How much does it cost to publish a book?
I’ve heard this question a number of times, and my answer—”It depends”—rarely satisfies the person asking. I can’t help it. Yes, you can probably publish something for practically nothing, but it may not be your best work.
What does it cost depends on the team helping you. I personally don’t get squeamish when spending on talent because good talent is worth it.
After I’m satisfied with my draft work, including having sent copies to several people I trust to give me an honest opinion on the work, with suggestions on weak plot elements or weak characters—that I correct, I send the book to my editor.
I’ve been working with John Hudspith, an author / editor, who lives in England. I’m comfortable working with him and his suggestions on both content and things like grammar are welcome. Once we’ve been through the entire book and I’ve adopted changes he suggests, then I read through the book again to look for anything that I may still not like. Once I’ve done this, I’ve been sending my word documents to Jamie at Belle Etoile studios for design—interior and cover layout, including potentially a custom font.
Jamie put together a proof copy of what the book will look like in print form. After my own review and updates, I normally then ask for the help of a proof reader. A proof reader looks primarily at the technical aspects of the print edition, although often also being an editor, will look at other matters.
Once the proof reader’s comments are adopted by Jamie, I take one last look at it and then begin the process of uploading the manuscript (and covers) to my print and distribution agent: Lightning Source (a subsidiary of Ingram). Meanwhile, we format the Kindle edition for uploading to Amazon.
After going through the Lightning Source and Amazon feedback to correct any remaining errors, the edition goes live.
In parallel with this, I file for copyright with the US government and assign the ISBNs through Bowkers—one for each edition.
The total cost—soup to nuts—varies, based on the book length, but is usually in the 3000 to 4000 dollar range (and well worth it). That does not include marketing, which has normally been about 60% of my cost—marketing has not been my strong suit..
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