How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?

Cost of Publishing a Book

If you are looking to find out information on how much does it cost to publish a book then you have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to try and look at how much publishing a book is going to cost you.

The first thing you need to know is that there are 2 ways of publishing a book.

  • Self publishing
  • Traditional publishing

Self publishing allows you to publish your book without any help from a publishing company. It means that you will need to do the editing and the marketing and any other jobs needed to get your book out there. You can outsource some of the tasks but you will then have to pay for the outsourced task whereas if you do it completely on your own, which is quite common among self published authors, then your cost will be very low. 

Traditional publishing is when a publishing company publishes your book and provides you with the expertise and the marketing needed for your book to be successful. Your publishing house will charge a fee for their services and also keep a cut of the royalty but on the upside you get to benefit from a very strong marketing and promotion campaign and increased market reach due to strong networking of the publishing house.

Cost Structure

Now let us look at the cost of publishing a book.

You may be required to invest at the following stages of writing your book.

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Formatting
  • Cover design
  • Publishing
  • Marketing

Let us look at the most simple case. If you are a self published author, then you literally do not need to invest a single penny to publish your book. All you need is a computer, a basic word programme, basic text formatting and graphic skills to make a very basic cover image and internet access to upload your manuscript on Amazon KDP.

But if you do it like this you are going to end up with a very basic version of your book unless you have got good formatting and graphic designing skills.

So let us now look at variances of the simplest option that we have discussed above.

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Option 1: Ghost writer

If you do not have the time to write the book yourself, then you can hire a ghost writer. You can either hire someone you know or look for professional ghost writers on online market places such as fiverr.

How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book

The picture shows a ghostwriter that has been awarded the Fiverrs Choice badge, which means that she is simply the best at what she does. It can be seen that her pricing starts with $10,000 for a 40,000-word book.

This is obviously the most costly option but on the upside, you get your book in 45 days and then you can upload it on KDP to add it to your portfolio. In this way you can churn out ebooks at a very fast pace to grow your portfolio and exponentially multiply your royalty income through Amazon KDP.

Option 2: Hire an Editor

Now let us assume that you write your own book. In which case your cost will be significantly low compared to the first option. But you are going to need an editor to smoothen up your writing. Now you can be your own editor but this is usually a risky option because it is better to have someone else edit your work to rule out the familiarity bias with your own book.

The market price for freelance editors varies a lot. You can get editors on online platforms for as low as $100 for a 40,000 book and if you go for professional and more experienced editors, then your bill may run into thousands.

Option 3: Formatting

Formatting does not require a lot of skills, if you have got basic Word skills then you can format your book quite well. In this case you will need access to Microsoft Word or you can do it for free using Google Docs.

Many self published authors also tend to use professional formatting programs such as Vellum to create professional looking ebooks.

How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book

If you go for a software like Vellum, you`ll have to pay between $200 to $400 in annual subscription to create unlimited ebooks. With these professional softwares, you can format your book for ebook and paperback formats at the same time, reducing the amount of work that needs to be done.

Option 4: Cover Art

After the quality of your actual writing, your cover art is the second most important thing that will attract readers to your book. So it is needless to say that your cover art needs to be good. It should be professional looking because if the readers like the way your book looks, then they will be compelled to read it too. This applies on ebooks too but with paperbacks and hardbacks, the cover art takes the centre stage. Everyone likes a nice looking book on their shelf.

So unless you have professional graphic designing skills, you should get yourself a graphic designer. You can find freelance designers online for as low as $20 but you should look around for an experienced designer, who may end up costing you around $50 – $200 based on your requirements.

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Option 5: Publishing

If you are going to completely self publish your book on Amazon KDP, then your publishing costs are going to be nil. You will not be required to pay a dime. Instead Amazon will take the cut from your royalty. For more details about royalty, please read some of the articles we have published earlier on this topic.

If however you want to print the books yourself without going for a traditional publishing house. Then you will have to bear the cost of printing the book. Which will depend on the number of pages, page quality, number of copies and whether you want a hardback or a paperback version.

Another thing that you need to remember is the ISBN number. Everybook needs to have an ISBN, which basically identifies your book. In addition to this each format of your book needs to have a separate ISBN. So if you are going to publish a book in ebook, paperback and audio format then you will need 3 ISBNs. If you go for Amazon KDP then you will get the ISBN for free but if you decide to print your own books, then you will have to pay for the ISBN. In Australia you will have to pay AUD 44 for 1 ISBN.

Each book needs its own ISBN so if you plan to publish another book in future, you will have to buy it again. There is a bulk offer to buy 100 ISBNs for $480 or 1000 ISBNs for $3035.

Option 6: Marketing

If you are short on budget, you can market the book yourself using your own social media pages. If you have a large following then this should be enough. You can however create a proper marketing strategy by purchasing ads on social media platforms, hiring influencers to talk about your book and promote it.

Some publishers also buy the first few copies of their own book, just to give it some traction on platforms like KDP. But this should be done with caution, as you don`t want KDP to blacklist your account. Most self published authors who use this strategy usually pay their readers, friends or family members to purchase the first few copies. In this way you can transparently sell the first few copies without doing anything wrong.

The marketing budget can range anywhere between a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. It really depends on how deep your pockets are.

As you can see, if you really want to then you can publish your book for free or you can spend several thousand dollars to get everything done for you. These are both extremes of the spectrum, most self published authors end up spending $500 to $2000 on their books. With the bulk of this money going to editors, cover designers and marketing campaigns.

Main Image Source: Pixabay

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Dave P
Dave P
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