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. 2020 saw print book sales exceeding 757 million and ebook 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.

The Bottom Line: Do Editing and a Professional Book Design Matter?

Absolutely! Quality editing and professional design matter. Adding professional touches to your finished work increases sales and credibility immensely. People do judge books by their covers. When you’re book shopping, you not only gravitate toward certain cover designs but also 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 has a great head start, will 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.

The Breakdown: What Do You Need, and What Will It Cost?

In the process of learning how to self-publish a book successfully, you can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. This includes costs from printing, editing, cover designs, illustrations, formatting, marketing, and more pre-publishing steps. Thus, the cost to self-publish depends on your specific needs as an author. With the unique needs of different manuscripts in mind, Palmetto Publishing offers personally tailored, à la carte publishing services to fit your individual situation.

Get Started On Your
Publishing Journey Today!

Or call us 888 408 8965

Book Editing

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

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. As for developmental editors, they delve into a manuscript, providing actionable feedback on strengthening your book at every level.

Palmetto Publishing offers book editing services starting at only $0.029 per word. With our editing services, our expert editors proofread and edit your book, reviewing the structure, tone, grammar, organization, and more. The author can then take our editors’ feedback and polish their work to their liking. Authors can also choose to have a second round of editing to ensure a fully polished finished work.

Palmetto’s various editing services include:

  • Copy editing from $0.029/word
  • Line editing from $0.036/word
  • Developmental editing from $0.09/word

Copy editing is a technical form of editing that takes care of fixing language issues, grammatical errors, spelling, punctuation, syntax, and consistency. Line editing involves editing the mechanics of a book by looking at each line and how they flow together. This editing service enhances prose, organization, and consistency in a book. Developmental editing provides a more comprehensive revision for enhancing a book’s story.

Book Cover Design

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. Through its partnership with Getty Images, Palmetto Publishing can provide beautiful covers on any budget. The price depends on the number of options, rounds of changes, and graphic complexity, ranging from $599 to $899 for our most comprehensive design package.

At Palmetto Publishing, our 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 provide it in just ten business days from purchase. If applicable, we then begin revision rounds until the cover is perfected.

Our cover design packages and their prices are:

  • Palmetto Book Cover ($599): This package includes one cover concept, one Getty image, and one round of changes.
  • Custom Book Cover Design ($699): This package includes two cover concepts, two Getty images, and two rounds of changes.
  • Complex Book Cover ($899): This package is great for fiction genres, allowing three cover concepts, four Getty images, and three rounds of changes.
  • Illustrative Book Cover ($899): This option includes one custom illustration from our in-house illustrators, one cover concept, and 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.

Book Illustrations

An original illustration or two can transform the reading experience, particularly if writing in a genre that has a convention of using visuals. However, you may not have the budget for a professional book illustrator or know where to find one that fits your needs. Luckily, Palmetto Publishing offers affordable, high-quality illustrations to bring your book to life. We pair you with one of our in-house illustrators, who will convey your story using a wide range of illustration styles.

Palmetto Publishing offers three illustration services:

  • Full-page illustration (from $299)
  • Half-page illustration (from $210)
  • Spot illustration (from $150)

Spot illustrations occupy a third of a page or less, with text surrounding them. Half-page illustrations split the page in half with an illustration above or below the text. Full-page illustrations cover a full page of your book. These illustrations will surely add a valuable dimension to your book, whether spot or full page.

During our book illustration process, we begin with a personal consultation to learn more about you as the author, your work, and your goals as a self-publisher. We then provide a list of potential illustrators to choose from yourself. Then, your illustrators will begin drawing beautiful visuals that bring emotion, character, and life to your page(s).

Book Interior Formatting

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 ebook conversion starts at $299 for an EPUB file that 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, poetry, cookbooks, and religious books.
  • Customer Interior ($699): This popular package is great for nonfiction, books with images, and textbooks. 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, and complete three rounds of up to 50 text changes.
  • Complex Plus ($1,699): The plus package 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.

Book Printing

You can keep your budget under control easily with print-on-demand. Palmetto uses IngramSpark, which distributes books to every retailer, from giants such as Amazon to your neighborhood bookstore.

For those who want custom physical copies, Palmetto offers high-quality printing services. The costs of printing vary from case to case, with the factors affecting the cost including:

  • Cover styles and finishes
  • Binding options
  • Sizes
  • Text and image options
  • Paper stock and weight
  • Trim size
  • Page count
  • Quantity ordered

Authors can use Palmetto’s printing services even if they don’t publish with us. However, an IngramSpark account through Palmetto requires using Palmetto cover design and interior formatting. Thus, you may purchase our printing services in addition to Cover Design and Interior Formatting services.

Book Marketing

Actual writing only comprises part 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-publishers:

  • Marketing copy ($229)
  • Press release ($229)
  • Press release distribution (from $399-$600)
  • Author website ($1,499)
  • Marketing package ($1,899-$2,300)

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.

Complete guide on cost to Self-Publish from Palmetto Publishing.

Other Costs

Factor the following expenses into your budget if you need them.

ISBN Numbers

eBooks don’t require ISBNs, but you’ll need one to sell printed books. They also make ebooks 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.


Do you have a high-quality, recent 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. Prices vary.

Promotional Materials

If your marketing vision includes printed materials to distribute — bookmarks, stickers, business cards, flyers, etc. — allot funds for that purpose. Even free events benefit from posters and attractive displays.

The Budget: How Can You Save Money?

Make the most of your budget, no matter its size. Printing on-demand can save you a lot of money. 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 successfully publish and market your work.

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 in the passion of each project we collaborate on. You’ve written a book. We can’t wait to read it.