Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How much I spent publishing my first book

I wondered for months about whether this post was appropriate, or not. I didn’t want to offend anyone, after all. But when I first considered self-publishing, knowing how much it cost to publish was one of the things I wanted to know. Of course, this is only a reflection of how much I spent and my reasoning behind them.

I spent $ 686 on publishing my book. 88% of the money went toward editing and the rest towards my book covers (e-book + print edition). For me, editing and the cover was the most important. I opted to do the formatting myself, because I couldn’t afford to hire anyone else to do it. I live in South Africa and at the time of publishing, the rand was R 12 to $1. Meaning, for the $ 686 I spent, in my own currency it worked out to R 8232. For me that’s a lot of money. I wasn’t working a proper day job during those times. I was working as my brother’s research assistant/ data capturer. I was paid whatever he could spare. So I had to publish on the budget I had. It’s not an excuse. It’s just the truth.

If you can believe it, hiring an American editor and cover artist was more affordable than hiring someone from my own country. I’m happy for both my editor and cover artist. They gave me two fantastic products, which I am over the moon with.

As you have read I didn’t have a marketing budget. At the time of preparing for the book’s release I didn’t feel like making a big deal of the release was what I wanted. So, I only tried marketing forms that were free. I mainly had my blogging friends help me out. As someone just starting out in publishing I thought it was the best choice for me.

So, that’s a breakdown of my costs. What do you think? Any questions?

36 comments :

  1. Hi Murees - firstly and most importantly I think you did really to self-publish at all - your book is now published and that's a great accomplishment. You have to take the costs that we can bear. Things cost - always ... but I think you did really well. The cost is gone .. but book will be with you for ever, and ever ...

    Take care - and write more .. .cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you, Hilary:) I think I did really well with the budget I had. I surprised myself:)

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  2. I think that's an awesome cover. I'm trying my hand at self-pubbing soon. I've got the cover and I've paid for the editing and formatting. Now, I just have to do finishing touches and get a final proof read. It's been an exciting process.

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    1. Congratulations! One definitely learns so much. Good-luck with the final details.

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  3. Editing/proofreading was my biggest expense, too. I think most indie authors find that to be the case. :)

    I think my formatting was my second biggest expense. I just didn't trust myself to do it on my own!

    I didn't—and still don't—have a marketing budget. Maybe for the next one?

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    1. I like the idea of using free tools, so I don't know if I will ever have a marketing budget:)

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  4. Thanks for sharing this. I have been thinking about self publishing soon, and have been slowly checking out options (emphasis on slowly, lol). Appreciate your candor and insight. Thanks also for stopping by my blog for Hilary's interview. She is a treasure, isn't she? :)

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    1. You are welcome. Hilary is wonderful. Good-luck with your publishing journey.

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  5. I think you got a bargain! And the cover art is really well done. Both the editing and the cover art are important and you were wise not to skimp on them.

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    1. Thank you, Alex. I also think I did well with my budget:)

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  6. Hi, new follower here! :) Thanks for sharing this! I had no idea exactly what kind of costs were associated, many people don't talking about it. But I love your cover, it's very well done :)

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    1. You are very welcome. Thank you so much for the follow. Every writer's self-publishing journey is different. So you can determine how much or how little you want to spend. Also, what is more of a priority for you. Good-luck.

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  7. I've wondered about costs. I know nothing about formatting or covers. Doesn't your cover person do the first cover for a low cost so you'll use her again? I seem to remember that. I would love to know how sales are, but if you don't want to answer, that's fine. Sometimes I'm still tempted to publish a book of my poetry as a legacy for my children, but I don't know how to do it. Willy Dunne Wooters would disapprove of any cost. Besides, no one would buy them.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I will write my next post for you about the sales part:) But no, I haven't gained back what I put in yet. You don't have to spend too much. Each person has their own budget. I know I would buy your book of poetry. If you need help, just let me know.

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  8. I know what you mean about editing and cover costs being so expensive to us. Especially when the exchange rate is as it is now.

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    1. Exactly. But it's all worth it after it's all said and done.

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  9. The cover was the biggest expense for my book too, but I think it's definitely worth paying for :)

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  10. I think you made wise decisions Murees and the main thing is that you're happy with your results. As always I wish you the best.

