Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How much does it cost to self-publish a book?

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 next to nothing—but the book will probably be terrible and few people will read it or review it.

I recommend that writers have a budget of about $1,000 - $3,000 to pay for design and editing, printing several generations of corrected proofs if necessary, to send out news releases and review copies, and maybe to print business cards or promotional bookmarks.

The rule is, "If you can't afford professional design and editing, you can't afford to publish a book!" Even professional editors who write books need to hire other professional editors. One of the worst books I've read was written and self-edited by someone who said she had edited books for other writers.

(below) Too many wannabe authors (typists?) are deceived and misled by ads for low-cost publishing, no-cost publishing, free design templates and the ease of blogging and eBook publishing.

Even worse, perhaps, is the ego of a writer who says "Editor? I doan need no steenkin editor." (That's a variation of a widely quoted line from Blazing Saddles, (below) based on a line in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. CLICK



  1. Amen to that! I think too many indie authors forget that publishing a book with the intent to sell it means they're in business. And if you can't afford to go into business yet, you shouldn't take the plunge. Doing so risks hurting your reputation and any future sales when you do finally learn from your mistakes. One of the biggest roles traditional publishers play is that of financier. And if you want to publish independently, that's a role and responsibility that falls on you.

  2. You are so right-- I would die without my editor. I mean when i looked at the minimum price, I laughed-- I agree with a $1,000 budget, and would say that proofing yourself is a bad idea. I would suspect your would agree on that one. (Or you would list it as re-editing")

  3. This information is good to know because I was looking into self publishing a book . I was not quite sure how much it usually was and if it would be worth it.

  4. I priced freelance copyediting services and came up with figures between $1000 and $1300. The price quotes I got on cover design and art were up around $2000, and I was reading of some authors who ended up spending $7000-10,000 to self-publish their work.

    When I saw your figures, my jaw dropped. I can't afford $7000, but I can afford $3000, and wouldn't blink at laying out $1000.

    Apparently I'm looking in the wrong places. Can you steer me to sources for services closer to the price range you've quoted above?

  5. Commonly, self-publishers don't wish to surrender control of their book by any means. get published