To best answer this question we need to address it in self-publishing phases. Within each phase I will offer a range that you can expect to pay based on what you’re expecting to get back.
In addition, I’m also going to offer what I believe to be the primary phases that require a greater investment compared to some phases that you could possibly skimp on a little bit.
It should also be noted that the assumption is going to be that capital is not as plentiful as you might like. In other words, I’m going to offer a range that I believe appropriate for authors who are new to self-publishing. If this is not the case and you have been able to acquire a solid amount of capital then I recommend you reach out to Archangel Ink. I personally have not used them, however, I know many authors who have and they’re consistently blown away by the work provided and more importantly the results derived from such work. They are on the pricier end though, so again, I recommend this approach if capital is not an issue.
It should also be pointed out that you have some sort of writing software. Whether it be Scrivener or Microsoft Word, I’m assuming you have something already. If not, then I recommend you try Evernote or Google Docs. Lastly, the prices provided below will be for a book comprised of approximately 20,000 words. If you’re word count is different then recalculate accordingly (more words equals more expensive except for the book cover and marketing phases).
Either way, I recommend you break your budgeting into the following phases:
- Phase 1 – Editing
- Phase 2 – Book Cover
- Phase 3 – Formatting
- Phase 4 – Marketing/Promotion
Phase 1 – Editing: When you have completed your first draft you’re now ready to have your book edited. If you have the endurance, particularly if you’re on a tight budget, I recommend that you read your book to yourself out loud. Once that is completed OR if you can’t mentally endure looking at your work for another minute (which I have felt about my own work from time to time) then you need to outsource the editing process. This should be broken down into three sub-phases. First, you’re going to hire an editor for tone and flow of your content. I recommend you create a job on elance.com for this. Plan on spending anywhere from $10.00 to $50.00. I personally think of the three phases
Once this is complete and you’ve reviewed and approve of the new tone and flow you’re going to hire an editor for grammatical review. This should cost approximately $1.00 for every 1000 words if you use fiverr.com. Finally, the third phase again should cover grammatical concerns. Fiverr.com is appropriate for roughly the same price, however, just be sure to hire a different person.
To sum Phase 1 up, you should expect anywhere from $50 to $100 which yields three pairs of eyes reviewing your work in addition to you.
Phase 2 – Book Cover: This phase is difficult because it is the easiest to cut corners but absolutely crucial when it comes to book sales. The expression “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” exists because most people make that mistake. You need to position your book to take advantage of this mistake. A great cover that draws potential readers in is going to sell. Book covers that look cheap (which occurs too much on Amazon) will be ignored. If you’re really strapped for cash but somewhat artistic then I recommend you look at canva.com first. If the thought of designing your own cover scares you then try fiverr.com again. You can get a decent cover for $5.00, however, you’ll have to take your time finding a seller with great reviews. If you have some extra cash I would allocate it towards your cover. Create a job on elance.com and be thorough in your reviews. Plan on spending $50 to $100 for your cover.
Phase 3 – Formatting: Nice and simple on this one. Find a seller on fiverr.com with a high amount of positive reviews and you’re looking at approximately $10.00 total. Double that if you also want to format your book for paper back print in addition to an ebook.
Phase 4 – Marketing: This phase does not have a minimum or a maximum. In other words, when you take advantage of the five day promotional period on Amazon which allows you to offer your book for free for that period of time then you can literally post a link to your book on a ton of different sites that allow you to post for free as long as your book is free or lower than $2.99. If you need a little bit of a boost in your sales, then you can take advantage of sites such as Author Marketing Club, which enables a variety of ads for the $40.00 range.
The key with marketing is to take campaigns one at a time and look at what it does to your sales. If you’re spending more money then you’re getting back from sales then I recommend you re-strategize.
So to put it all together, if you’re on a budget you can legitimately self publish an ebook $150.00 and that will enable you to create a quality ebook with a professional looking cover and some small additional funds to invest in marketing.
Whatever you spend, keep track of it so you can improve your process for your next book which I know you’re going to write!