Self Publishing Cost - How Much to Get Your Book into Print

Thinking of publishing a book? The first question everybody asks: how much will self publishing cost? While the bulk of your money will be spent on inventory and marketing and this will vary depending on your budget, here are some guidelines.

First, you'll need an ISBN number. If you're serious about getting your book into bookstores, an ISBN number is a must. This number uniquely identifies both the publisher (in this case, you) and the title and edition of your book. Back when I published my first book, you could only buy a block of ten ISBN numbers (cost $240), but now you can purchase a single ISBN number for $125 which is fine if you just want to publish one book.

Once your book is written, you'll need an editor. Even as I say this, I cringe a bit because (should I admit this?), I edited my first book. My self publishing cost for editing was zero. But then I'm anal. (Well, not really!) It was hard though because I introduced errors as I edited and had to go back and do it again. But I am a good speller and I have intuitive sense for grammar. I must have done a fairly good job since my book went on to receive 4 awards and was a semi-finalist in a number of other contests. Still, most people need an editor, so let's assume that you do too. If so, editors typically charge anywhere from 1 cent to 5 cents per word. So if you have a 50,000 word document, the price can range anywhere from $500 - $2500.

Design of the book innards and cover - if you want your self-published book to look as polished and professional as a traditionally published book, then you'll need to spend the money to get a professional designer. While I laid out the inside of my book (with the help of a friend who was proficient in QuarkXpress), I hired a book cover designer to combine the photograph I took with the title, subtitle and back cover copy. Although it cost me about $800 back in 2004 just for the cover design, it was worth it because when people hold my book in their hands, it looks great. The book designer I hired came highly recommended and if I had not taken the photograph myself, the cost would have been higher, but generally, your self publishing cost for layout and book design will run anywhere from $500-$2500.00.

If this is not within your means, then there is a great software package that will allow you to with the help of pre-designed templates. It's easy to use and I recommend it. If you'd rather spend your money for design on software that you can learn to use to publish future books, then you may want to invest in Adobe InDesign.

Printing can be quite costly, especially if you purchase thousands of books as offset printers typically demand. Of course, this allows you to get a lower price per book. With POD printing, you can purchase smaller quantities of your book (I started with just 200 copies of my book and printed more as needed.) Of course the dilemma is that you will pay more than twice as much per unit for your book, but you'll have lower risk and less chance of being saddled with boxes of unsold inventory. Since the majority of self-published books sell about 100 copies (but of course, you'll sell much more if you follow some of the creative tips for book marketing on this site), this may be a good way to go initially, until you get a feel for how well your book will sell. To find out my recommendation for the best POD printer today and step-by-step instructions for how to set up your account to publish your book, click on CreateSpace publishing.

With printing costs as little as $1.50 per book for 3000 copies of a 150-page, perfect bound book to about $4 per copy (or more) for the same book printed with POD technology (my book costs $4.02 per copy for just over 200 pages), the way you choose to go will determine your self publishing cost for this particular aspect of the business.

The next factor is marketing. Costs for marketing runs the gamut. For instance you can hire a PR firm for tens of thousands of dollars to get you on t.v. and radio shows and help you market your book or you can do all the marketing yourself. You can learn various systems for marketing your book via radio shows, creating a video, a web site, etc.

It's impossible for me to give you a real number for book promotion because I don't know what your budget is or how much you will allocate to marketing. I suggest that a starting point, you might allocate around $2000. No matter which marketing methods you choose, it's an absolute must for you to have a web site—not an online brochure, but a web site that actually attracts targeted readers that will be interested in buying your book.

Although I haven't given you a hard number in terms of total self publishing cost, hopefully, I've given you an idea of how much you'll have to budget for the publication of your book.

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Self Publishing Costs

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