How Much Does It Really Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

How Much Does It Really Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

All over the world there are a multitude of writers who have created a number of manuscripts and have dreamed of having them published.

But sadly, due to the uncertainty of getting accepted through traditional publishing their dreams have gone unfulfilled.

This is where self-publishing comes in.

Through self-publishing you can have your book published without going through the hassle of going to a traditional publishing house and waiting to be selected.

The main question though is how much does it really cost to self-publish a book?

Is it cheap?

Is it expensive?

This answers the main question, how much does it cost to get self-published?

Before we delve into the more technical aspects of self-publishing though and its costs, it is best to give a summary on self-publishing and what potential authors should expect.

The difference between self-publishing and traditional self-publishing is the fact that self-publishing is all in all funded by the author, from cover design to overall publishing all the costs is shouldered by the author, while in traditional publishing the costs is shouldered by the publishing house.

Thus if you choose to self-publish you should expect that you will have to spend money to sell your book.

Let’s break down the costs of the self-publishing process, and we’ll share some secrets to bring those costs down if you’re budget-conscious.

Just remember though that the main intent when you self-publish a book is that it should be of good quality and marketable.

The process usually involves the following:

  • Development editing
  • Copy-editing
  • Cover design
  • Formatting For Print And Digital Conversion
  • Getting An ISBN
  • Distribution
  • Getting Your Book Printed
  • Getting Reviews Pre-Publication
  • Marketing & PR

Development editing

This process usually begins after you have already finished making your manuscript.

Having a developmental editor is necessary because an editor’s main job is to evaluate and critique your manuscript, suggest and provide revisions, and make sure it is good enough for publishing.

The costs of having a developmental editor look at your work depends on the amount of experience the editor has and the amount of hours worked on the manuscript.

The costs could range from $2,520 to $18,200 depending on the quality of work and yet again experience of the editor.


After having your work looked at by the developmental editor you should have a copy-editor have a look at your work and see if it needs any further corrections, such as spelling mistakes and adjustment for grammar, punctuation and consistency.

The costs could range from $840 to $7000 depending on the amount of work done and the experience of the editor.

Cover Design

This is a very important part of the process because readers predominantly choose books by their covers.

True if a book has good reviews readers may also buy it.

But as a neophyte writer you should pay special attention to the quality of your book design and make sure that it catches the attentions of the reader.

It is imperative that you make the book cover pop.

There are various ways you can have your book cover made.

One way is doing it yourself if you have the skills and using your own images or buying the license of a specific image. You can also buy premade cover designs for as low as $50.

If you hire someone to make a custom cover design, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $3,500

Formatting For Print And Digital Conversion

This part of the process really depends on your tech-savviness.

If you have the tech skills you can use programs like Sigil, Calibre or Pages. If you prefer to hire an expert, you can find someone to do the print-on-demand conversions for as little as $150 or as much as $2,500 to convert from Word or InDesign.

Getting an ISBN

ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a must when it comes to self-publishing. This is because should you wish to have the book published under your name the ISBN is a prerequisite. You can purchase them for $100 each $250 for ten.


This technically for free, because you can get your book distributed to various retailers.

Getting Your Book Printed

Nowadays there are various ways to self-publish a book.

With the rise of self-publishing houses all over the world the options are limitless.

But the best way for you to save is by going with print on demand companies wherein the books get printed only when someone buys them.

That way you don’t have to stock them and risk them getting ruined by rats, termites or the elements. And due to the fact that you don’t need to get them printed outright there are no fees to pay upfront.

Getting Reviews Pre-Publication

When it comes to getting reviews for your books, the best way to get them reviewed is by going to professional reviewers.

You can go to sites like Kirkus, BlueInk and Publishers Weekly. These sites sell review packages.

You can also go to a multitude of bloggers that can help critique your work.

The usual cost of a review differs from one site to the other. Kirkus usually costs around $425, BlueInk Reviews usually costs around $396 and Publishers Weekly costs $149.

Marketing and PR

Marketing and PR is crucial when it comes to selling your book, because the better you conduct your marketing and PR the more widespread your selling range is.

The best way is to hire someone to market for you and set up blog tours. This could cost you around $10 to $40 an hour. Should you get a professional marketer it may cost you around $40 to $65 an hour.

It is recommended that you have someone market for at least 10 hours and on the high end around 40 hours. You can also do some marketing in your spare time.

The thing to remember when you self-publish a book is that the success and failure of your book is up to you. It all really depends on how much effort and resources you are willing to invest on the success of your book.

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One thought on “How Much Does It Really Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

  1. Nathan Segal

    The question of how much it costs to publish a book is a good one. Here is the answer I give to clients who think my book writing process is too expensive.

    Consider this, the average hourly fee of a coach is $250/hour. As you probably know, writing a book by hand is time-intensive and you’re probably busy with clients so you won’t have a lot of time.

    For the sake of example, let’s say you can only allocate 2 hours of time/night. We’ll also assume it will take you 6 months or 183 days to write. That translates into 26 weeks. At 2 hours/day and 5 days/week for 26 weeks, that translates into 260 hours to write a book. That 260 hours translates into $65,000. That’s what it will cost you to write a book.

    With our system, it will only cost $10,000. You save $55,000. Imagine what you could do with an extra $55,000? Not only that, but our process will save you a lot of time, too. I’m sure you can see how this would make a big difference in your life.


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