Not only can it be stressful to learn everything you need to know about self-publishing, but then there’s the money behind it. It’s not cheap. Editors, cover designers, and marketing – oh my! It’s enough to drain anyone’s wallet. Below are three ways that I helped funded my own personal self-publishing journey.
You’ll first need to figure out how much you’re going to need to self-publish your book. It took me two years to reach my goal to release The Guardians’ Daughter. It may take more or less time depending on what you want to do. Most of us need to hire professionals to help us present the best possible version of our book to the world. With that said, professionals aren’t cheap, but they should be compensated for the time and hard work they do. Research who you want to entrust your book baby with, and you’ll get an idea of how much you’ll need to hire them. As for marketing, if you’re able to do your own graphics, great! If not, you’ll have to budget for this as well. There are many free or cheap options out there that can help you. A few are Canva, AllAuthor, and BookBrush. You’ll also need to consider if you want to run ads. The most popular platforms to have ads are Facebook and Amazon. Personally, I had a very small budget for this category, and haven’t spent any money on them for over a year now. There can be many other costs such as ISBNs, possible book setup fees, formatting costs, and character art (depending on what you want to do this list could get quite lengthy). Remember, the amount of money you want to spend on your book is totally up to you, and once you have that number figured out you’ll need to evaluate your finances.
*Please note I am not a certified financial expert and this is not financial advice, but I do have ten years of experience in the financial industry. These are just some things I learned along the way that worked for me.
SAVE: Sometimes saving is more easily said than done, but if you set a goal then you can plan accordingly. See if there’s anything category you can cut money from (like those shopping trips to HomeGoods or some of those streaming services you haven’t touched in a while) to put toward your self-publishing money goal. If not, you’ll need to see what amount of money you are okay with diverting from your main finances into this savings. The recommendation is you should already be saving 20% of your pay and 30% should be spent on non-necessaries. Maybe you can evaluate if you can increase your saving percentage, and decrease the spending on non-essentials. Everyone’s budget is different, and you’ll need to figure out what works best for you while making sure you have the money to take care of the bills. If it takes years (like it did for me) to have the money saved, that’s completely okay. You’re working toward a goal and doing it smartly! And that is totally awesome!
SELL: We are all guilty of having stuff laying around that we just don’t use anymore. Sometimes that stuff can be turned into money. Depending on what you have it’s possible you may be able to fund your self-publishing account with these things. Personally, I sold a lot of Funko Pops. If you know me, you know that my hubby and I have collected these for quite some time. Over the last couple of years, my priorities have changed, and I’ve found myself wanting to get rid of most of our collection. Some of the little hunks of plastic were quite valuable and selling them brought me more joy than letting them sit on a shelf collecting dust. I’ve also sold a lot of other things like old furniture, baby items, household items, and other knickknacks on platforms like Facebook Marketplace and eBay. Some of those items weren’t worth a whole lot, but every dollar adds up. It’s also a lot more sustainable to let things go that someone else can use than letting them sit around your house. Take a look around and see if you have anything that you’re okay getting rid of and help you with your self-publishing dreams!
CREDIT: Okay, let me be clear, if you’re going to use credit, you need to be intentional. I get it. We live in a world where you may have to use your savings for that car repair, or you don’t have anything you want to sell. Life happens, and sometimes we don’t want to put our dream on hold forever because of it. If you’re going to use credit though, make sure you are realistic with your finances. What kind of payment can you afford? What kind of rate could you get? I’ve seen credit card rates near 30% and that’s just predatory! Don’t get one of these! Drop that application and run the other way! The best credit card rates I have seen have been with Credit Unions (normally somewhere between 6% – 9% if you have A/B credit). There are introductory offers out there with bigger credit lenders that allow the rate to be 0% for the first 6/12/15 months but only do this if you know you’ll pay it off in this time. I repeat … ONLY DO THIS IF YOU CAN PAY OFF THE AMOUNT IN THE TIME ALLOWED FOR THE INTRODUCTORY RATE. As soon as that introduction period expires you’re looking at a high-interest rate (most of the time over 15%), and you’ll find yourself owing all the interest during the months you were enjoying that 0%. These are great if you are able to monitor your finances, and you’re responsible with credit. Sometimes even if you know you may not pay it off during the introductory rate, you can plan to do a credit card transfer, some credit cards offer a lower rate for those transfers (sometimes below 5%). But this is all part of the credit game, and you need to decide how much you want to play (or if you should). If you want to keep it simple, you’ll need to figure out what your budget for self-publishing is and open a credit card line for that amount, but only if you know you’ll be able to afford the payment. I’d like to argue you’d do better to save that amount each month, and avoid interest altogether. My final thing to add is if you have had credit problems, or know you aren’t responsible with a credit card burning in your wallet, then don’t do this. It’s not worth the financial strain or stress it’ll put into your life. It’s okay to say no to credit cards because you know they’re bad for you, and it’s responsible to be honest with yourself about your limitations. Take your time and save, you’ll be much happier in the end.
At the end of the day, the budget you decide on and how to finance your self-publishing journey is completely up to you. Everyone will do things differently, and that’s okay. Do what is comfortable for you. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee you’ll ever make a profit with self-publishing, and you need to make peace with that. Self-publishing is something I want to make into a career, but I also view it as a hobby I’m spending money on. I truly enjoy doing it, and I’ve figured out what I’m okay spending to try to achieve my dream.
Do you have questions or comments? Please feel free to let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
2 thoughts on “3 ways to Finance Self-Publishing”
I’ve self-published 4 books and yeah, the costs just trickle in and add up. I also haven’t figured out the marketing to get the books to actually sell and recover anything I put into them; I’m too focused on writing the next one. I find it hard to budget for all the costs upfront and they accumulate quickly. Cover design, internal art, manuscript formatting (haven’t paid for this, myself), then all the marketing like a Goodreads giveaway, amazon/bookbub ads, or mailing list features. How much would you recommend budgeting to self-publish an average 100k-word book? That might be a whole other blog post.
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Wow! 4 Books! That’s amazing! I understand the struggles all too well about marketing, while writing another book. I know for The Guardians’ Daughter I ended up spending a little over 5K, but that included a lot of character art, ISBNs, random marketing costs, editing, cover, etc (word count was roughly around 80K). It really depends on what you’re looking to do, and there’s so many ways to do this self-publishing thing. For editing and cover alone you’re probably looking at 2K or 3K, but again, this budget differs for everyone. That’s just how much I have in mind for each of my books.
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