Costs of Self-Publishing

Costs of Self-Publishing

If you already read Self-Publishing 101, you know all of the elements involved in getting your book in print. (If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a good idea to check it out before reading this article.) Here is a way for you to estimate the total costs involved, so there are no surprises ahead. You don’t want to be ready to send your book to the printer then remember you need a barcode (like I did once… oops).

Here’s the list of self-publishing costs:

  • Ghostwriting = $3+ per page
    Depending on the type of book, length of story, and time involved in writing.
  • Editing = $.75 – $2.50 per page
    This depends on whether you need simple proofreading or major editing. Proofreading is making sure your words are spelled correctly and grammar is properly used, whereas major editing could involve restructuring of the story, development of characters, deepening descriptive passages, and otherwise making your book more readable.
  • Cover Design = $300+ for a custom cover
    How Much Does Self Publishing Cost?Starting price for paperback & casewrap, Dust jackets are more expensive because there are more elements involved.
  • Interior Design = starts at $1/page for text only
    The use of images, callouts, or non-standard formatting will increase the cost of interior design.
  • Electronic Book (ebook) Design = starts at $1/page for text only
    Since it is just as complicated as print design (if not more), the cost is roughly the same. It would only cost more per page if the book is graphics-heavy or has unusual formatting.
  • Headshot of Author (if needed) = $150+
    This is around what a professional photographer charges for a 1 hr head shot portrait session. If you have a friend in the business, you could get a discount (but don’t ask anyone to work for free, please!)
  • ISBN = $25 – 125
    Depending on the quantity you order, or if you choose to use another publishing company’s imprint instead of your own.
  • Barcode = $25
    Unless you are self-publishing through CreateSpace (they print the barcode for free) or publishing an ebook only, you must purchase the barcode of your ISBN to print on the cover of your book.
  • Set Up Fees (if applicable) = $50+
    Print on Demand services like LightningSource charge set up fees in exchange for printing full color at more reasonable costs.
  • Printing = $1 and up per book + shipping
    Print on Demand services allow you to purchase copies of your book at cost, so that you can sell your book in person or purchase copies for friends and relatives at a discount.
  • Website = starting at $300 if you hire a web designer
    You can always create your own, but professional web designers have many more tools to create a dynamic online sales platform for your book.
  • Marketing = per hour cost to hire marketing specialist, publicist and/or agent
    This is worthwhile if you are not social media savvy or don’t have time to do your own marketing. Also, publicists and agents can get your book in the hands of people who will blog, tweet, write reviews, and possibly shop it to major publishing houses for you, but their cost is much higher.
  • Marketing Images = $10-20 each
    “Memes” or images with examples from your book and/or information on where to buy it.
  • Marketing Videos = $50+ each
    Simple word-and-image videos are easy to make, but custom marketing videos will require more work and therefore more cost.


From this list, you can add up the elements your book requires in order to calculate an estimate of your self-publishing costs. While it does cost money to publish your own book, most self-published authors feel that the costs are worth it to own their material, to not have a big publisher to answer to, and to keep all the profits from your book’s sales. If you agree, contact us to get started self-publishing your book!


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