How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

November 11, 202213 min. Read

How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

You might find it surprising to learn that despite all of our modern gadgets, people read now more than ever. 2022 saw print book sales exceeding 788 million and e-book sales over 191 million. If you have a story, you have a readership waiting to find it. You just need a platform to provide the high-quality product they want. Self-publishing lets you do just that, getting your book into the hands of your readers in record time.

Self-publishing brings numerous benefits to authors, like increased creative control, full royalty earnings, and more. Yet, one of the most intimidating aspects of self-publishing involves the potential price tag. While self-publishing does require initial investments in printing, marketing, and more, it may prove more accessible than you think. For example, did you know one of the most famous cookbooks of all time, The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, was originally self-published using the author’s life savings? Let’s examine how much it costs to self-publish a book and how to go about it.

What Costs Are Included in Self-Publishing?

The cost to self-publish a book depends on which solutions you need to bring your book to market. The average author spends about $3,800 to self-publish with us, but that could be significantly less for simple books or significantly more for books that require extensive editing, illustrations, and specialty printing. 

The best way to understand how much your book will cost to self-publish is to speak with one of our publishing consultants. Once we understand your manuscript and vision, we can tell you exactly how much it would cost to self-publish and answer any other questions you may have about the publishing process.

Quality editing and professional design matter. Adding professional touches to your finished work increases sales and credibility immensely. After all, people do judge books by their covers. When book shopping, readers tend to gravitate toward certain cover designs and put more faith in professional books. Of course, you could find a gem hiding behind a shoddy cover and typos, but you have countless options. Why wouldn’t you pick a book that demonstrates outwardly the pride and care the author put into it?

Palmetto Publishing provides services to make your book stand out from the get-go. We provide professional cover design, book editing, illustration, interior formatting, and other book-perfecting services for self-published authors. This way, your book will have a great head start, stand out on the shelves, and eventually reach the right audience.

Self-publishing grants the unique advantage of creative control over your work. However, dangers still exist. If you release your book before it’s ready, you risk damaging your ethos. By partnering with professionals, you can ensure your book’s debut goes as smoothly as possible.

So, at the end of the day, polish matters. With professional book design, you have a better chance of reaching your desired outcomes, attracting the right readers, and positioning yourself as a professional author. You put a lot of work into your book, so give it the attention and packaging it deserves.

Publishing Costs by Book Genre

The cost to publish a novel is going to be different than a children’s book, and a print-on-demand paperback novel will cost less than a hardcover art book with high-resolution photography. Again, it all comes down to what services you need to bring your book to life. 

Check out our service pages to see more information about our pricing, then give us a call to chat with a publishing consultant and build a custom quote tailored to your book and genre.

Editing Costs

Before you package the book, turn it into the best version of itself with the help of professional editing services.

Industry-wide, the average cost to professionally edit a 60,000-word manuscript ranges from $2,400 to $4,000. That said, books are as unique as the person who writes them, so each book will have different editing needs. Different types of editors meet different needs and command different rates.

At the most basic level, proofreaders and copy editors correct errors and make minor tweaks, while line editors engage issues of style, organization, and tone. Finally, developmental editors delve deeply into a manuscript and provide actionable feedback on strengthening your book at every level.

Palmetto Publishing offers book editing services starting at only 3 cents per word. With our editing services, our expert editors can proofread and edit your book, reviewing the structure, tone, grammar, organization, and more. As the author, you can then take our editors’ feedback and polish your work to fit your taste and vision. You can choose to have one or multiple rounds of editing to ensure a fully polished finished work.

Types of Editing

Palmetto’s various editing services include:

Copy Editing

Copy editing is a technical form of editing that takes care of fixing language issues, grammatical errors, spelling, punctuation, syntax, and consistency. It’s safe to say that every self-published book should go through at least one round of copy editing, though some authors elect for multiple rounds.

Palmetto’s copy editing service is $300 for up to 10,000 words, after which it’s 3 cents per word. 

Line Editing

Line editing covers the high-level stylistic considerations of your book, from the structural and organizational concerns to the overall content itself. Our line editing services provide suggestions to improve your manuscript’s tone and organization to ensure that the book is as strong as possible. Line editing also takes a look at spelling, grammar, and punctuation, though this isn’t the main focus so it’s not intended to replace a round of copy editing.

Palmetto’s line editing service is $380 for up to 10,000 words, after which it’s 3.8 cents per word for anything over 10k words.

