Camilla Chester continues her series by laying out the costs involved in self-publishing your book.

Costs are a major downside to self-publishing — there is no advance and the costs that would be covered by a traditional publisher have to be met. If you’re lucky you will break even, if you’re super lucky you’ll make a profit, but it is unlikely (but not impossible) that you’ll get rich. The standard of self-published work has improved considerably. There is a lot of pride in the industry and any decent self-published author will not produce something that cannot sit alongside traditionally published books undetected. The costs of this to consider are: 

1.    Editing services
2.    Proofreading
3.    Cover design
4.    Production costs (ISBN, typesetting, file formatting etc.)
5.    Printing
6.    Marketing materials
7.    Promotion costs

There are lots of different ways to self-publish. The path you decide on may be governed by cost. 


Cheapest Option: Amazon

Once you have your error-free, beautifully written book you can publish with CreateSpace (print copies) and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) (ebokooks) for FREE and it is relatively easy. How it works is that you upload your manuscript onto the software that Amazon provide, set the pricing and go live. Orders are print on demand (POD) plus the delivery costs. It does mean that the pricing you choose will usually have to be higher than market price if you want to make a profit. This is the downside as it can really put buyers off if you’re not competitive.


Crowd Funding, e.g. Unbound

This is becoming an increasingly more popular way of publishing and is particularly good if you’re looking at something that is not ‘traditional’, e.g. an interactive book, or an app. You don’t pay out, but you look at avenues of raising the money to publish, usually through social media. There are some great SCWBI examples of this path such as Time Travellers Tours and authors such as Suzi Wilde who have published through Unbound.


Middle Range Option: DIY

Some brave self-published authors do the whole lot themselves. If you want to keep costs low, but need a big print run (plan on doing lots of author talks and maybe stalls etc. for selling books yourself) you may consider this route. You are the publisher so you need to purchase your bar codes and ISBNs, give six copies to the legal depost libraries, organise your cover design and liaise with a print company. It is the whole kit and caboodle but it is enormously satisfying to have complete ownership of your book. If you want an eBook you can still do KDP using your manuscript. There are ‘how to’ guides to this route and authors will tell you it sounds more complicated than it is.

 Most Expensive: Company

A lot of authors chose this path as it feels the ‘safest’. I will be going into this option in more detail in a later ‘How To’ article, so watch this space!

*Header image: Medieval printing press (Wikimedia Commons)

Camilla Chester writes for children aged 8 to 12. She has always written fiction, but after moving to Hertfordshire with her family in 2010, she enrolled onto an OU Creative Writing Course (receiving a distinction), joined several writing groups and then discovered the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) before publishing her debut, Jarred Dreams in 2016. Camilla’s second book EATS was out at the end of April 2017 and her third, Thirteenth Wish is due to be published in April 2018. In addition to being a children’s author Camilla runs a small dog-walking business.

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