The cost of self-publishing a book is often less than what you think. Beware of self-publishing companies whose prices are either very high or very low. In this article, you’ll learn what the ideal price range is and why. You’ll also learn how to earn back all of your self-publishing costs.

There is a large range of costs to self-publish a book

Look at the overall costs. Are you getting the ebook formatting service for a ridiculously low cost because they’re making up for it by charging you a few thousand dollars for the print book formatting service?

Do they take into account the size of the book and the amount of formatting involved?

Look carefully at the whole package. List every self-publishing cost and include every potential cost. For example, do you have to pay extra if you have more than ten images. I recommend using a spreadsheet and be obsessively detailed.

There are many ways to format an ebook or print book

Some companies design your print book layout in Microsoft Word and then save a PDF from that. This is less than ideal. Others use Adobe InDesign, which is a much better tool and Word.

Some companies export your ebook from InDesign. This is also less than ideal. While InDesign is the tool of choice for creating print files, it does a terrible job exporting ebook formats.

Some companies only use Word to design your ebook and then let Amazon KDP do the conversion. That actually works fairly well if you know what you’re doing. I even wrote a book that tells you how to do it.

I recommend that you use Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, and Jutoh.

Start by exporting your manuscript as a plain text file to remove any strange code your word processing program might have slipped into the file. (Word is notorious for this.) Import that text file into Word, apply formatting, and use styles (this is very important).

Use your Word file as the “base” file and export it to InDesign to design your interior print layout. Because you used Word’s styles, you have now saved yourself a few hours of extra work.

Use Jutoh for your ebook design because it allows for more customizing than any other program. It also imports your Word file, complete with styles.

Can I publish a book for free?

Yes, but only if you find someone who does all of the work for you. Even then, it’s technically not “free,” is it? However, you can use free tools or, at least, use the tools you already own. If you’re only publishing an ebook to Amazon, Word works fairly well. There are also free alternatives such as OpenOffice and LibreOffice. There are also free desktop publishing programs, such as Scribus. I recommend buying the amazing trio of Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, and Jutoh.

If you’re interested in some great ideas for budget self-publishing, take a look at this article on Chandler Bolt’s Self-Publishing School website.

Only a professional designer can provide a professional design

Even with the best tools, design is not something you can learn overnight. It takes time to learn design, and it takes time to learn the tools. Even after many years, I still learn new things about the tools I use because new situations arise that require me to dig deeper. Nothing can replace years of daily practice.

How many books sales does it take to break even?

The answer, of course, is that it depends. But let’s look at a real-life example of a book my company designed recently. We charged the client $1,497 for a full package, which includes custom design of the cover, print layout, and ebook. It also includes publishing services. This is a completely custom, top-of-the-line book design package.

The book earns royalties of $8.17 on CreateSpace and $6.87 on Amazon KDP. To make calculations easy, let’s combine those two royalty numbers into one. Because most book sales will be ebook sales on KDP, let’s use $7 as the average royalty earned per book.

$1,497 divided by $7 equals 214 books sold to break even.

That’s easy to do! One customer of mine sold 800 books in one month. In one month they earned over $4,000 after paying for a completely custom, top-of-the-line book design. The ROI is worth it.

How much do you charge for ebook formatting services?

For a standard manuscript, the ebook formatting and design service starts at $297. This includes a hands-on design to make your book look great on any screen size, along with the mobi (Kindle) and epub formats that allow you to distribute your ebook anywhere. Most of our authors distribute through Amazon’s KDP Select program.
How much do you charge for print book formatting services?

The print book design starts at $297. As with everything we do, we keep working until you’re completely satisfied, and you always have the last say. Most authors, however, are completely happy with the first design draft. We use CreateSpace for print-on-demand distribution because they have proven to have the best quality print, service, and pricing

Here are some samples of our ebook and print design:

How much do you charge for a custom cover design?

An ebook cover design starts at $297, and a full print cover design starts at $597. (A full print cover design includes the ebook cover.) A professional book cover has been proven to be the number one factor people use to decide to buy your book. Your design will be completely custom, and you have as much or as little say in the design process as you want. Here is our portfolio of cover designs we’ve done for other authors:

How much do you charge for publishing services?

We include publishing and distribution services in the cost of the ebook or print book design. They include custom ISBNs where you can choose any publishing company name you desire as the listed publisher of record. We help you set up accounts with Amazon KDP and CreateSpace and take care of uploading all of the files and information that each one asks for, making sure they go into the right places. Your ISBN barcode is automatically printed on every book, and your book is distributed almost everywhere online.

Another way we stand out from the crowd is with royalties. Because we put everything directly in your name, you retain all rights and royalties. We also respond extremely quickly to your emails and phone calls. We’re almost always available, and we’re very easy to work with.

If you’d like to find out more, just slip on over here and send me a message.