Asking how much it costs to publish a book is like asking how much it costs to buy a car or a house—it depends.
Do you want a 10-year old used Hyundai with 200K miles on it, or a new BMW straight off the factory floor? Do you want the upgraded sound system with that? Run-flat tires? Rust-proof undercoating? Things can add up quickly.
When it comes to justifying the costs to get your book done the way you want, it’s helpful to be fully aware of why you want a book in the first place. The answer is never, “Because I want to make money selling books.” Hardly anyone does that.
“Well, I’ll at least break even, right?”
No, most people don’t do that, either.
If you have a message you think would help people and you want to get it out there, then your book is a form of charity. You’re spending money to serve others. That’s great! Nothing wrong with that, no sir! Just be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.
The people who “make money” off their books leverage their books to make money somewhere else. They’re paid speakers who can charge more and get more speaking gigs if they have a book. They’re coaches who can attract clients once they have a book. They’re entrepreneurs who can generate PR for their business if they publish a book.
If, after reading this, you still want to publish a book, here are some of the costs you’re looking at and what they’ll get you:
$1,000 – If you do 99.99% of it yourself + have friends who can help with cover design, editing, etc., then you can self-publish your book for as little as $1K. But it means lots of work and lots of asking people for favors.
$5,000-$10,000 – This budget will allow you to pay for cover design, internal design/typesetting, editing, and a few other services that will remove a lot of the work. Plus you’ll have some budget to do a hardcover and audiobook versions. You’ll still need to write the book by yourself, but others can then take care of much of the rest.
$60,000 – If you want coaching and professional help for every single step in the process so you don’t have to figure anything out, plus assistance with marketing and promotion, then you’re looking at around $60K. This is for the person who has the funds and says, “I literally don’t have time or motivation for anything other than writing this book—just do it all for me.”
Additional $50,000-$80,000 – Finally, if you want to hire a ghostwriter so you don’t even have to write your book, just be interviewed and then your book is written for you, then add $50-80K to any of the amounts above, meaning you total will run between $51,000 and $140,000 when all is said and done.
Other services – The sky’s the limit when it comes to spending money on your book. Want your book to become a WSJ or New York Times bestseller? Budget another $60-100K. How about a PR campaign to support your book launch? $20-30K. Need an author website? $10-20K. It adds up.
All that said, there are a lot of variables (about 200 of them) and lots of different ways to get the job done at all sorts of price points. If you’ve got questions, ask away in the comments!
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