I’ve been keen to self-publish my novels for years and years now. So you may ask… why have you taken so long? Besides not wanting to rush into things, I have a confession to make: I’m not in the best spot financially, and while there’s always something romantic about the idea of being a ‘starving artist’, I’m afraid that’s only if you live in Paris.
I’ll take a guess that most self-published authors will really struggle to afford the costs associated with producing a good quality book. So what options do we have? One is to publish our books without a professional edit and book cover – an option that is not only harmful to our own brand, but that of all indie authors.
Most authors will tell you it’s absolutely essential to get your book edited professionally and find a marvelous book cover designer – and they say you should do this as a bare minimum. I have to agree. If you haven’t already, please go check out Lousy Book Covers.
Now that you’re back, you’re probably wondering… how much will all this publishing stuff cost so I can avoid making the lousy list? And is there any way to shave costs and not make a fool of myself when book launch day rolls around?
Yes, there is!
For a long time I believed self-publishing would set me back at least $2,0000-3,000 AUD per book. After receiving a few helpful hints from a number of published authors, I managed to find a reasonably priced editor and book cover company.
So if I, the Queen of Starving Artists and Baked Beans on Toast, can manage to get a book cover done and at least one round of professional editing, then you my friend, have no excuse.
The Book Cover Designer (AUD $176)
After shopping around I found a wonderful company called The Cover Collection that was offering book cover designs at an affordable price. So how do they do this? While they do have the more expensive ‘custom cover design’ option (they are fully booked out for the next 4 months), you can actually buy one of their unique premade eBook covers for only $88 AUD!
You can always upgrade your book later to a paperback version when your manuscript is finished (you need a final page count to get the design completed as the spine width varies based on page count). A paperback cover will cost an additional $88 AUD, but the best things is, you don’t have to buy both packages at the same time. This works really well for those of us who might find it hard to offer up $176 AUD in one go.
One of the scariest things about being a self-published author is not knowing if a company is the real deal. Sure, they may have a list of testimonials, but how reliable are they really? I selected my editor via word-of-mouth, but I took a leap of faith when it came to my cover designer. Luckily, I can assure you that The Cover Collection were wonderful to work with: quick, professional and talented.
Still not sure? Here’s my cover:
The Editing Company (AUD $594)
One of my author friends directed me to their own editor over at Hot Tree Editing and instructed I try their copy and line editing package. For a 60,000 word novel (the average length of my novels) they quote AUD $594 for copy and line editing. For a few extra dollars you can get the content and line editing package (AUD $675.)
There are plenty of other trustworthy editing services out there, so it’s probably a good idea if you conduct your own research and find an editor that best fits your own budget. No time to research and don’t know where to start? You can always take advantage of the research of others, like Joanna Penn and her flipping awesome list of recommended editors.
There are plenty of other hidden expenses associated with self-publishing:
- social media promotion
- book trailers
- home office expenditures
- website fees
- software licenses
- author/proof copies
- venue hire (book launch)
And the list goes on…
How much you spend on other expenses really does depend on your budget. If you’re on a strict plan like me, you’ll (hopefully) focus on producing a quality book versus splurging hundreds of dollars on advertisement and social media promotion.
If you do decide to skip professional editing, the downside is that the quality of your books will suffer and they may stand little chance of competing well against traditionally published books or professionally edited self-published books.
I think it depends on whether or not you’re willing to take the risk, jump ahead and publish your books without professional help. But me? I’m waiting until I can afford a book cover designer and a professional editor – at the very least.
P.s feel free to share your own adivce!