Developmental Editing

Developmental editing dives into the fundamental ingredients of your manuscript, assessing the book’s plot, structure, and point of view. We’ll review the character arcs in your story and provide commentary on characterization and recurring themes. Developmental editing aims to give you actionable advice that strengthens the book, tightens up the language, and gives your intended message more focus to help it land with your audience.

Palmetto charges $900 for up to 10,000 words, then it’s 9 cents per word for anything over 10k words.

What Else Affects Editing Costs?

Various factors can influence the overall cost of professional editing for your book. One factor is the amount of self-editing you’ve done before sending your manuscript to an editor. If you send a more polished piece to begin with, you’ll allow the editors to focus on the meat of your book instead of getting bogged down by typos. A manuscript with better self-editing can sometimes cost less than a rough copy.

Cost of Indexing a Book

Indexing isn’t crucial for every book, but many nonfiction books can benefit greatly by providing an index in the back. Palmetto Publishing offers indexing as part of our Complex Interior and Complex Plus interior formatting services, allowing you to add an index along with all your other interior formatting needs. Click here to see our current pricing for indexing and other interior formatting services.

Cover Design Costs

Your book begins with its cover. Your design should reflect the content, fit the genre, and appeal to your audience. While some authors elect to create covers themselves, partnering with professionals will help you meet cover standards in your genre. 

Palmetto Publishing’s cover design services start with a consultation to learn about the concept of your book and what the cover should reflect. We then analyze what makes a successful cover in your specific genre, researching color themes, typography, and more to ensure your book will appeal to readers in your genre. Once we complete the cover concept, we typically provide it within just ten business days from purchase. If applicable, we then begin revision rounds until the cover is perfected.

Here’s a quick overview of our cover design services and current pricing:

  • Palmetto Book Cover ($599+): Includes one cover concept with front, spine, and back design; one fully licensed premium stock image or author-provided image; and one round of changes. 
  • Custom Book Cover Design ($699+): Includes two cover concepts with front, spine, and back design; two fully licensed premium stock images per concept; and two rounds of changes.
  • Complex Book Cover ($899+):  Includes three cover concepts with front, spine, and back design; up to four fully licensed premium stock images per concept; and three rounds of changes.
  • Illustrative Book Cover ($899+): Includes one cover concept with a custom illustration across the front, spine, and back; a black & white sketch phase with two rounds of changes; a color illustration phase with two rounds of changes, and a design phase with one round of changes.

In addition to an eye-catching front cover, our book design services include back cover text crafted by our marketing experts, the ISBN, and the barcode, ensuring all aspects of your cover meet, if not exceed, industry standards.

What Affects Cover Design Costs?

Cover design costs can be influenced by several different factors, from the overall experience of the designer you choose, the complexity of your design, and the number of custom images you need them to create for the design (stock images will cost less than a custom illustration). Additionally, if you request multiple rounds of a design, the cost can also increase.

Generally speaking, our Palmetto Cover is popular with business, poetry, and religious books. Custom Covers and Complex Covers are suitable for all genres, though the latter is particularly popular for fiction. Illustrated Covers are a great choice for children’s books, fantasy, and sci-fi.

Book Interior Formatting Costs

Interior formatting involves the typographic design of your book’s interior, including font, page color, page number, line spacing, running heads, chapters, paragraph breaks, and more. Expert interior formatting helps your book read well on any device or format. It also ensures that all formatting is consistent, from the book title page to the acknowledgments.

Palmetto’s formatting services’ prices depend on the layout’s complexity, the number of images, the length, and the number of tweaks you want to make to the final product. A basic e-book conversion starts at $299 for an EPUB file you can use on most devices and platforms.

Our additional book interior formatting services include:

  • Palmetto ($599+): This option includes a print interior, one image, and one round of 25 text changes. This basic package best suits simple layouts like memoirs, novels, and religious books.
  • Custom Interior ($699+): This popular package is great for nonfiction, biographies, and children’s books with images. It includes one print interior, up to 25 images, and two rounds of up to 50 text changes for your customized needs.
  • Complex Interior ($899+): With this package, we go the extra mile to add captions for photos, create one print interior, include up to 100 images, add indexes for an additional fee, and complete three rounds of up to 50 text changes.
  • Complex Plus ($1,699+): The plus package is best for cookbooks, photography, and artbooks. It includes a consultation with designers before formatting the interior. It includes one print interior, over 100 images, indexing, text boxes, table formatting, and three rounds of changes.

