How Much Does Self-Publishing Cost?

Q: I would like to know how much will it cost if I self-published my book. -Tiffany

Thanks, Tiffany. Good question. The problem is there’s no short, complete answer. The initial cost depends entirely on where you’re self-publishing, how long your manuscript is, and how “professional” you want the finished product to look (for example, with glossy cover, nice paper, hard or soft back, and a perfect binding). Then you’ll pay an additional fee for each copy printed (if it’s a print-on-demand arrangement) or for a certain print-run quantity.

For example, at iUniverse, you can buy a “Fast Track” package that turns your manuscript into a trade paperback with one of their pre-designed, template covers for $299. You only get one copy of your book for this amount, so you’ll have to pay a discounted retail price for the others. (Retail prices range from $8.95 for a 75-page book to $29.95 for a 600-page book.)

iUniverse offers a discount for its authors of 20% for 1-9 copies, 25% for 10-49 copies, 30% for 50-99 copies. If you order more than 100 copies, you get a larger discount.

On the other side of their spectrum, you can purchase a “Premier Plus” package that includes tradebook and e-book formats, a custom-designed cover, editorial guidance, and 10 complimentary copies of your book for $799-899. Any additional copies you wish to buy will cost you the discounted retail price.

I’m sure some self-publishers will be less expensive and some more expensive than this example, but I think iUniverse is fairly representative of the industry. The important thing for you to consider is that in self-publishing everything costs extra, so pay close attention to the publication agreement and all the fine print.

Lauren Mosko, Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market Editor
Writer’s Digest Books