How much does it cost to publish your own book?

Submitted by MMD on Thu, 04/07/2016 - 23:04

While traditional publishing is difficult to get into most authors today are looking towards self-publishing their book. However, there are several factors to know before you decide on self-publishing. Without a publisher indie authors have to pay out of pocket for the same services:

  • Editing
  • Cover Design
  • Formatting
  • Getting an ISBN number
  • Distribution (Can be free)
  • Reviews
  • Marketing



Every author needs an editor whether it’s a copy editor or a development editor. Depending on the editor these services can be offered by the same person. A development editor is necessary as they will critique your manuscript, suggest and provide revisions to improve the overall flow and plot of your novel. Once your manuscript is finished a copy editor will need to look over it for grammatical and punctuation mistakes. The cost of these services depend on the actual editor. Prices can be based on the hour, page count or word count. Be expected to pay around $30-$60 for copy editing. Development editing ranges from being in the hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Cover Design

A book cover is essential for every book. Sadly readers will judge first on the cover then on the actual content of the book, so it’s important for your cover to be well designed. Similar to editing services the price of a book cover depends on the graphic designer you hire. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $3,500 based on what cover designs or other designs you may need.


Depending on how tech savvy you are formatting for your book can be free if you know how to use Sigil, Calibre, or Pages. Although you need to think about what formats you want your book to be distributed in such as print, kindle, or iBooks which will all have different formatting needs. One size does not fit all in this case. To hire an expert formatter expect to pay around $150 to $2,500.

ISBN Numbers

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is recommended if you’re doing a print book or want it placed in a library. If you self-publish your work its recommended to purchase your own ISBN to be listed as the publisher. However, not everyone believes you need an ISBN. If you plan on only selling your book in e-book form, then you do have the option of skipping the ISBN and using the default numbering system for Amazon, iBooks or BN. Bowker is the authorized ISBN retailer in the US. Their prices are:

1 ISBN = $125

10 ISBNs = $295

100 ISBNs = $575


Distribution can be free if you use the right services. If you use third party services or existing book retailers they will ask for a fee. Follow the instructions listed below for free distribution services:



Getting reviews for your book pre-publication can potentially be free if you know other well-known indie authors. Sites like Kirkus, Blue Ink, and Publishers Weekly all sell review packages for indie or self-published authors.

  • Cost of review from Kirkus: $425
  • Cost of review from BlueInk Reviews: $396
  • Cost of review from Publishers Weekly PW Select: $149


Marketing and PR

Once your book is complete and ready for distrubtion you need to market it to get the word out. Marketing is also a service you could potentially get free if you know someone who does marketing or if you want to do it yourself. To hire a marketing or PR person the price ranges will depend on the actual person. Depending on what services you want you can be expected to pay anywhere from $100 to $5,000+.

 Works Cited