One of the most common questions authors self-publishing for the first time ask is regarding the costs – how much does it cost for the whole self-publishing process? How can you save up on unnecessary expenses and stick to a budget? Can you gain recognition by not employing a professional for every aspect of your book publishing journey? Well, according to many self-published authors who started out with a limited budget, you can.
This article will explore a few ways you can save up on your costs on your self-publishing journey, as outlined by several well-known authors.
1. Editing Costs
Editing costs would usually take up a large percentage of your budget because it’s a necessary cost. To give your book a professional finish by correcting all kinds of minor and major errors you might not even be aware of, utilizing the skills of a professional editor is important for your book. Editing costs will depend on many factors, like the region you’re living in, the number of pages of your book, the genre of your book – for instance, editing historical fiction costs a lot more due to the extensive fact-checking involved.
The best way to reduce your editing costs is by making sure your manuscript is as clean as possible before you submit it to an editor. If your manuscript is cluttered and messy, with a lot of grammar and structural errors, and doesn’t follow the standard manuscript format, your editor will be more likely to charge you more.
2. Cover Design and Formatting
If you’re looking to hire a professional to design your book cover, the cost will depend on how experienced the designer is, whether the book is a print book or e-book, and how many rounds of edits you require until you’re happy with the cover.
But, if you have an eye for design and you already have an idea of what kind of cover you’re looking for, designing your book cover yourself is one of the best ways to save up on your costs. There are plenty of free tools available for graphic designing, even if you are not experienced in the field. Sites like Canva make it extremely easy for non-professionals to produce stunning book covers.
Formatting, too, is a place where you can cut your costs. To produce a clean manuscript, you can simply follow a template that fits the required manuscript parameters and choose your own fonts and graphics yourself. You can use sites like Scrivener to write your book, which come with features to convert and export your book to other digital platforms like iBooks, Kobo, etc.
3. Marketing Costs
Competition in the publishing world is fierce and unforgiving. With thousands of books being published so frequently, being discovered by your target audience can be a tricky task. That is why you need to invest in proper marketing tools – otherwise, you’re looking to get buried in a field that is already overcrowded.
There are a plenty of low-cost marketing tactics that you can try. Creating a social media following and building an email list via your author website are good places to start – this way, you can gain a substantial following and have a small reader-base that will be looking forward to updates via your posts and emails. You can keep your website alive by writing relevant content frequently, which will help the search engines discover you.
While you may be tempted to cut your costs wherever possible, also remember that quality matters more than anything else. If the end product doesn’t look like the work of a professional, some investing will be necessary to make it look so. “Remember to think of the cost of self-publishing as an investment, not a cost. [A book is] an asset that earns you money long-term,” says Joanna Penn, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with over 30 books to her name.
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.