If you’re going to do it right, self-publishing will cost money. There is no way around that.
If you take a close look at the whole process though (and get help with self-publishing) it’s easy to see that getting high quality, professional-looking books to your customers is not prohibitively expensive.
Let’s break down the abstract idea of cost into specifics.
Help With Self-Publishing Non-Fiction
Recently, I worked as a ghostwriter, editor, and designer for a client’s debut business book. He brought about 60% of the book to the process. It was a collection of writing he had derived from work with his real estate partners, business coaches, colleagues, and mentors.
Although the text was strong, it needed a writer’s touch. Lucky for him, he saw that he needed help with self-publishing. I won’t delve too far into nuts and bolts details our work. Instead, I’d like to start by looking at the end results.
Just take a look at the client’s finished product. The book is handsome. The cover is polished and professional. The layout, I don’t mind saying, is top-notch. What did all of that cost my client?
Before opening the specifics, let’s look at what my client would have spent in terms of time and resources in order to conventionally publish his book. This is the example where the client does not get help with self-publishing.
1.) My client would have had to finish writing the book on his own. However knowledgable he might be about his subject, a “non-writer” encounters a steep learning curve in getting together a publishable book;
2.) Once that book was completed, he would have to hire an outside editor and proofreader;
3.) With a completed manuscript, he would have had to commit significant time to research and locating a list of agents potentially looking for his type of manuscript;
4.) After a round of queries and manuscript submissions, provided anyone was interested, he would have had to re-write the book under the agent’s specifications.
This all would have come at the expense of finding the core clients his business needs to survive. Standard publishing for my client was a bigger risk.
Instead, my client went through DIY channels. He hired me as a ghostwriter to help flesh out his ideas. Then as his manuscript editor, I transferred a more polished manuscript onto a line editor and proofreader.
Together, this team brought his book in for completion for under $5,000 in total costs.
My client isn’t going to reach a mass audience with his book. That was never really his goal though. The objective of a traditional publishing arrangement is to get a book out to the largest possible audience. Maybe he could have gotten there, but that’s not what he wanted.
Instead, he wanted a book to target potential customers. What my client wanted was a manuscript-length business card. How successful has this project been? As of last quarter, my client is the #1 seller of residential real estate in all of Northern Utah. Not bad.
Help With Self-Publishing Fiction
My recent path to publication is similar. No, I didn’t write the definitive book on how to hire a ghostwriter (at least I haven’t yet). I did, however, recently self-publish a work of fiction and I am happy to share those costs to illustrate how affordable self-publishing really can be.
Because I possess a native DIY streak of my own, I plan to self-publish my books. I want to be in control. I want to see the project all the way through to the end. Afterward, I may want an agent, who knows.
In the meantime, I have decided to build my subscriber list through a series of short, novella-length fiction to give away through my author site. The story I published, The Widow’s Tale is roughly 15,000 words, anywhere from 1/4th to 1/6th the length of a “normal” novel.
Be aware though, the breakdown of cost I am giving you is proportionately smaller. Contractors work on word count, so if you have a smaller book, you’ll pay less.
Developmental editing: $212.00
Line editing/proofreading: $250.00
Cover design: $299.00
There is no accounting for the cost in terms of hours or money associated with the time it takes to actually write the book, but in the terms of contracted services, $761.00 to get a book into the market place is pretty good.
Now, a cover is a cover and will cost about the same amount regardless of book size, but if you extrapolate the editorial services out to full length, the range is $1600-2000. As you can see, the above business book give-away example applies below with fiction as well.
In this highly competitive market, you need a giveaway as a part of your marketing plan. One of the best ways to get your message to your customers, whether your eventual aim is to sell a house, or a novel, is to hook them with a message.
Used to be you could get that marketing message to them in the Yellow Pages, or on a TV ad, but your audience if more sophisticated now than ever before. Remove the artificial barriers from your thought process. Those barriers are limiting beliefs that are dragging your sales down. Getting a professional looking giveaway on your site can be relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to the possible boom in business and legitimacy you’ll gain.