Author Topic: Cost to self publish a book  (Read 742 times)

APP

Cost to self publish a book
« on: September 07, 2019, 02:23:16 AM »
I ran across this blob post a short while ago. While I found it interesting, I'd dispute some of the stated costs as being way too high!

Examples:

1) I have an excellent copyeditor, and I don't pay anywhere near the price suggested by the post.

2) I buy excellent high-quality premade covers, which don't cost me anywhere near the price suggested by the post.

3) I don't pay anything for formatting. Rather I use the excellent scrivener writing program that will export my manuscript to epub, mobi, etc.

https://blog.reedsy.com/cost-to-self-publish-a-book/
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2019, 02:28:13 AM »
This is totally an ad for their course.

And most of those prices were ridiculous in order to make the course seem more necessary. The cover costs in particular are just mental.
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.

  

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Denise

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2019, 02:47:08 AM »
Funny cause the comments are from months, some from years ago.

I think they just re-published the article.

I think it looks really bad for Reedsy to provide articles completely off the indie scene, but on the other hand,  maybe this is aimed at noobs who would look for services at Reedsy, and the overestimation might help authors think they're getting "cheap" services.
 
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notthatamanda

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2019, 02:51:00 AM »
This is totally an ad for their course.

And most of those prices were ridiculous in order to make the course seem more necessary. The cover costs in particular are just mental.
And you don't need an editor or formatter or even a cover artist.  I didn't have any of those for my first book, and Amazon let me use their cover creator and publish anyway.  I am not recommending this, but it certainly is possible.
 

LilyBLily

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2019, 05:15:35 AM »
Paying $500 to $1,000 to format a book is just crazy. Interior design is meaningless to a person using a phone or a Kindle or other reader. "I want my book in Baskerville" does not compute when it comes to ebooks.

I would take all the budget for the other editing services and bundle it into the budget for a developmental edit, because that is worth big bucks--but one has to find the right editor; otherwise it's a waste of money. And then one has to listen to what that editor says rather than exercising one's indie privilege of being intransigent. Grin

 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2019, 05:56:48 AM »
I'm sure one could spend what the article suggests, but some of the costs are definitely not the norm.

I use cover designers who are definitely not novices, but they charge within what's supposed to be novice-range. And they don't automatically charge for other iterations. In fact, one of them explicitly rolls in as many redos as are necessary to satisfy the customer.

As for formatting, I agree with LilyBLily. A lot of the fussy formatting is controlled by the device and the settings chosen by the reader, so what a formatter may do is largely lost in an ebook. It makes a lot more difference in an ebook, but something like Vellum will work for a reasonable cost, and even D2D's free formatting is supposed to be pretty good. (A professional formatter is going to produce fancier paperbacks, but unless an author sells primarily in paperback, the extra money is probably not going to affect royalties very much.

Editing is definitely the place where an author may need to spend more. I've run across a lot of editors who charge in the price range mentioned. Even there, it is possible to find less expensive but still good by shopping around.


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Simon Haynes

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2019, 03:14:23 PM »
I have volunteers for proofing, beta readers to find plot holes, and I make my own covers.

Starting with a zero cost base means the books are 'successful' if they bring in anything at all week by week.

I couldn't sleep nights if I was outlaying thousands on a book before I knew whether people wanted to read it or not.
 

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cecilia_writer

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2019, 10:00:51 PM »

I couldn't sleep nights if I was outlaying thousands on a book before I knew whether people wanted to read it or not.

My approach is very similar. I have been the only earner in my family for over 20 years and I am financially very risk-averse.
I go through various stages of editing and proof-reading. This makes the final stages of producing a novel go very slowly, which is frustrating as I write quite fast, but I think the effort is worthwhile.
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WasAnn

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2019, 11:35:25 PM »
While I do pay quite a lot for some covers, my average is only around 350 bucks. Editing I don't stint on at all, because it's the most important as far as I'm concerned. Formatting is a total waste of money because it really only matters on the print version, like everyone else said.

To me, that really does look like an ad for their services.


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LilyBLily

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2019, 11:54:43 PM »
I have volunteers for proofing, beta readers to find plot holes, and I make my own covers.

