A look into my self-publishing budget

If you are new to the self-publishing game, one of the very first things you should do is map out a budget! Continue reading to learn about five things I’ve budgeted for. 

Note: This isn’t my full budget and this doesn’t include everything you need to do to self-publish. These are some highlights to give a general idea of what to expect in certain areas. Also, keep in mind I am in the states, so pricing may be different if you are international. 

1. Editing – $1000

This includes developmental, line editing, copy editing, and proofreading. This cost is also dependent on how long your book is. If you would like to learn more about how to choose an editor read my post on How to find an editor you’ll love!

2. Cover Designer – $300

Your cover is your first marketing tool, so be prepared to spend some money. I’ve seen prices range from $300 – $1000, but $300 is what I am budgeting for who I want to hire. You want to make sure you have a professional cover so no one questions the quality of the inside of your book. If you have a poor cover, unfortunately, a reader will normally assume that the content of the book is poor as well. 

3. Formatting – $0 (Technically $30 a month for the Adobe Suite plan I have, but I’ve been paying for that for quite some time already before self-publishing was a thing.)

Since I am doing this myself and I already have InDesign, this saves me some money. But formatting can be expensive if you hire someone to do it (I’ve seen quotes ranging from $500 – $1500). There are also other programs you can use like Vellum, which costs only $295 and you can format your book yourself. Plus, after your pay that $295 you have Vellum for life. So you’ll never need to pay again to format your book. 

4. ISBNs – $295

I am buying the bundle of 10 ISBNs for $295, instead of one for $125. I bought mine by going to www.bowker.com (again this is for someone living in the states). I believe if you publish just with Amazon, they’ll provide you one for free (but don’t quote me on that!). Keep in mind you’ll need an ISBN for each format of your book, so that’s another reason why I might as well buy the bundle (since I’ll need three right away).

5.  Character Art – $500

This is totally NOT necessary and many indie authors can forego this. However, this was a very important aspect to me. I’m able to use these images to help me market my books and also I plan on doing some merchandise! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy seeing their characters being brought to life? The cost will also be completely dependent on who you hire.

Note: When hiring a character artist it’s typically pay half up front and then the remaining after they finish the image. Never pay someone fully upfront – you don’t want them to disappear with your money and you’re left without any art. That’s why also to make sure you have everything down in writing (via email, contract, etc.).

When I’m done with everything I need to do and The Guardians’ Daughter is circulating in the world I may do another post disclosing my full cost. Remember your first job is to figure out how much you are willing to spend and then work with what you have. I always knew I wanted to publish wide and wanted to do quite a bit. I made sure to save the money and budget without ever touching my main savings. If you have a smaller budget, that is A-OK! Maybe you just publish an ebook on Amazon for right now and slowly work your way up to doing physical copies and a wider release. There is no one right way to do this. Do what you are comfortable with and you can’t go wrong. 

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