Writing and publishing a book is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. As an author, you create something beautiful and unique that readers will cherish forever. But once you finish writing, you might be curious how to get your book out into the world — and perhaps more importantly, how much will it cost to publish?
The cost to publish a book mainly depends on two things: 1 – the length of the book and 2 – the level of quality you want.
Most authors spend $2,000-$4,000 to self-publish their books including editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing services.
Of course, if you just want to get your book out there, you can always format it for free and use Amazon self-publishing to have be available within 72 hours! For many people, writing the book is the greatest reward, and publishing is more of a formality.
But if you want to actually sell your book, you’ll need to invest in some high-quality services — otherwise, you have no chance of competing with traditionally published books. Yes, you can pick and choose which services to splurge on, but you can’t deny that certain things (like a strong cover design) are absolutely essential to book sales.
Let’s talk about how much each of these services cost:
There are a few different types of professional editing you can have done — namely developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading. If your book isn’t quite ready for these steps, you can get an editorial assessment to figure out where you need to improve!
Average editing costs based on a 60,000-word manuscript:
- Developmental editing — $1,440 (or about $7 per page)
- Copy editing — $1,020 (or about $5 per page)
- Proofreading — $600 (or about $3 per page)
While you do have the option to create your own book cover, I strongly recommend hiring a pro designer. Why? Because, again, you want to actually make book sales — and very few people buy books with amateur covers. In that sense, getting an experienced designer is perhaps the most important part of this process.
Cover design costs based on relative experience:
- Novice designer — $300-$500
- Experienced designer (2+ years) — $500-$800
- Veteran designer (10+ years) — $800-$1,500
By “formatting costs,” we mean the costs of interior design and typesetting. However, these terms are pretty interchangeable: it’s the process of setting text onto a page. And once again, there are multiple factors that affect the cost.
Formatting costs based on data from Reedsy projects:
- 17% of people pay less than $500 for book formatting
- 47% of people pay $500-$1,000 for book formatting
- 19% of people pay $1,000-$1,500 for book formatting
- 16% of people pay $1,500+ for book formatting
Once you’ve self-published a book, you usually have to market it to get the word out — but that doesn’t mean it needs to be expensive! Most authors spend between $50-$200 on their marketing campaigns, which is a pretty reasonable range for first-timers. You can also hire a marketing professional to do all this for you if you’d prefer to focus on writing. However, keep in mind that it’ll be a lot cheaper to do it yourself.