By Angelica Hartgers
Let’s face it: Self-publishing a book can be costly, and this reality is what turns many aspiring authors away from this publishing route.
But the truth is that self-publishing doesn’t have to be as financially burdensome as you might have been led to believe. If the idea of paying out-of-pocket for publishing services doesn’t appeal to you, don’t let that sentiment prevent you from pursuing your goal to write and publish a book.
Unlike traditional publishing, where the publisher typically foots the bill for the book production costs, self-published authors are the ones financially responsible for getting their book published.
However, there are ways to decrease your self-publishing costs without skimping on your book’s professional quality. With a little creativity and a lot of can-do attitude, self-publishing a book doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, and we’ll explain how.
#1. Leverage Your Skills
The term ‘self-publishing’ can be a tricky one, because it gives the impression that the author is the one completing all the book production tasks themselves.
While this may be the case for some self-published authors, more often than not, the author is actually outsourcing production to professionals for book cover design and editing.
With that said, we don’t recommend doing everything yourself for the sake of your book’s quality unless you have professional skills in those specific areas. However, there is a way to cut publishing costs without skimping on quality, and it all begins with taking a good hard look at the skills you possess. Once you have an idea of what areas of expertise you can handle, you can decide on the things you need to hire a professional for.
- First, do a skill assessment to determine what areas you are strong at, and what areas you are weak at. Are you tech savvy? Do you have graphic design experience? Are you a strong editor? Do you have sales and/or marketing experience? Are you a fast learner?
- Once you’ve assessed your own skills, figure out what you can do yourself. If you’re tech savvy and a fast learner, you can save money on formatting costs by learning to do it yourself. If you have strong editing experience, you can save money in your book’s editing phase by doing a thorough self-editing process, which means there is less work you have to pay an editor for.
- After you’ve decided what you’re not good at, it’s time to determine what services you absolutely must pay for. If you have no visual artistic ability and are not tech-savvy, don’t try to design your book’s illustration or cover design. If you know nothing about marketing or don’t feel comfortable with sales, see if you can outsource those tasks.
- Set a budget. Organize the tasks you need to outsource, then do some research on average costs for those services. With that information, you’ll be able to set a realistic budget that is within your financial means.
Think of fundraising in terms of raising money to publish your book. There’s a variety of ways you can approach this, and many authors choose to raise money through crowdfunding campaigns like Kickstarter.
However, you can get creative! You’d be surprised how many of your family and friends would love to support your author journey. Monetize your skills and hobbies to fundraise money for your book. Good at baking? Throw a bake sale. Yoga enthusiast? Host a yoga class for donations.
The key is to choose something that won’t take up too much of your time and energy.
If you don’t have time to fundraise, just let your loved ones know that in lieu of gifts for holidays like your birthday, you’d like a gift card or money to use towards self-publishing services.
It’s a simple idea for gifts for writers that often gets overlooked, but is very much appreciated.
#3. Do Your Research
While this idea won’t directly help you earn funds towards your book’s production costs, it will save you a ton of money, and frustration, in your publishing journey.
There are a number of vanity press scams in today’s online market; these are companies that present themselves as publishers, but require you to pay them money to publish your book.
Now, this is not to get confused with author services companies, which are companies that provide all-in-one services like editing, cover design, and formatting to self-published authors.
On the other hand, vanity presses call themselves publishers, and will require a large amount of money to “publish” your book with their company name on it. The services the vanity presses provide are often a lot more money than they are worth, and many authors find that they have been scammed with low-quality editing and design services.
This is why it can save you a ton of money if you put in the time and effort to do your own research.
In the end, publishing a book is a huge accomplishment – no matter how you decide to publish. If you are self-publishing, the important thing is that you provide a quality, professional book.
While self-publishing your book will require some upfront costs, there are many ways to save money without skimping on your book’s quality.
Get creative, stay motivated, and celebrate the small wins on the way. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to hold your published book, and it’ll all be worth it.
Angelica Hartgers is the Content Creation Specialist at SelfPublishing.com. With a background in writing and education, she is passionate about empowering other writers to improve their craft. When she’s not creating content that helps writers tell better stories and publish their books, she’s reading, writing fiction, and traveling the world. Read more on our blog.