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Self Publishing Costs – How To Plan A Budget For Your Book

by | Apr 28, 2013 | Publishing Costs, Self Publishing


Knowing your self-publishing costs is a very important step in getting your manuscript off your computer and onto bookshelves! Understanding the cost to publish a book will help you to assess whether self-publishing is the right option for you.

This article is not to tell you the actual cost to self-publish a book, as that is dependent on the vendors you choose. However, what this article will do is provide you with some things to consider when it comes to your book budget.

Understanding self publishing costs


As a self-published author, it is your responsibility to handle all costs associated with publishing your book. This includes everything from purchasing an ISBN to marketing your book. Once you have an idea of all of the costs to publish a book, you can begin the planning process.


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Book budgets are useful as they allow you to see the monies you need to expend versus those self-publishing tasks you can handle on your own. This is an important step in the publishing process and can be implemented as early as your book only being an idea.


Once you take all of the below-mentioned areas into consideration you’ll have a good idea of the costs associated with publishing your book. 

Consider these self publishing costs




The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code that identifies your book.


Book Cover Design

A graphic designer will create a professional book cover illustrating the content of your book. The cover will be the first thing your readers see, so be mindful as first impressions go a long way.


Cover Photo

Writers can go with the more affordable option of stock photography or have a professional photo shoot that will bring their own ideas and creativity to life. You will also need to decide if you are going to include a headshot on your book cover, which will be an additional cost.


Book Editing

This is an area you don’t want to skimp on. An editor will be essential in helping you present a polished finished copy to your audience. A professional editor will catch grammatical, spelling and formatting errors and advise of any flow and context issues. Book editing will likely be where you spend the majority of your self publishing costs.



As a self-publisher it is your responsibility to register your manuscript with the Library of Congress.



While some people choose to typeset their books in programs they already own like MS Word, there are professionals who will typeset your book and provide more options for your inside book text.


Graphic Design

A graphic designer will design your book cover, book posters, business cards, and bookmarks.


Website Design

Whether you choose to hire someone to create your website or use a free platform like WordPress or Blogger there may be costs such as domain registration and hosting associated with creating your website.


Promotional items

Although entirely optional, writers usually have promotional items for book signings and book release parties. These include bookmarks, flyers, business cards, and posters.



Don’t forget miscellaneous items like credit card processors, the costs associated with book release parties, shipping, packaging, table dressings, office supplies, and bookstands.



Aside from the first run of books you publish, there are usually set up fees charged by the printer, along with fees for proof copies. Be sure to include all of these self publishing costs when considering how much your first print run will cost.


Advertising, marketing, and public relations

Again entirely optional, but some writers purchase advertising on social media, radio, magazines and television to further get the word out about their book. In addition to advertising costs, there are also companies that will assist with marketing your titles as well as PR companies that will help you get media exposure.


Once you have the cost to publish a book, you can then figure out exactly how many books you will need to sell in order to break even versus making a profit. This exercise will also help you to make a decision on whether you want to publish an eBook/Kindle/Nook option or go the paperback route.


NEXT: Marketing A Self Published Book – Take Charge Of Your Marketing Now!