Starting with a zero cost base means the books are 'successful' if they bring in anything at all week by week.

I couldn't sleep nights if I was outlaying thousands on a book before I knew whether people wanted to read it or not.

I do the opposite. I hire professionals to do the tasks I know I'm bad at. Although I started out five years ago with volunteer beta readers, I soon learned they weren't dependable and switched to paid beta readers. That adds to my costs. Each book will usually run around $600 to produce, including beta reading, ISBN, and copyright application costs. I can't pull that out of my discretionary spending every month, but I definitely can several times a year.

Marketing costs have to be considered, too. That's why a book's production costs can take a while to amortize, because even advertising that is directly profitable adds to the base cost of the book before I can declare it to have earned out. I have some titles that probably will never earn out and some that have done so since the first month of publication. As one might expect, I am proudest at having written some of those non-earners.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2019, 12:03:37 AM »
Reedsy is like a white-glove service. Imagine you took a limo to O'Hare Airport instead of hopping on the Chicago subway train that also goes there. That's Reedsy. Or you took a cab. That's a cheaper service. Or you had a relative or friend drive you. Also legit. There are numerous ways to get to the airport. What we worry about is the cab ride from the unregistered vehicle that overcharges you and dumps you at the wrong terminal, or even the wrong airport. That is the vanity-style service that leaves you with 1k print books moldering in your garage that can't be amortized unless you charge $31.50 per copy.



 
 

Eclectic Dan

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2019, 05:13:23 AM »
The cover art prices did not seem to be unreasonable, especially if you want something unique rather than the same piece of stock art dozens of other self-published authors are using.  Editing doesn't seem totally out of line either.  Will vary, of course, based on the specific editor.  As far as formatting costs go, we don't know how the authors are providing the formatters with their book.  Some documents might require a lot more cleanup and work than others.  So, that will naturally vary.

I use free volunteers for proofreading and beta reading.  Of course, I proofread myself first.  I used to be a proponent for spending money on covers and editing; if you wanted to be a professional writer, how could you not invest money for a good cover and editing, especially editing, to ensure you were putting out the best work that you could?  Oh, those were the days.  I'm in the self-editing crowd now, out of economic necessity.  Maybe, one day, my books will have sold enough copies to recoup what I spent on a cover and editing for my first three books.  So, there's a lesson there too, that even if you spend decent money on a cover and editing, that doesn't mean your book will actually sell, which leads me back to the self-editing argument.
     
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2019, 03:16:46 PM »
Maybe, one day, my books will have sold enough copies to recoup what I spent on a cover and editing for my first three books.  So, there's a lesson there too, that even if you spend decent money on a cover and editing, that doesn't mean your book will actually sell, which leads me back to the self-editing argument.

Exactly. I self-pubbed my first novel in 2000/2001, and it's gone through four rewrites, two titles and at least 20 covers since then. There are people reading my books now who weren't even born when that early first edition was published.

Had I spent 10 or 15 grand on printed copies back then (one of the few self-pub options at the time, and something I was considering) I probably would have given up after one novel. I would never have come back from that.

I see my books as ongoing experiments, and I'll keep tinkering until I find the right combination. Then I'll leave well alone.
 

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Hopscotch

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2019, 04:06:34 PM »
I see my books as ongoing experiments, and I'll keep tinkering until I find the right combination. Then I'll leave well alone.

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She-la-te-da

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2019, 06:23:48 PM »
I'm of two minds about paying prices for services like this. One side is that if someone wants to pay to have things done for them, fine. It's their money. But I think they need to educate themselves and then decide what they want to do, and how much they want to spend. And they need to be realistic about how it actually goes when selling books. For the majority of authors, they'll sell few to no copies, never be successful, never recoup those costs.

On the other hand, I think it's still possible to write, produce and market books with close to zero costs, provided you have a computer, Word or something like it, and access to the Internet. I don't think most people can or should do it, but it's possible. Again, it comes down to knowledge and acceptance that you aren't likely to be that easy, quick success story you hear about.

