OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Answer 1: It costs nothing
Write book: $0 (but lots of time)
Edit book: $0 Friend who is an English teacher
Proof-read book: $0 Friends and colleagues found on Twitter
Cover design: $0 Royalty free or own photos and text only made into a .jpg on Microsoft Publisher
Typeset book: $0 done by self on Microsoft Word
Publish book: Published as an Ebook on Smashwords for free and up for sale for US$4.99. Now for sale on the iPhone.
Or it costs $10 for the print version:
Publish book on Amazon.com by loading onto Lulu.com for free, and choosing the Published by Lulu option (for free). Do cover design with free software Gimp which makes the quality better than Publisher. Once loaded, you have to order one copy to check it before they will release it to Amazon which is about US$10. Then the copies are print-on-demand and you just get the residual income.
With these options, you have no pile of books sitting in your garage, no distribution to physical bookshops. But you have zero cost and can spend your time now marketing this book.
This basic model is the one I now follow and will be teaching all the tricks of the trade in the author 2.0 program. (However, I do use a professional editor for my books which costs about $600-$1000).
Answer 2: It costs under $5000
Write book: $0 (but lots of time)
Edit book: $900 Professional editor found on www.Elance.com
Proof-read book: $900 Professional proof-reader plus a couple of friends
Cover design: $500 Professional cover design
Typeset book: $500 Professional typesetting
Publish book: $1400 for 250 copies of your print book from a self-publishing/printing company.
(If you want a distribution deal you need a lot more than this!)
You can still also implement the publishing options above as well.
Answer 3: It costs $20,000 – $30,000+
If you are very busy and have the money to spare, there are companies who will do everything for you, even write the book. (Yes, I am now offering this service too in Australia!)
They will edit, typeset, design the cover, print and even distribute your books for you. Each company has their own package with varying prices but usually not less than $20,000 especially if it includes distribution of physical books to physical book stores.
How you publish does not make much difference to sales
It is not the publishing method that will make your book a success or a failure. What matters is that you market it and sell copies. If your costs are zero and you sell 1000 ebooks at $4.99 to a niche market, then you are better off than someone who has printed and distributed 2000 copies to bookstores and sold 100. Don't be constrained by the traditional methods of publishing!
Other people have asked – can self-published books become a success? This will be covered in a post next week. For a successful self-published author story, you can listen to the podcast with Rachael Bermingham. Her self-published cookbooks have sold over 1 million copies in Australia, she has her own TV show and now international publishing deals.
I'd value your opinions, questions and stories on self-publishing, so please do leave comments which I will follow up.
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