How Much Money I Spent Self-Publishing My Book.

When it comes to paying for your book to be published, authors typically have to pay for cover design, editing and proofreading, formatting, and marketing. Other expenses can include the production of an audiobook, ISBN numbers, editorial reviews, and digital ads. The cost of each of these things can become very hefty. On average, authors can look to spend anywhere from $500 to $5,000.

Early on when I decided to self-published, I made it a goal to not spend more than $500. I made this goal for a couple of reasons. First I’m college student and though I have saved more than enough money to publish my book without any help, I did not want to spend all the money had. Also, I did not want to put spend more money than I was willing to lose. Most self-published authors do not make a lot of money off their first book. As they write and publish more books is when they start to see a profit. Because of this, I did not want to spend more than $500 on Living Rent Free In My Head.

Of all the expenses an author has, the most important ones is cover design and editing/proofreading. Formatting, marketing, audiobook production, etc is nice and all, but cover design and editing/proofreading are what most needs to be taken care of. They should be every author’s priorities and they definitely were for me. Every book needs a professional looking cover to sell it to readers. And an editor is needed to correct and fix any mistakes found in the manuscript. Readers won’t be forgiving toward a book that is riddled with typos and grammar errors. That’s why it’s imperative to have a great cover and get a good editor.

With that said, I did not pay for my cover. I am somewhat skilled in photoshop and graphic design enough to create the cover of Living Rent Free In My Head. Using photoshop and an image located from the public domain (free of any copyrights) I created the cover of my book. The only thing I paid for in regards to my book cover is the book cover software I used called BookCoverly. I used BookCoverly to format and properly size my cover for the paperback and ebook. It was a one-time purchase and a valuable one that.

I formatted Living Rent Free In My Head on my own for free. There are many free tools to learn how to professionally format your book for paperbacks and ebooks. It took some time to get used to formatting and learning the ins and outs of it, but once I got the hang of it, it came pretty easy. Plus, it didn’t cost me anything. I’ll probably continue to format my books on my own in the future.

The largest chunk of money I spent was unsurprising editing/proofreading. I brought a professional editor to clean up my manuscript and to ensure there were no mistakes in the book. I’m happy with the end result. She did a great job and made my book better with all the edits she made. I’m glad most of my budget went towards getting an editor because it helped take Living Rent Free In My Head to the next level.

The remaining part of my budget went to marketing. Though marketing was not a priority to me, I had enough money left that I was happy to spend on it. The marketing I brought included purchasing Goodreads Giveaway and a post about the book on a popular Bookstgram page. Goodreads is the social media platform for readers and authors to connect and review books. Holding a giveaway of my book gave it great exposure that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

Now what you’ve been waiting for, the actual money of it all. Here’s the breakdown.

  • BookCoverly Software – $49
  • Formatting – Free
  • Editing – $223 (had a discount)
  • Marketing – $129
  • Total = $401

I’m pretty happy with this number. I definitely spent money, but I didn’t go over my budget. I actually left enough money over to contribute to my marketing if I wish to go that route again. All in all, $401 is on the lower end of the spectrum of what a self-published author spends on their book.


My book Living Rent Free In My Head: Essays On Pop Culture comes out on August 2, 2022. Pre-order it now for only $3.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other vendors.

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