF is exactly what is printed with all fonts embedded. When completed, you will receive a print-ready PDF of your completed book layout based on your trim size and printer specifications.

For Ebooks: There are two types of ebook formats. Mobi is the Amazon/Kindle format. It is the only format Kindle uses, and it is meant to work across all Kindle devices. Epub is the other format. Epub is used for Nook, Kobo, Sony, iBooks, etc… (everything other than Kindle). You will receive both ePub and Kindle versions of the ebook. Keep in mind that ebooks are not physical books, they are coded to be able to adjust to screen sizes as small as a phone or as large as a computer, so elements like page numbers and headers do not exist in this format. Elements like chapter headings and Table of Contents entries work like website hyperlinks in ebooks. Elements like photos and tables are anchored elements tied to specific points between the text, to allow for the reflowing text to shift around them depending on how pages are viewed on various screens.

The average base rate for book formatting you can expect to pay 
$0.50- $1 per page (300 words per page average) per format type (ebook, paperback, hardbound)
(e.g., 200pg novel would be $100-200 for print and $100-200 for ebook)

Books with more complex layout requirements (more than three images requiring embedding, text box placement, and/or indexing), Poetry, and/or Non-Fiction will cost more due to the time and complexity of their layouts.

 

Book Cover Design
($100 – the sky is the limit!)

Your Book Cover is the most important visual sales tool you have!
Expect to spend on average $100 per cover. $50-500 is considered normal range for cover packages including print, ebook, & audio. 

Your cover should do three things: 
  • Advertise the book.
  • Showcase the author.
  • Set the “feel” of the book.


If you don’t have the skills necessary to produce a professional-looking book cover, hire an artist. 
People DO judge a book by it’s cover!

There are plenty of freelance graphic artists available who can produce a beautiful cover. Prices will vary widely depending on the artist, so shop around. 

You want someone who specializes in book cover art for your intended genre. 
Not all artists are suited for working on book covers. 

One more important thing to remember. In most cases, you are purchasing rights to use the artwork. The art may not be exclusively yours. Find out before you sign any contract with an artist. This distinction can prevent you from seeing someone else with the exact same design shortly after you’ve purchased your cover. 
 
For the budget minded author, here are a few quick resources for pre-made cover designs to get you started. 

Book Cover Designer  https://thebookcoverdesigner.com
The Cover Collection   http://www.thecovercollection.com
Rocking Book Covers  http://www.rockingbookcovers.com
Self Pub Book Covers  https://www.selfpubbookcovers.com


ISBNs
(Cost depends on where they are purchased.)

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

An ISBN is your publishing “social security number.” It is a 13-digit string of numbers that identifies the book, the publisher, and what format the material is in: ebook, softcover, hardbound, or audio. 

A unique ISBN represents a single format, not a single title. 
The print version and ebook version of the same title should have different ISBNs. 
Some ebook formats do not require them. Amazon, for example, will assign its own number, an ASIN—which refers to Amazon’s own inventory system. Be sure you look to see which formats will require them and which ones don’t. This will prevent you from wasting all of your ISBNs on a single title. 




You can purchase ISBNs in the US at: www.myidentifiers.com
I recommend you start off with a block of 10 ISBNs. They are $295, which breaks down to $29.5 a piece. Comparatively, a single ISBN is $125, so even if you aren’t going to use them all they will pay for themselves within a couple of books. 

When you purchase your ISBNs, you’ll be offered the option of purchasing your barcodes as well. This is an additional fee and not always necessary. If you are working with one of the common POD printers, you will not need to purchase barcodes. This is one of the things they automatically apply to your book. That will save you a few dollars.

Copyright 
($50 + cost of one book and postage to mail it)

Copyright: The author’s legal right to ownership of the work under federal copyright laws. 
You can easily file your Copyright online. It only costs $50. 

You can also pre-register your work if you feel it is necessary; however, the costs are much higher for this. 
(This is only recommended if you are sharing your pre-published work with people and fear it being stolen.)

Once the copyright is filed, your book is officially protected from copyright infringement. 
It will take between four and six months for the official form from the Library of Congress to arrive, but even with the delay in paperwork, your work is protected from the moment you hit “submit.” 

Piracy
DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Under U.S. copyright law, the DMCA covers any copyrighted material that could be infringed on the internet.

It's not required for you to register a copyright on your work in order for it to receive DMCA protection. However, registering the copyright could make things easier on you if you end up in a legal battle.

A “DCMA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice” (a written notification of claimed infringement) is your first step to remove pirated copies of your work from infringing Websites. 


Printing & Distribution
Unless you plan on going door-to-door with a stack of books, you want a POD printer with access to a wide distribution network. While it may not cost much to list your book with a POD printer, your book's size and content may affect the expected royalty you get per sale. 


Print
The major players in the self-publishing realm for printing and distribution are: 


Ebook 
Ebooks, though a major format in book publishing, are still growing and changing. Unlike with the music industry, which has a standardized format, ebooks come in a variety of different formats (mobi & ePub) for the various e-readers on the market, as well as text and PDF for computer viewing. Eventually, there will be one dominant format, but until that time, self-publishers will need to provide the appropriate format for each sales channel they wish to distribute to.

Retailer

A publishing company that sells books exclusively through its own retail store is classified as a retailer. 

Kobo                https://www.kobo.com/us/en/p/writinglife

Aggregator

An aggregator not only offers a publishing and retailing platform for ebooks, they also distribute to a number of partner online retailers and libraries. This helps authors get the widest possible reach, without having to format their book to each publisher’s guidelines and maintain multiple publisher accounts. Aggregators can also get ebooks into channels that authors cannot approach directly.

Smashwords     https://www.smashwords.com/





Cost can add up quickly if you don’t pay attention to where the money is going. 

Remember: Only after royalties have netted you enough money to cover production costs does your book actually start making you money.


Marketing:
(Cost for each item can be anywhere from $10 – the sky is the limit!)
Keep in mind that you will need to have money set aside in your budget for marketing. 
A pretty book will not go anywhere if people don’t know it exists.  


Website or Blog
Book Reviews and Blog Tours
Bookmarks, Posters, Business cards, etc
Paid Advertising
Newsletters

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About The Author

Katie Salidas is a USA Today bestselling author and RONE award winner known for her unique genre-blending style.

Since 2010 she's penned five bestselling book series: the Immortalis, Olde Town Pack, Little Werewolf, Chronicles of the Uprising, and the all-new Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series. As her not-so-secret alter ego, Rozlyn Sparks, she is a USA Today bestselling author of romance with a naughty side.

In her spare time Katie also produces and hosts a YouTube talk show; Spilling Ink. She also has a regular column on First Comics News where she explores writing from a nerdy perspective.