Marketing Costs

Marketing is an essential investment when it comes to self-publishing. After all, what’s the point of putting your work out there if no one knows about it?

Writing only comprises a portion of the book publishing process. Your marketing starts with book summaries, author biographies, and any other copy attached to the book. From there, you decide how far you want to broadcast the message.

Palmetto offers multiple marketing services for self-published authors:

  • Marketing copy ($249)
  • Press release & distribution ($728 – $1,028)
  • Newswire article ($1,299)
  • Publisher’s Weekly ad ($1,600 – $3,000)
  • Publisher’s Weekly Q&A article ($2,700 – $3,600)
  • Author website ($1,599)
  • Marketing package with press release ($1,999)
  • Marketing package with Newswire article ($2,299)

Marketing your book has many challenges, but Palmetto Publishing makes it easier. We take on the hard work of creating author websites, contacting a targeted list from our 780,000+ media contacts, crafting press releases, and more to spread the word about your book. This way, you can get your book into the hands of your readers in no time and reap the benefits of self-published royalties.

In addition to the marketing services that Palmetto offers, many authors engage in the following activities to expand their audience and reach more readers:

Editorial Reviews

Getting favorable reviews can go a long way toward boosting your book’s reputation and getting readers to pick it up. Good marketing copy and professional industry insights are vital for getting your work seen by the right people, so it pays to trust your marketing professionals like Palmetto Publishing.

Targeted Ads

Placing ads in the right publications and on the right platforms can capture your target audience’s attention and ensure that you’re reaching the people who will resonate with your book the most.

Hiring Marketing Experts

One of the best investments you can make is in expertise. Thanks to freelancer platforms like Fiver, it’s easier than ever to partner with independent marketing consultants and boutique agencies who can advise you on marketing strategies and campaign execution.

Other Costs in Publishing a Book

ISBN Registration:

eBooks don’t require ISBNs, but you’ll need one to sell printed books. They also make e-books easier to find, share, and track.

Bowker is the only company authorized to sell ISBNs in the U.S.A. You can choose from one of two options:

  • One for $125
  • Ten for $295

When you publish with Palmetto, we offer ISBNs to authors at no cost, or authors can choose to buy one of their own.

Distribution & eBook Aggregators

In order to publish an e-book, writers will need to work with an e-book aggregator to make their book available through major e-book retailers. Fortunately, Palmetto Publishing has relationships with the major distributors and aggregators, giving you one less thing to worry about as an author.

Author Headshots

Do you have a recent high-quality photo to use for the author’s photo on your dust jacket, website, and any profiles that require one? If not, you might consider booking a session with a professional. An author headshot is an excellent opportunity to connect with readers on a more personal level, allowing them to understand where the book is coming from.

Audiobook Recording & Distribution

Not every book has an audiobook release, but for those that do, it provides one more great way for readers to engage with your work. Palmetto offers an audiobook self-publishing service to help you create a professionally narrated audiobook, starting at just 6.9 cents per word.

Printing Costs or Print-on-Demand Services

There are many different options for printing your finished work, and prices will depend on your preferences for the look, feel, and binding style. See the printing options that Palmetto Publishing offers to help bring your book to life.

How Can You Save Money?

Make the most of your budget, no matter its size. One of the biggest ways to save money is to print on demand avoiding the need to purchase a large inventory. The following includes a few other tips for managing self-publishing book costs.

Edit yourself first. Before handing over your manuscript, fix what you can. Leave editors free to focus on the work you need them to perform. Work with an editing checklist as you review your text, keeping track of potential problem areas.

Plan ahead and stay organized. Errors can cost a lot to fix, and rush orders incur extra charges when possible.

Take an active role in marketing your book. Social media campaigns work best when followers find you authentic and present. Develop your social media presence, author website, and email list as you connect with industry professionals and potential readers. An author’s success these days pivots on social media following, and both initial and ongoing sales will benefit.

The Book: What’s the Next Step?

Now that you have a way to determine the cost of self-publishing and a road map to get you there, you need a publisher! Find a publishing company driven to help you succeed. Contact us at Palmetto Publishing to discuss your self-publishing options and personalized cost estimates. Our team can help you determine which services will help you publish and market your work successfully.

Remember that when you self-publish with Palmetto, you retain all the creative control and royalties, so your initial investment can kickstart your writing career. Our team loves independent authors and shares the passion for each project we collaborate on.

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