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    1. Thank you, Deanie. I feel the same way about you.

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  11. That's one reason I haven't self-published yet...I don't have that kind of money. But it seems you were really smart with what you could afford.

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    1. Thank you, Chrys. I know of writers who didn't pay a penny, because they did most of it themselves, or traded with other writers for editing, or cover design in return for a critique. Every self-publishing journey is different. You never know what kind of help will come your way.

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  12. You did really well. I know people who've spent twice or three times that just for editing and cover. I understand about the dollar vs local currency (mine's the Egyptian pound) and also not having a job. That's why I've done everything myself. Since I'm retired, I have no money to spend, but at least I have lots of free time to do everything! lol

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    1. Thank you, Lexa. I admire you for knowing how to do your own covers. I really want to make my own, but I don't think I have the skill, or eye for it. Free time is the most important. You are amazing.

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  13. Wow! I think you found a bargain editor! And, your cover is gorgeous! I paid my niece for the cover art - even if she's related, I didn't ask her to work for free. However, I did have friends, co-teachers, and family edit and it did cause me some problems - I'm going to invest in an editor next time . . . but I don't want to spend thousands of dollars.

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    1. I was lucky to find my editor, Janie Goltz. She's awesome. If you do most of the stuff yourself, you don't have to pay that much. You set your own budget, which is the best part:)

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  14. Hi Murees. Thank you for sharing this. I know people who have paid upwards of $3000 to self publish, that's for both print and ebook. I contacted your cover artist but she was a bit distracted as she awaited the birth of her baby, so I ended up doing it myself. I will get new covers when I release my second in the series. I don't have to pay for editing and I actually did the formatting myself just to see if I could. It's not that bad if you follow Amazon's directions. But costs vary so wildly. I've been to conferences where they say if you're paying anything under $3000 for an editor you don't have a good one. Huh? But no matter how wonderful your book is, without the right promotion it just sits there on Amazon and no one knows it's there. That's why we need a group to get together and work on this. Even paid promotions often only involve blog tours of the people you nominate (you can do this yourself) and getting your book out to reviewers (you can do this yourself up to a point). But really knowing all this stuff doesn't help. As a self-publisher our biggest enemy is time.

    Looking forward to hearing about sales. One of my blogger friends (well, known to everyone) has made $45 over years of having multiple books for sale. We're not in it for the money, but a few bucks would be nice, wouldn't it?

    Sorry I got carried away. I'm working on setting the record for the longest comment ever! LOL! I self-published just to learn all the aspects (I haven't subbed to traditional publishers--yet) and I'm such a mine of information which is pretty useless unless you have an extra 24 hours in the day.

    Cheers!

    Denise ;-)

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    1. No worries. I like comments and long ones are extra special:) I think you are amazing for making your own cover. It looks great! Spelling errors still creep up even if you pay thousands for editing. I know of writers who paid a lot and still found errors. I think you should spend as much as you feel comfortable with. No more than that. I agree, we definitely need help with promotion and reviews. That's what I've had the most problems with.

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  15. I think your were smart covering the two most important parts of the publishing process, editing and the cover! Yes, a bargain, and well worth it. Good luck with your marketing, but that will take a budget too. I'm still working on my own budget for such a task, but help from my blogging friends has been key - and is priceless!

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    1. Thank you. I am thinking of new ways to market and if I have to spend money, I want to choose an option that will definitely work. Best of luck to you as well.

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  16. I think the cost is why some self-publishers skimp on editing, which is a false economy in the end. Although it was a lot of money for you, I think the costs were very reasonable. As Denise said, you could have paid thousands!

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    1. Thank you, Annalisa. I definitely don't regret it.

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  17. Your book cover is beautiful. Really eye-catching. Thank you for
    sharing your costs with your readers. I know nothing about book
    publishing but the price sounds reasonable to me.

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    1. Thank you, Manzanita. I thought so too. One doesn't have to pay a fortune.

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  18. Thank you for the information. I knew it was expensive to self publish, but did not know the exact cost. I'm so happy for you that it's turned out well. A lovely cover.

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    1. Thank you. It's basically the same as running your own business. You have to invest capital to provide a great product. However, earning them back is a whole different story:)

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