The other day I was going through my Facebook posts and I came across one that had a generator for self-publishing. I took the quiz just to see if it would even come close to what I had spent. It wasn’t entirely accurate, but it wasn’t too far off either. Later that day I’m reading some of the comments and I read this one where the author (and I use the term lightly) stated the lowest amount he came up with was $1800. He went on to say he doesn’t pay for editing, he just puts it out there.
I had to stop because the # 1 rule for writers is you NEVER forego editing. And there are a multitude of reasons why. In fact, if you’ve ever ready Fifty Shades of Grey you know what I’m talking about. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect. No writer is and no writer will ever claim to be perfect. Perfect does not exist in the world of writing. The closest any of us can get is “just right.” That means it is “just right” in the eyes of the author. No offense to E.L. James, but the writing was atrocious. I read the book once and it was enough to make me question if an editor even glanced at the novel before it was published.
That’s a major difference between self published authors and traditionally published authors. There is almost a guarantee that traditionally published authors have gone through the editing process. Self published authors don’t have to pay an editor to look at the work. Some, like our aforementioned “author” prefer to do their own editing. Here’s the thing, writers can only look at their work so many times before their eyes begin to cross. It’s the reason a break is often suggested after the first draft. Then again after the second and third and so on. This is also one of the many reasons why an editor is NECESSARY. An editor can find things the writer can’t. They can correct grammar, take out unnecessary prattle, and strengthen the work.
The reason why some authors refuse to use an editor is cost. On average an editor charges anywhere between $0.015 and $0.035 per word. That may not seem like much, until you realize the typical novel runs between 70,000 to 100,000 words. This means an author can spend anywhere from $1,050 to $3500 for the edit of one book. Seems like a lot, huh? Yeah, it can cost a pretty penny, but if the editor is awesome (like mine), then the money is well spent. And this is only if the author self publishes.
Editing isn’t the only thing to think about. A self published author also has to consider their novel’s cover. There are a number of ways to handle this. One, the author may be someone who can put together a good cover, but let’s say for arguments sake they aren’t. The next option is to use a generic cover provided by some of these free sites an author uses for publication. For example, http://www.createspace.com or http://www.draft2digital.com. Both sites offer a walk-thru cover set-up. The last and final option is to pay for it. Now, depending on who the author uses, this can range anywhere from $50 to $200. This is on top of the editing cost. And let’s face it, readers do judge a book by its cover.
There’s also the interior design, but that’s limited to two choices. Either the author learns how to configure their novel or they pay someone to do it. If an author chooses to pay for the interior design, it could run another $400 in cost. So if the self published author has decided to pay for everything, then they have spent anywhere from $1100 to $4100 to publish one book.
And that is just getting the book out there. You’re probably thinking, what’s left? They’ve done everything right? Wrong.
There’s still advertisement, which is always optional. Creating ads isn’t necessary, but it helps get the information about an author’s book out there. This doesn’t include free advertisement, like friends sharing information about the author’s book or readers who leave reviews. Or if an author gets blogs to review their book in exchange for a free copy. There are a number of ways to advertise and not all of them are expensive, some are even free. But if an author chooses to pay for ads, this cost could range from $150 to $500 or more.
Editing: $1050 to $3500, Cover Design: $50 to $200, Interior Design: up to $400, Ads: $150 to $500.
In total, a self published author can spend between $1250 to $4600 to publish one book.
Suddenly it makes sense why a self published author might chose to cut corners.