The vast majority of people I see around the web that want to be writers have no clue. They don't know how to write, meaning how to tell stories. Sure, they can put together sentences, kind of get the story down, but they fill forums with basic questions, expecting to get the skills in a short reply. They've often spent years "world building", which to me means they daydream a lot. They typically have nothing beyond a story where they're basically the main character and there are vague ideas of plot.

Anyway, it's early, and I'm rambling. :P
I write various flavors of speculative fiction. This is my main pen name.

 
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sandree

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2019, 09:49:47 PM »
I am debating all of this right now as I just finished a rough draft of my second book. I know I canít spend what I did on the first one. I am now aware of how little income may come from my writing at this point. I do want to continue but thatís another topic.

Iím learning photoshop from a great Udemy course and hope to do my own cover this time. I have Vellum, so no problem with the formatting.

Now just need to figure out how much beta reading and editing to spring for. Iím considering paying for beta reading, doing my own editing then skipping right to a good proofread. But it makes me nervous - Iím not sure I have that much confidence in my own abilities yet. Maybe I can find someone who does a combination of copyediting with proofreading. Any recommendations, Iím interested.

The editor I used the first time resulted in quite a few glaring proofreading misses that I caught after I published. Lesson learned - I will always be the final proofreader. Which makes me wonder - why am I paying someone for that? Maybe itís copyediting I need? Argh!
 
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notthatamanda

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2019, 10:22:06 PM »
I don't know if Vellum has a read aloud option but read aloud is really helpful to me.  Even though the robotic voice on Word is so monotonous to listen to, I catch a lot of stuff with it.  If Vellum doesn't have it there are other programs out there that can read aloud for you, but I don't know them specifically, sorry.  I had two beta readers and an editor for my last book, they all caught different stuff, but I still caught a lot of stuff with read aloud.
 
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JRTomlin

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2019, 04:03:55 AM »
Except for formatting their prices aren't all that far off for a lot of us, but you certainly don't have to pay that much. I consider their suggested price for formatting a joke though.   

Like LilyBLily I pay for what I don't feel I can do at a professional level. I can write and if I need a content editor at this point, I'll shoot myself. (don't plan on it)

But I suck at proofreading and my idea of cover design would be stick figures so I pay for those. I would say their estimates on those are a little on the high side, but not by a huge amount. I wouldn't pay what they mention for a novice cover designer. But you can get one with experience for the $500 range.

But I also make a living at this gig and all my novels, even after paying for service, do make money. If they didn't, I would no doubt have a different take on it.

ETA: One thing, unless you are paying specifically for both editing and proofreading, editors are not proofreaders. They will generally mark stuff they happen to notice, but proofreading is not an editor's job.



 
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Denise

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2019, 05:20:51 AM »
Except for formatting their prices aren't all that far off for a lot of us, but you certainly don't have to pay that much. I consider their suggested price for formatting a joke though.   


Yes, but they have no clue what they're talking about.

Check one of their tips for saving money:

"3. Request a photo-based cover design
This one may be hard to hear, but if you really want to cut design costs, go with a photo-based cover rather than an illustrated one. The trick is to get a designer who can make it look classy and professional, not like something you made in MS Word. With a little bit of searching, youíre sure to find someone who can achieve that perfect balance for a reasonable price."

If they're talking about illustrated covers, then their prices are actually super decent, but most genres don't use illustrated covers. They also don't talk about the difference between heavy-manipulated covers and simple photo and title treatment, or even stuff like DAZ or other 3-d based covers. They are different, the cost is different, and they are used for different genres. They also don't mention premades, which would be a great tip for authors wanting to save on covers.

It really shows that whoever wrote this doesn't know anything about indie covers. If they don't know anything about covers, how can their advice on cover pricing be any decent?
 

JRTomlin

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2019, 07:54:11 AM »
Except for formatting their prices aren't all that far off for a lot of us, but you certainly don't have to pay that much. I consider their suggested price for formatting a joke though.   


Yes, but they have no clue what they're talking about.

Check one of their tips for saving money:

"3. Request a photo-based cover design
This one may be hard to hear, but if you really want to cut design costs, go with a photo-based cover rather than an illustrated one. The trick is to get a designer who can make it look classy and professional, not like something you made in MS Word. With a little bit of searching, youíre sure to find someone who can achieve that perfect balance for a reasonable price."

