Self-publishing: the true cost

Self-publishing: the true cost

Okay, so the fundraising bit is over. I’ve raised my dosh on Pozible, and now it’s time to actually start the publishing process. I thought I’d share the costs involved to help other potential self-publishers.

My publisher

I’ve gone with Vivid Publishing. I was totally overwhelmed by the number of vanity publishers there were out there, and, basically, I chose this one for four reasons:

1)  I liked their website (but they’ve recently changed it and now it’s not so great).

2) Their quote was reasonable compared with some others.

3) My friend, Jennifer Lam, published her book with them a few years ago and had a good experience.

4) They use FSC Mixed Sources paper. FSC that promotes environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable use of the world’s forests.

I could do a lot of the work they’re doing myself (e.g. registering a barcode, etc.), but I’m partly paying for the convenience (I work full-time and have a three year old), and partly for the peace of mind that comes from using a professional.

The costs so far

Unfortunately, my large lump sum of $2,901 shrank to $2,587 after Pozible took their percentage and credit card processing fees. Thankfully, my mum and dad were able to do a lot of proofreading for me, along with my husband and my friend and mentor Charlotte Calder

So, I only had to pay for a few proof reads with my professional proofreader, Trish Arnott, which saved a few dollars. Also my friend, Fiona Seton, has designed the cover for only $25, which is fab. Thanks, Foof!

Cost from Vivid so far

When I received my invoice from Vivid for the first stage of work, it included (in their words):

  • Publishing with Vivid Publishing
    Allocate VIVID Publishing ISBN, generate barcode, and list with relevant book trade directories and databases, enabling your book to be easily found. VIVID books are listed with TitlePage®, Australia’s most widely used book-trade availability and bibliographic information database. We submit a legal deposit of your book to National Library. This includes, as standard, a dedicated website page.
    $400+GST
  • Ebook publishing
    Your manuscript will be converted to multiple eBook formats and distributed via the world’s leading eBook stores. Online Dashboard with sales/royalties (30% of RRP) owed. You can ‘cash out’ at any time.          
    $199+GST

Here’s my budget breakdown so far:

What Budgeted Actual
Raised $2700 $2587
Proof-reading $200 $63
Cover design $250 $250
Type-setting $300 $280
Barcode etc $400 $400
EBook set up $200 $199
Printing 200 copies $1,000 $1,196 (See below)
Amazon set up $400 $0
Remaining $199

Printing costs

Also, after reformatting my manuscript into the appropriate size, it’s much longer than I’d though it would be – double the length, so the cost per copy has gone up.

  • Finished book size: 198mm high x 128mm wide.
  • Interior pages: Black ink throughout.
  • Interior paper stock: 73gsm Bulky Off-White Paperback.
  • Cover paper stock: 240gsm Artboard, Gloss laminated.
  • Binding: Perfect bound, square back and trimmed.
  • Delivery: Inclusive to Australian metro address.

Original quote for 60 pages: 200 books at $4.82 + GST per book.

Current quote for 120 pages: 200 books at $5.98 + GST per book.

But, the upside of more pages is that it feels more like a proper book and has a spine. (I really wanted a spine as without one it just feels a bit like a pamphlet.)

Amazon

I’ve decided not to go with Vivid’s Amazon setup costs, as I can’t now afford it, and also I’m not sure I’ll actually sell any books this way.

What to charge

So, when I get my 200 copies, essentially 80 have already been ‘sold’ via the Pozible project, so I have 120 to sell. I’ve decided to charge $18 per paper copy and $1.99 for the eBook. This is rather an arbitrary amount, and I know it probably seems expensive when you can buy a copy of The Hunger Games at Kmart for $18, but it feels right. I’m not putting the price on my cover though so that if I need to reduce or increase it I can.

In reality, I doubt I’ll actually sell that many books to complete strangers, more likely they’ll gather dust in my shed!

2015 update

I had my books published and it was an amazing feeling seeing them arrive.

I then went on to publish a second book, Wobbly Jim, which you can read more about here.

And those poetry books I got published? Well after the initial flurry of interest, I have about 40 or so books left that I dole out to clients and as freebies to social media followers. I still love the feel of having published a book, so for me it was well worth the money.

 

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