5th October, 2022
5 min read
What does it cost to self-publish a book in 2023?
The question we get asked all the time is, ‘How much does it cost to self-publish a book?’ The answer depends very much on two factors; how you self-publish and the book itself. Both have an impact on your likely self-publishing costs. In this blog, we explain some of the different routes to self-publication and give an idea of the cost of self-publishing.
Cost to self-publish
Self-publishing can have a wide range of price points: releasing a book on an online platform such as Amazon KDP can be free – but only if you have done all the work to create, design and upload the book yourself (perfect if you want absolute control of the project or if your market is mostly online). Other self-publishing options involve buying in production, design or marketing services to strengthen the areas where you lack certain publishing skills. This will all have a cost, but that cost will depend on the company, service or freelancer you are employing. As an example, you can buy various services from suppliers such as Indie-go (with prices usually based on word count (for example, an edit for a novel of 90 000 words would be around £700.00 excl. VAT) – but this option still means you are doing the bulk of the publishing work yourself. Then there are companies who offer a range of fixed packages that include the costs to produce and print your book. Packages vary greatly in price range and can be a good option if you want or need everything offered in the package - but they only work if you understand exactly what you are getting for the price.
The cost to self-publish using a full-service supplier
Finally, there are full-service self-publishing firms, like Troubador, who are more bespoke and can handle all parts of the process – design, print, marketing, sales and distribution – for you… which means you get a skilled and professional team of book production and marketing specialists working with you on your book, plus a flexible range of services that can suit your specific project. The cost to self-publish can therefore vary quite widely.
Say you want to self-publish a paperback novel with around 300 pages and no illustrations. The kind of novel you’d expect to find on any bookshop shelf. With all the production work to get the book ready for publication, a full-colour cover designed by one of our in-house design specialists, 300 copies printed upfront, and the set-up of metadata needed to get the book ready for distribution to bookshops = £2500 (excl. VAT).
A hardback version of the same book, with a dust jacket = £3100 (excl. VAT). The same book but as a Print on Demand (PoD) title with no copies printed up front (but with copies printed to order) = £1030 (excl. VAT).
If you are more interested in digital publishing and want a high-quality ebook created and distributed to all the main retailers, but not printed book = £380 (excl. VAT) for an ebook only option.
In all the above, most authors would also look at adding additional services – such as a proof read or copy edit (costed based on word count), marketing services (which range from £75 to £1000 excl. VAT).
You can learn more about our options here. All the prices given here are examples only, the actual cost would depend on the materials used, the work required in producing the book, the number of pages and the additional services opted for. While many of our authors opt for similar services, no two book projects are identical, but the benefit of bespoke is that we can help you shape your book to your budget.
Our customer service team has many years of experience in advising authors on the best route to publication, and so to ensure the very best pricing on a book, we ask to see your manuscript. This way we can learn more about what you are looking to achieve with your publishing, understand your budget and curate the perfect range of options for your book. We also strongly suggest that you get quotations from different companies to compare so that you can understand what you will get for your money and decide what is right for your project.
When considering self-publishing, whether that be with Trouabdor or another supplier, be honest about the budget you have. Absolutely do not borrow money or spend money you cannot afford on self-publishing – not all self-published authors recoup the money they have invested in their book through sales. Trade discounts and book set-up costs all come out of the selling price of the book, so unless you sell directly, the cover price on your book is not the financial return you will receive on a sale. Each of the routes and costs to self-publish discussed here have their own plus and minus points – the best way forward is to understand exactly what you want to get out of the book publishing process.
What is the best route to publication for you?
If you are aiming for a book available to buy via bookshops, you need a product that is right for that market, with the correct distribution in place. If you want a book available online only, that will dictate a very different route and a different price point for publishing. Remember that you are funding the publication of your book, so it is essential to understand your budget, to know what you are getting for the money you are spending, and to be honest about what help you need in creating the very best book and getting that to the market.
So, when it comes to answering the big question, ‘What does it cost to self-publish?’ it depends very much on what you are publishing and how – understanding this will help you make the right choices for your self-publishing project. Want to learn more? Contact our customer services team today for a no-obligation quote for self-publishing your book.