If they're talking about illustrated covers, then their prices are actually super decent, but most genres don't use illustrated covers. They also don't talk about the difference between heavy-manipulated covers and simple photo and title treatment, or even stuff like DAZ or other 3-d based covers. They are different, the cost is different, and they are used for different genres. They also don't mention premades, which would be a great tip for authors wanting to save on covers.

It really shows that whoever wrote this doesn't know anything about indie covers. If they don't know anything about covers, how can their advice on cover pricing be any decent?
Oh, I agree with you there. I would not go to that article for good advice. I was strictly talking about the price ranges they suggest.

When it comes to covers, their price range is pretty close to what most people pay except for the 'novice' one. I have paid a top price (more than they mention) for illustrated covers which if you are getting an experienced professional--one who has worked for major publishers--cost a lot. But you sure don't have to have one and it might even be a bad idea in a lot of genres. It happens they work in HF but I suspect would fall flat in romance. (I have decided after going both ways that I can buy a cover that works well for me for the $500 range and don't need to pay the well over $1000 for illustrated covers)

They may have asked around and found a price range that at least in part wasn't far off for cover design or it may have been pure luck. Their prices on formatting show they haven't a clue really as well as the other things you mention.

I don't know if there is an article around that is more knowledgeable. That one, as you say, is not.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2019, 02:45:59 PM »
I'm of two minds about paying prices for services like this. One side is that if someone wants to pay to have things done for them, fine. It's their money. But I think they need to educate themselves and then decide what they want to do, and how much they want to spend. And they need to be realistic about how it actually goes when selling books. For the majority of authors, they'll sell few to no copies, never be successful, never recoup those costs.
<snip>

In 2014 I spent $320 and took 18 short courses on writing craft and on self-publishing concerns such as uploading to different vendors, formatting an ebook, designing a cover in PhotoShop, and creating a website. Thereafter, I saved a ton of aggravation by deciding not to attempt certain things for which it was patently obvious I lacked ability or interest.

In my first years as an indie, I tried various copyeditors and proofreaders; many of the people calling themselves copyeditors were incompetent and some had bizarre notions about their professional responsibilities to a manuscript. Now I self-edit, and I get one inexpensive proofreading pass. It seems to be enough.

I do not recommend self-editing to anyone who doesn't have top-notch skills or won't commit to the labor of reading an entire book aloud or doing some other kind of formal proofreading pass.   
 
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KFaitour

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2019, 12:34:39 AM »
Iím learning photoshop from a great Udemy course and hope to do my own cover this time.

Hey, Sandree--what Udemy course are you taking for photoshop? I've been farming around for some recommendations. Thanks in advance for your help!

Kat Faitour | katfaitour.com
 

sandree

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2019, 01:07:32 AM »
Iím learning photoshop from a great Udemy course and hope to do my own cover this time.

Hey, Sandree--what Udemy course are you taking for photoshop? I've been farming around for some recommendations. Thanks in advance for your help!

Itís this one - https://www.udemy.com/adobe-photoshop-cc-essentials-training-course/

There is a follow up by the same teacher that is an advanced class. I like the way he progresses through the program and presents in small chunks, though he speaks very quickly and I often have to go back and listen and watch again to catch just what he said or what he clicked on.

Good luck. Photoshop is a beast! It has so much capability that I find it very challenging.
 
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JRTomlin

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2019, 01:09:19 AM »
One of the best ways to learn to self-edit is by being edited by a really good editor. The trick for an indy is finding a good editor. There are quite a few who claim to be and aren't.

 
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sandree

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2019, 04:36:17 AM »
One of the best ways to learn to self-edit is by being edited by a really good editor. The trick for an indy is finding a good editor. There are quite a few who claim to be and aren't.

So how do you find one who is good? Any recommendations?
 
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Twolane

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2019, 10:30:47 PM »
Trust Dean Wesley Smith to address the myth, as he does many writing myths:

https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/dumbest-new-myth-in-writing/

Quote
And flat couldnít believe that such silliness was out there, so I went and looked, and yup, itís a real thing. And sadly, writers of all levels are believing it. And this myth is stopping them cold. Or worse yet, sending them toward traditional publishing.

