The cost of self-publishing a book ranges from around $100 on the low end to over $10,000 for authors spending large amounts on editing, design and marketing.
The real question is, how much does it cost to publish a book for you? What are your goals for the book? Will it be digital, physical or some combination of the two?
The more questions you ask at the outset, the better an idea you’ll have of the cost of publishing a book.
Breaking Down the Costs of Publishing a Book
For professional, polished results, you’ll either need to be:
- A phenomenal cover designer, a flawless proofreader and an excellent self-editor
- Willing to pay others to handle the art, proofreading, editing and layout
One aspect of creating a book you’ll need to leave to the professionals is printing. Print Bind Ship has a long history of working with self-published authors. As such, we have a track record of printing durable, attractive, retail-quality books.
Plan on reading your book all the way through at least twice yourself. Then, give a copy to a friend or family member so they can look for errors, too.
If you want the kind of high-caliber results only a professional editor can offer, consider the type of editor you’ll need:
- Copy editor: Makes your writing clearer and more fluid; costs 2 to 3 cents per word
- Developmental editor: Improves plot and structure; costs 3 to 4 cents per word
- Line editor: Strengthens overall narrative style; costs 4 to 5 cents per word
Basic proofreading services, meanwhile, will cost you 1 to 2 cents per word. Expect to spend between $2,000 and $3,000 for both an editor and a proofreader. Editing expenses typically amount to a significant portion of the cost to self-publish a book.
You can always talk to Print Bind Ship to get quotes for editing. We’re invested in your book’s success!
Book Cover Design Costs
Unless you’re confident in your graphic design skills and already have the right software, you’ll likely need to hire a cover designer.
Hiring a designer will cost you around $600 to $800, but the results will be worth it. You’ll get a bespoke piece of artwork that rivals the books you see on retail shelves. Experienced designers will also know to craft the design around your book’s dimensions.
Print Bind Ship’s in-house designers will happily work with you to develop a brilliant, original cover.
Let’s assume your book will be a standard 5.5” x 8.5”, with 60-pound paper for the pages. A 300-page black and white softcover book can cost around $8 to $10, depending on how many copies you order. If you require color, the cost will be about double per book.
For hardcover printing, expect to pay $18 to $25 per copy for a 300-page book printed in black and white or around $25 to $34 for color. If you want a cloth cover, that can easily add $4 to $5 per copy.
Increasing the size to 6” x 9” might increase the per-copy cost by about $1, but an 8.5” x 11” size will probably boost the cost by around $3 to $4. To keep costs down, limit your size, stick to black and white and order in large batches of 500 or more copies.
Most printers charge royalties for print-on-demand services. For example, Amazon KDP charges 60%, and Barnes & Noble Press charges 55%. Print Bind Ship will work with your budget, so if you can’t afford to print large batches, print-on-demand may be a good option for you.
Submit your book to bloggers and influencers for reviews. Be active on social media and in forums and actively solicit readers. You can spend as little as $10 to $15 for some targeted social media ads.
Creating a website can also help you promote your book. Be prepared to pay quite a bit more if you work with a web designer and remember that hosting a site also involves ongoing expenses.
Traditional publishers handle distribution, so if you’re self-publishing, you’ll have to secure distribution yourself. Having Amazon and similar e-commerce sites handle distribution won’t cost you anything upfront, but you’ll most likely have to pay royalties.
Hidden Costs: ISBN, Copyright and Legal Fees
All printed books, including self-published works, must have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for identification purposes. One of these will run you around $125 on the low end (per number — you’ll need more if you plan on printing multiple books or editions of the same title) and several hundred dollars on the upper end.
To protect your business and make it possible to earn more than $50,000 from writing, consider forming an LLC. The costs of doing so vary by location.
Don’t forget to protect your book with a copyright as well. Registering for a copyright online costs $45 to $65.
Costs of Self-Publishing a Book vs. Traditional Publishing
Traditional publishing involves far less expense on the author’s part compared with the cost of self-publishing. However, the publisher takes a hefty percentage in this arrangement — sometimes 90% or more.
With self-publishing, the amount you make depends almost solely on how much work you’re willing to put in and how many people buy your book.
Self-Publishing Made Easy with Print Bind Ship
How much does it cost to publish a book? Less than you might think. Partnering with the right printer is imperative, so contact Print Bind Ship to make sure you get stunning, top-quality books every time.
If you really want to wow customers, use Print Bind Ship’s Print Genius to create an unboxing experience worthy of social media. You can send handwritten notes, swag, personalized offers and much more.
Basic self-publishing costs revolve around editing, proofreading, cover design, marketing and printing. Together, these can amount to anything from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars.
The author pays nothing for traditional publishing services upfront. However, they tend to only make around 10% of the money from sales.
By working hard and promoting their works across different platforms and venues, self-published authors can earn several thousand dollars a month in sales.