Self-publishing is a bold option available to authors who want to take control of their own careers. Yet, Self-Publishing Relief offers this caveat—with the great freedom of self-publishing comes great responsibility. Without the editing, design, and sales support offered by traditional houses, the cost of book production and advertising falls solely upon the writer. This means you’ll be laying out some of your own money before you ever see a dime in sales.
How To Create A Budget To Launch Your Indie Book
Step One: Know Your Basic Self-Publishing Production Costs
Even in self-publishing, certain minimum expenditures are necessary and unavoidable in order to prepare your book for uploading to vendors.
Editing. This will be, by far, the most expensive part of book production. In traditional publishing, a book goes through at least three basic phases of editing:
- A content editor tackles any substantive issues of structure and content;
- A copy editor corrects grammar, punctuation, and style and checks facts as well as continuity;
- A proofreader.
Since you only have one chance to make a good impression, as well as garner great reviews to prompt more sales, solid editing is a wise investment.
Formatting. Whether you’re producing an eBook or a print book, once your manuscript is in tip-top shape, it must be formatted. The cost of professional formatting can vary based on which vendor or vendors you use and whether it’s a print book, an eBook, or both.
Cover Design. Although you may have the tech skills to Photoshop a design, readers can sniff out a self-made cover from a mile away. The cover of your book is its most powerful selling tool. A professional designer will know the importance of font, composition, and genre cues. Costs vary, so shop around to find a designer you love and can afford.
Step Two: Set Your Budget
Setting a budget for a book launch can be tricky. But once you know how much you need for book production, consider what you can afford to spend above that minimum. If your available budget exceeds your minimum expenses, check out the following options:
Bartering. Editing is vital but it’s also expensive. Over the long term, it’s wise to build an effective critique group of fellow professionals to content edit your book while you content edit theirs. You can also consider bartering your own proofreading and/or copyediting skills with your writing colleagues to help defray the costs.
Launching On One Platform. Many self-published authors sell their eBooks exclusively on Amazon, reducing the need for multiple formats. Check out the financial advantages of exclusivity with Kindle Unlimited.
Predesigned Book Cover. Predesigned covers are cheaper than original designs, but they’re still designed by a professional. With time and determination, you may unearth a cover that is perfect for your book and still fits your budget. Here are some predesigned cover examples.
Step Three: What’s Left? Marketing
If, after considering your minimum costs and available budget, you find yourself with some leftover funds, congratulations! That money can be spent on marketing, advertising, and promotion of your self-published book.
Fortunately, in this age of social media, you can have a lean marketing budget and still make a splash. Facebook book launch parties don’t cost a dime (except for any giveaways you may offer.) You can boost a Facebook post at whatever budget point suits you to widen your social reach. Twitter also offers affordable advertising options. Designing graphics for Instagram posts or Twitter and Facebook headers can be cheap if you use a resource like Canva. Goodreads giveaways of print books cost you nothing but the print books themselves.
Most Importantly: Don’t Exceed Your Budget!
The Internet abounds with stories of folks who poured thousands of dollars into their book launches, never to see that investment returned. The most successful self-publishing stories involve authors who continue to release books, build a backlist, and grow their audience of avid readers who can’t wait for the next book.
Question: How do you discover new authors? Through Facebook advertisements, email blasts, Amazon searches, great covers, word of mouth?