I know if I believed it, I would be stopped.

So what is this new myth???

ďIt takes four to five thousand dollars to publish an indie book.Ē

Edited to add that it appears as though Reedsy bumped a three-year-old blog post (going by the date of most of the comments) by changing the year in the title.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 11:43:36 PM by Twolane »
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2019, 12:22:31 AM »
One of the best ways to learn to self-edit is by being edited by a really good editor. The trick for an indy is finding a good editor. There are quite a few who claim to be and aren't.

So how do you find one who is good? Any recommendations?

First you learn the difference between a developmental, a line, and a copy edit and decide which you want. They are quite different. The developmental editor helps you decide what to keep, what to add, and what to throw out to make a good story. The line editor helps you hew to the story you've now attempted to tell. And the copyeditor checks your mechanics, calls out various kinds of research errors, and helps you make your prose intelligible. How expensive and protracted each type of edit is depends entirely on what you present. 

If the story is just fine but you want a copyedit, you take a five-page sample from the middle of your ms. and you send it to at least three to five copyeditors whom you've determined you can afford. See what they do. Then you pick one. Lots of recommendations around. (I can't recommend anyone because I don't use them. I'm a copyeditor myself, nonfiction only, and for me that pass is a waste of money.) 
 
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idontknowyet

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2019, 01:08:43 AM »
Now just need to figure out how much beta reading and editing to spring for. Iím considering paying for beta reading, doing my own editing then skipping right to a good proofread. But it makes me nervous - Iím not sure I have that much confidence in my own abilities yet. Maybe I can find someone who does a combination of copyediting with proofreading. Any recommendations, Iím interested.

This is where I am at. My thoughts are to pay for several beta readers then a good proofread at the end.
Beta reading seems to be the most important part. If you have a good story, regular readers will be more forgiving of errors not millions of errors, but the few that slip through the cracks.

I am also perplexed you hear all these people saying you need to find good editors but until you've actually spent the money to find out they are bad editors you don't have a clue. I'm also pretty sure I can't afford the really good ones that cost several thousand per book with my rapid release schedule.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2019, 01:15:19 AM by idontknowyet »
 

Betty Blast

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2019, 02:26:54 AM »
I've been thinking about this often lately. It seems to come down to a balance of time and money. Even if you design your own cover, self edit, and use free marketing tactics, you're still investing a great deal of time.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2019, 05:57:58 AM »
I pay for one to three beta readers, and after I make changes based on their comments, I may send the ms. to yet another beta reader. Most beta readers charge almost nothing when one considers the number of hours it takes to read the ms., let alone comment on it. That's yet another reason I try to send to betas who like my subgenre. I can think of nothing worse than forcing oneself to read a book in a genre one doesn't like. Being "willing" isn't enough.
 
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Lynn

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2019, 08:22:57 AM »
And you don't need an editor or formatter or even a cover artist.  I didn't have any of those for my first book, and Amazon let me use their cover creator and publish anyway.  I am not recommending this, but it certainly is possible.

No one touches my books before I make them live. :)

I edit my own work.

I make my own covers. Three times I purchased covers from designers but couldn't bring myself to put them on my books in the end. I prefer my own, because I can keep control over the series branding without waiting on someone else's timeline and rebrand as often as I want instead of as often as it makes financial sense to do so. It was a total waste of $450. The covers were pretty mind you, but every time I looked at them, there was just too much baggage and doubt. So I filed them away and consider it lesson learned. I want to do my books my way.

I do my own formatting of paper books and ebooks.

I buy stock art and photos, font licenses, and software when needed. Those are my only costs to publish, other than my time. And I love the excitement and challenge of learning new things, so none of this felt like a hardship.

The entire point of indie publishing for me is to be able to do things the way I want to do them. :D

Publishing can be as expensive or inexpensive as any indie wants it to be these days.

The biggest problem I still see in indie publishing online is that so many authors who haven't even put out three or four books yet are telling other publishers how to run their business. :D

Definitely take advice from people who've been doing it long enough to run into the pitfalls of bad money decisions when it comes to publishing and not those who are just telling you what they've been told by other newbie publishers.

