Budgeting for self-publishing your book

Budgeting for self-publishing

How much should you budget for publishing your book?

How much is your time worth?


How much is your time worth

Photo by Elti Meshau from Pexels

Imagine a man visits you out of the blue, one day. You don’t know where or when. You don’t know if you will meet him in 10 years or 10 seconds. He sits down opposite you. He says,

“You are going to die in a week. I can give you ten thousand dollars, or ten thousand minutes.”

Which would you pick? Would you take the extra money to live the last week lavishly, or take the extra week to live as you are? What’s more important to you? Your time, or money?

We don’t all have the time we need to give to publishing. It’s eaten up by work to pay bills, kids, spouses, parents, obligations, hobbies, ‘real life’ responsibilities. We don’t have the money because of the exact same reasons. But you can only pick one. How much worth do you give your time?

Photo by Jordan Benton from Pexels

You’ve decided to do it all yourself:

If you want to do it yourself be prepared to spend the hours and hours, you need to figure out how to market well, promote well, edit and design well. Not average, but well.  If you want your book to sell, you need to make it look professional.

You’re expected to learn a whole host of different areas. How much time will you give yourself to learn those services? To meet the bare minimum of quality that publishing expects?


You’ve decided to outsource to others:

Those who offer good services have been in the industry for years and have committed their time and their work hours to crafting their skills in that one field.

Are you willing to put that money up as the investment into your business and build a team of professionals around you that will give you the greatest chance of selling your book?


“I don’t need to invest right away.”

This attitude won’t sell your book right away. Out of your competition, how many of those authors invested? When readers scroll through the multitude of book covers on Amazon they’re spoiled for choice. If the reader isn’t familiar with who you are a book that looks professional compared to one that looks average will win out every time. Whether it be through teaching yourself the skills of high quality design or editing, or hiring a professional, investment comes from time or money. When you invest in your book, your readers will invest in you.


How much does it cost to self-publish a book in total?

Hiring your editors, a cover designer, and then publishing your book can cost you between $2,500-$4000. This amount will obviously fluctuate depending on who you hire and/or what you decide to do yourself.

Hiring your editor

The average cost of editing:

You can read about the different types of editing here in my later section, but the average price for editing your self-published book can cost anything from $600-$1800. This includes hiring a couple of different editors, and normally content editing is more expensive than copy editing. It also depends on how tight your book is before sending it off to editors, obviously the cleaner it already is the less tweaking it needs, the lower the cost. It’s helpful for you to know at least the basics of good writing and what to look for before sending it to anyone to read.

The average cost of cover design

My package price point for book cover design falls into the average price for good quality work in the self-publishing industry. Anything from $350-900 for the cover will get you solid cover design, something unique to your book.

The average cost of interior layout

Interior layout is something often overlooked for authors. Doing it yourself without understanding what layout needs is risky.

The point of interior design is to emerge your reader into the story in a way that is easy to digest, without creating any visual boundaries. You might think you can do your own interior design because it’s just setting it up in Word and uploading it into CreateSpace, right?

When it comes to designing the interior of your book your words should be invisible.
Wrong. How would you feel if your readers couldn’t keep reading, not because of your writing or story telling, but because it was painful to read? Their eyes tire quicker, it can create headaches, it’s uncomfortable to try to get through each line.

Typography design is very purposeful. When it comes to designing the interior of your book your words should be invisible. You don’t want anything to stand in the way of your reader enjoying your book and get hungry for the end.


So why should you hire an interior designer for your self-published book?

Let’s compare amateur interior book design to professional interior book design:

Bad interior layout example for book publishing

This is not pleasant to read. This creates eye strain. The moment the text itself draws attention it has failed its main purpose.

Good example of chapter page interior layout Good example of book interior layout


Text in book layout takes time to do well, each page requires individual attention. Because of this you can expect to pay between $500-$2500 for good quality layout that is the industry standard.


Extras you may find also yourself investing in:

  • Website domain name and hosting
  • Shipping cost for books
  • Software and programs for outputting design and formatting

Download our FREE budget worksheet to help you outline your publishing costs

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