The Cost of Indie Publishing

The Cost of Indie Publishing

I published my first book for fifty dollars. Retirement: A Journey not a Destination was a do-it-yourself project and, frankly that’s what it looked like, since I had so little expertise in graphic design and formatting of text. But that was just fine because it was only meant for a limited audience of family and friends, and it was a great learning experience.
My novel Hattie’s Place is intended for a much wider audience, and so I want to make certain that the final product does not look homemade. I have chosen to publish independently through Create Space, as I did last time. However, this time I am availing myself of the professional services offered by the CreateSpace publishing consultants.
CreateSpace offers editing services; however I did not feel the need of them, as my manuscript had already been through two professional editing rounds. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I had invested $2448.93 in the Kirkus Collaborative Editing package for a professional critique of the content and structure of my novel. After extensive revisions, I had an additional copy edit done for $1580. (The cost is figured on a basic fee plus a per word fee. I had a little over 90,000 words.)
After speaking with one of the publishing consultants, who was very helpful in answering all of my questions, I purchased the following services:

  • Custom CoverCreateSpace will design 2 professional book covers, based on a questionnaire about my manuscript and my own vision for the cover. I will choose one of the two. The cost is $399.
  • Simple Interior–I can select from several basic fonts and styles, and CreateSpace will format the interior for the hardcopy of the book accordingly. This will include  properly formatted title page and table of contents. The cost is $199. (The interior of my book is simple because it has no pictures or graphs or tables. To add any of those items would be more expensive.)
  • Simple Kindle Conversion–My manuscript will also be converted to Kindle format. The cost is $79.
  • Marketing Copy Essentials–An expert copywriter will craft my marketing materials based on my book’s target audience, summary, and key messages. This will also include my back cover text and author biography. The cost is $249.
  • LCCN AssignmentCreateSpace will do the paperwork for having a Library of Congress number assigned to my book. The cost is $25.

So far, I have $4979.93 invested in my book–$951 for the CreateSpace services, $2448.93 for the collaborative editing, and $1580 for the the copy editing. For my next novel, I would forgo the collaborative edit, and that would bring the total to $2531. 
My point in itemizing the cost of each of the services I selected, is to illustrate how much support is available to an author seeking to publish his/her work. You can do it on a shoestring, for as little as $50, if you are willing to devote your own time or if you have a writing support group/technology savvy friends to help; you can invest around $5000 and get it all done professionally; or, you can pick and choose only those services that you are unable or unwilling to do for yourself, and invest something in between the two extremes.
I need to mention one caveat. The process becomes more complicated and expensive if you are seeking to publish a manuscript with lots of images or graphics–e.g., a children’s book with more illustrations than print, a memoir or travel book with pictures, a book that contains graphs or tables. I can’t tell you specifically how complicated or how expensive, because, with the exception of the cover, my book is exclusively text. What I can say from experience is that if your manuscript is primarily simple text, the CreateSpace process can be a quick, seamless, and budget-friendly way to publish.

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