And it never hurts to remember that there are the one-percenters and then everyone else. Spending big early on isn't usually the distinguishing factor. :D
 
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LeRaith

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Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2019, 08:10:33 PM »
I read the article.  Proofreading $600.00?  Get Grammarly and ProWriting Aid.  $500.00 for formatting?  Get Vellum.  Cover design?  Learn to use Canva.

I can publish a non-fiction book for zero dollars (Unsplash for the cover image; Canva to make the cover; have subscriptions to Grammarly and ProWriting for editing; own Vellum for the eBook and the paperback).  I may pay for a cover but I don't have to.

For fiction, I will always buy a cover even if I design what I want using Canva.  This is one place I'll spend money but you can spend what you can afford and can get covers that can hit most genres for under a hundred bucks. You can spend more on covers if you know you're hitting your niche and will make your money back. 

Editors of all description, beta readers, and other helpers are wholly optional.  Wait till you're making money to pay for them unless you have a problem with English. 

« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 08:46:09 PM by LeRaith »
 

Arches

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2019, 03:14:54 AM »
I'm sure one could spend what the article suggests, but some of the costs are definitely not the norm.

I use cover designers who are definitely not novices, but they charge within what's supposed to be novice-range. And they don't automatically charge for other iterations. In fact, one of them explicitly rolls in as many redos as are necessary to satisfy the customer.

As for formatting, I agree with LilyBLily. A lot of the fussy formatting is controlled by the device and the settings chosen by the reader, so what a formatter may do is largely lost in an ebook. It makes a lot more difference in an ebook, but something like Vellum will work for a reasonable cost, and even D2D's free formatting is supposed to be pretty good. (A professional formatter is going to produce fancier paperbacks, but unless an author sells primarily in paperback, the extra money is probably not going to affect royalties very much.

Editing is definitely the place where an author may need to spend more. I've run across a lot of editors who charge in the price range mentioned. Even there, it is possible to find less expensive but still good by shopping around.

I agree with Bill. There is a sweet spot between the ridiculous prices quoted by Reedsy and trying to do it all yourself. I format my own books, but I farm out covers and editing.

The most important sales tool is your cover, and the prices being charged by many very skilled cover artists are a steal. I just paid $135 for a new cover by an excellent cover designer who made a limited number of changes to a stock photo but had the skill to do it quickly.

Like Bill, I also recommend a good copy editor and maybe a proofreader. Despite what some people's claim that having a good understanding of English is enough, very few people seem to be able to self-edit successfully. The biggest objection I see to self-published books is the number of writing errors. I've been speaking and writing English for six decades, it is my native tongue, but my editors always catch many errors despite me giving each book three drafts. Lots of editors are constantly offering deals on Kboards.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #33 on: September 16, 2019, 03:48:29 AM »
Like Bill, I also recommend a good copy editor and maybe a proofreader. Despite what some people's claim that having a good understanding of English is enough, very few people seem to be able to self-edit successfully. The biggest objection I see to self-published books is the number of writing errors. I've been speaking and writing English for six decades, it is my native tongue, but my editors always catch many errors despite me giving each book three drafts. Lots of editors are constantly offering deals on Kboards.

I agree. Even having been a professional proofreader and copyeditor for many decades, when I self-published my first books I hired copyeditors. I quickly learned that none I could afford were offering me any significant insights into my mechanics. My grammar didn't get changed. An occasional regionalism got caught, but otherwise I was wasting my money. This is not likely to be the case for many novice indies. It's better to use a copyeditor than to get a review dinging your grammar.

I still hire a proofreader because no one is perfect and no proofreading pass will catch everything. Having done so takes the moral responsibility for perfection off me, which means one less thing to worry about. 
 

elleoco

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #34 on: September 16, 2019, 11:37:34 AM »
Paying $500 to $1,000 to format a book is just crazy.

Not just an ebook. If you budget $1,000 for formatting, I think you could buy Vellum (print and ebook version) and a used Mac of recent enough manufacture date to run it.

JRTomlin

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2019, 10:50:51 AM »
I read the article.  Proofreading $600.00?  Get Grammarly and ProWriting Aid.  $500.00 for formatting?  Get Vellum.  Cover design?  Learn to use Canva.

