How much does it REALLY cost to self-publish a book?
I never really appreciated the book review, until I “impulsively published” my novel, Remember the Moon. I had no idea how difficult the elusive book review was to acquire. They are like the Holy Grail of the book world. I followed all the proper steps, that I had researched in my role as a self-publishing entrepreneur.
I was able to feel pretty good about a couple of things:
My author platform
- Author website with both my books prominently on display with links to buy
- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest pages established
- MailChimp Mailing list (from a newsletter signup on my website)
- Author pages on Goodreads and Amazon
- I’m an Amazon Affiliate
- Incorporated an “end of book request” where I listed all my links and contact info and asked readers to leave a review on Amazon and included info about my other book.
My Publishing Process
- I asked for beta readers. 34 people signed up and got the beta version of the book. 17 actually provided me with feedback that was incredibly valuable and I put their names into the acknowledgments of the final version.
- Paid for professional Editing. I paid for two professional developmental edits, one copyedit, and two blurb writers
- Paid for a professional, custom cover design.
- Formatting the ebook and print book. I formatted and reformatted the book myself (I used to do this sort of thing in a past life) until it was perfect.
- Uploaded to IngramSpark (print book) and Amazon (ebook). OK. I got a little impulsive and just popped it up there using without more pre-planning. I don’t recommend doing this. Take your time, set up a pre-order and give yourself a couple of months to send the book out for reviews.
- Reviews. I sent free versions to all my Beta readers and all the others on my mailing list, asking everyone to post Amazon reviews.
So, I figured I was in good shape. Not that Oprah would be calling me the next day or anything, but I felt fairly confident that since the beta readers had already read the book, there would be little to hold them back from posting a review on Amazon the moment they got the email from me announcing my new arrival.
Guess what? Nothing happened.
Oh sure, I got lots of congrats from friends and family on Facebook, but then, the dreaded… chirp! Nothing. I asked for reviews on Facebook and I got one posted on Amazon. I was so grateful, I gushed my thanks on Facebook. “Sure!” she said. “I can’t wait to read it!”
A week and a stomach flu later, I posted another “gentle” (I hope) plea on Facebook for a review. I got one more beta reader who obliged and I was oh, so happy.
Not all was lost though. I sold 27 copies. 27! I’m not sure what I was expecting, but hey 27 actual people plunking down money was pretty sweet.
And now, here is what I have done since:
- Signed up for KDP Select so I could set up to 5 days of my book for free. I set a free date (I will leave that as a surprise and will announce it here on the day, so stay tuned).
- Connected my LibraryThing account with my author status and set up a free ebook giveaway.
- Posted to a group on Goodreads asking for a review. Two people accepted and I sent them free versions. (No reviews so far). Be sure to make this a local offer, as you will otherwise spend $$ shipping your book around the world.
- Tweeted a few of my statistics so far, both lamenting and happy. Amazing how that got retweeted. There is sympathy out there!
- Got listed on BookBub
- And on eReaderNewsToday.com
- Signed up for as many book and novel contests as I could find.
OK, so how much did it cost me to publish and market my book?
- 1st Developmental edit (for structural edits): $500.00
- 2nd Developmental edit: $750.00
- Cover design: $300.00
- Copyedit (for grammar, consistencies, spelling, etc): $650.00
- ebook formatting: $500 (I did mine myself)
- Uploading to IngramSpark: $50
- Small Scale Marketing (Bookmarks and business card printing, paid promos): $300
- Book Bub (the most successful marketing I did for my book that got me over 200 reviews on Amazon and over 50,000 downloads): $750
And profit so far… drum roll… $75.41!
Yup, only $3,724.59 to go till I break even.
Good luck in the jungle!