Thursday, December 24, 2009
How much does it cost to self-publish a book?
Vanity presses usually charge from $199 to $10,000 or even more for their "publishing packages."
The chart below based on recent personal experience shows the estimated minimum costs to publish a 200-page "trade paperback" book (without buying any new software) as a "real" self-publisher, using Lightning Source to print on demand.
I recommend that you budget about $1,000 - $1,200 so you have some reserve to print several generations of corrected proofs if necessary, and can afford to send out news releases and review copies.
If you can't "format" the interior pages yourself, you can hire a designer to develop a style for you to follow, or to format the pages for you. This could cost hundreds or thousands. Many self-publishers format their own pages with Microsoft Word. Some of these books look fine, but many are terrible (mostly because of the limitations of the person, not the software).
If you must publish at the lowest-possible cost, you can skip the ISBN, the copyright registration, the editor and designer, the professional photograph, and the proof. This way you can publish a book for an initial cost of about $87 using Lightning Source or $0 with Lulu or CreateSpace -- but the book will probably be terrible and no one will read it.