I can publish a non-fiction book for zero dollars (Unsplash for the cover image; Canva to make the cover; have subscriptions to Grammarly and ProWriting for editing; own Vellum for the eBook and the paperback).  I may pay for a cover but I don't have to.

For fiction, I will always buy a cover even if I design what I want using Canva.  This is one place I'll spend money but you can spend what you can afford and can get covers that can hit most genres for under a hundred bucks. You can spend more on covers if you know you're hitting your niche and will make your money back. 

Editors of all description, beta readers, and other helpers are wholly optional.  Wait till you're making money to pay for them unless you have a problem with English.
I am sorry but I have to strongly disagree on your first point. Neither Grammarly or ProWritingAid will do a sufficient job of proofreading. Not even close. If you can't do a good enough job yourself (and frankly I suck at proofreading) send it to a proofreader. Do not depend on a software solution. They will often make as many errors as they catch.

Proofreading, unless you are unusual, is one place that it is worth putting out some money. The only thing either of those will do is possibly reduce the number of errors for your proofreader to catch and only that if you are good enough to tell when their advice is wrong.

That said, you can find a good proofread in the $100-$150 range.
 
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LeRaith

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Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2019, 12:14:34 PM »
I read the article.  Proofreading $600.00?  Get Grammarly and ProWriting Aid.  $500.00 for formatting?  Get Vellum.  Cover design?  Learn to use Canva.

I can publish a non-fiction book for zero dollars (Unsplash for the cover image; Canva to make the cover; have subscriptions to Grammarly and ProWriting for editing; own Vellum for the eBook and the paperback).  I may pay for a cover but I don't have to.

For fiction, I will always buy a cover even if I design what I want using Canva.  This is one place I'll spend money but you can spend what you can afford and can get covers that can hit most genres for under a hundred bucks. You can spend more on covers if you know you're hitting your niche and will make your money back. 

Editors of all description, beta readers, and other helpers are wholly optional.  Wait till you're making money to pay for them unless you have a problem with English.
I am sorry but I have to strongly disagree on your first point. Neither Grammarly or ProWritingAid will do a sufficient job of proofreading. Not even close. If you can't do a good enough job yourself (and frankly I suck at proofreading) send it to a proofreader. Do not depend on a software solution. They will often make as many errors as they catch.

Proofreading, unless you are unusual, is one place that it is worth putting out some money. The only thing either of those will do is possibly reduce the number of errors for your proofreader to catch and only that if you are good enough to tell when their advice is wrong.

That said, you can find a good proofread in the $100-$150 range.

That sounds like arguing.














 

elleoco

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2019, 03:41:20 PM »
That said, you can find a good proofread in the $100-$150 range.

If that price range is true, proofreaders are either seriously underpricing their work or that "good" adjective doesn't belong in the sentence.

I don't know about anyone else, but as someone who has done a lot of proofreading in her life (legal secretary) and is pretty good at it, I can't even imagine how much someone would have to offer to get me to proofread their novel. And no matter how high the price, I'd have to need the money badly.

LilyBLily

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #38 on: September 18, 2019, 12:06:21 AM »
That said, you can find a good proofread in the $100-$150 range.

If that price range is true, proofreaders are either seriously underpricing their work or that "good" adjective doesn't belong in the sentence.

I don't know about anyone else, but as someone who has done a lot of proofreading in her life (legal secretary) and is pretty good at it, I can't even imagine how much someone would have to offer to get me to proofread their novel. And no matter how high the price, I'd have to need the money badly.

I agree, but there seem to be two tiers when it comes to these things. I get where Reedsy's prices are coming from, but most indies can't afford pro services and settle for people offering these services whose skills are possibly good and who are willing to do the work for a pittance. How much of a pittance varies, and so do their skill levels. Caveat emptor.
 

JRTomlin

Re: Cost to self publish a book
« Reply #39 on: September 18, 2019, 11:49:17 AM »
I might should have said 'competent proofreader' at that price. You won't find a top-flight one for that. I know of several proofreaders who have good reputations who do average length novels for that price range though.

And I do think proofreaders probably should charge more than they do. On the other hand, I admit I'm glad that most of them don't.