Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guest Post: Costs of Self Publishing, by Anastasia Pergakis

I had the pleasure to interview Anastasia Pergakis on a recent blog post. The information she gave me about her self-publishing experience was so detailed and valuable that I decided to break it down into three blog posts: the interview itself, the steps to self-publishing, and this post about costs. If you haven't already, I strongly recommend you read the other two parts of the interview.

And now, here is Part 3 of Anastasia's interview, Costs to Self Publishing.


E-book Options

It is entirely possible to publish your book for free. Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble do not require your e-book to have an ISBN number. In fact, Amazon gives your book an ASIN number, which is just Amazon's unique identifier system. If you do your own editing, your own cover art, and format yourself, you have no cost.

 Also know that Smashwords is the place where people with almost any e-reader out there can buy your book and have the exact format they need. So, even if you want to appeal to Sony and Apple customers, Smashwords is the place where they can get the format they need.

About ISBNs

If you want to distribute to more places – like Apple or Sony – you must have an ISBN. The ISBN will allow your book to be listed on the Apple or Sony sites, even though readers can get any format they want at Smashwords. This could mean more exposure for your book!

If you want to have your book in print, you need an ISBN (a different one than the e-book!) for each print version (one for paperback and one for hardcover).  Note that on, the place where you buy your ISBN numbers, you can buy 1 for $125.00 or 10 for $250.00. Yeah, I know.

That is a total of 3 separate ISBNs. You might end up needing 4 if you upload your book to Apple and Sony yourself, rather than relying on Smashwords to distribute it for you. According to other self published authors I've talked to, their sales on Sony and Apple are good, but not good enough for me to really recommend uploading to them yourself. Smashwords can handle it for you and all your sales are tracked through your Smashwords account. But it's entirely up to you.

Detailed List of Costs

Here is a list of costs that you might have to deal with as a self published author. Remember, the more you do yourself, the more money you save!

  •  Editing: Between $200 and $800 depending on book length
  • Cover Art: Between $50 and $200
  • Formatting: Between $100 and $500
  • ISBN: 10 for $250.00
  • Print: Each time you order copies of your book, you have to pay for them - cost to print plus shipping. Some say you should have between 25 and 50 copies on hand at all times. Others say you should only keep 10 to 20. (Note: LightningSource also has set up fees! Remember, I'll be posting on my blog this week about what to expect with using LightningSource, and I'll explain all those set up fees in depth! CreateSpace does not have any set up fees.)
  • Warehousing: Now, I didn't explain the difference between POD (print on demand) and off-set printing places. Just know that POD requires NO warehousing/storage cost. But if you go with an off-sent printing place (where they spit out 1,000 copies of your book and then store them until they sell), you'll have to pay the upfront cost to print and then store all those books.
  • Marketing: Yes, some promotion and marketing options out there cost money, so see if you can budget in some of them to get the word out about your book.
My cost to date for publishing my book: $100.00 for the cover art. And my book is available right now for e-readers. By the time my book comes out in print in December, I'll add probably another $500.00 to that. So, grand total, to publish my book, is around $600.00. That does not include any marketing options. I remember researching self publishing just 10 years ago and it was around $10,000 to publish. But now you can do it for free or for less than $1,000.00 and still get world wide distribution!

Here's another thought for your regarding ISBN numbers. You buy 10 at a time at the $250.00 price and then you only use 3 of them to get your book out. Guess what? Those other 7 you didn't use, you still own! Which means, your next book already has 3 ISBNs waiting for it! (And the third book too!) So, when your second and third books come out, you will not have that cost to worry about.

Useful Links

And as a reminder, I posted three other posts on my blog about self publishing, in more detail: Things to Think about When Formatting for Print, Using LightningSource, and Pricing Your Book.

Thanks so much for having me Annie! It was fun to be a part of your blog here for three days. I'm sorry these ended up so long, but even then, I only scratched the surface. So, head over to my blog for more information in the next few days!

And, to the blog visitors, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment or questions. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have about self publishing.

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Purchase Cleanse Fire: The Kinir Elite Chronicles at:


Unknown said...

Nice break down. Thanks.

Anastasia V. Pergakis said...

My pleasure Elle!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

My friend Cindy Hogan self-published and did the warehousing thing. She said the upfront cost was about $3000, but the price of the books way offset that. Her profit margin is huge. You should check out her blog, she's got tons of self-publishing tips.

Annie McMahon said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, Elle!

Tamara, do you have a link for Cindy's blog?

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