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  • Writer's pictureJames Molloy Writer

Does it cost to self-publish?

Hi there, and welcome back to the blog.

First of all, I would just like to take a minute and thank everyone for taking the time to come by and read this week’s post.

This week I want to try and answer a question that many self-published authors ask themselves before they publish their first work. Does it cost to self-publish a book, and if so, how much?

The answer to whether or not it costs to self-publish a book depends on the goals of the author, how much effort they want to put into their book, and their overall reason for writing in the first place.

Of course, it is possible to self-publish a book without incurring any costs; these would usually be low-end books which look very unattractive and with minimal to zero care taken while editing done throughout the process. The covers for these books have most likely been done through the PowerPoint presentations application in Microsoft Office or another inexpensive application. If the goal is to sell the book for commercial profit, the overall quality of the final product would be much poorer than that of the competition and lead to fewer sales. These lower sales should be expected as the quality of the final product and the effort and attention to detail you put in directly affect the number of readers that will want to purchase your product. Sloppy writing and editing, along with an unattractive cover, have never been a good combination when it comes to high-value books.

For those looking at the serious side of book publishing, there will be cost involved however that shouldn’t mean the overall project will be a loss for the author. Instead, these people should treat book publishing very much like any other kind of business and always aim to offset their losses with returns or even gains when it comes to selling their product. Let me explain both of these ways further.

We’ll begin with those unwilling to spend any amount of money on the production or marketing of their book.

As stated above, this can be done, but a good book sales return should not be expected unless it is given away as a lead magnet in exchange for growing your email list. If it is the case where you are looking to give the book away as part of your list-building strategy, it should be of at least moderate quality and have a nice attractive cover for the readers of the book. Again, there are many resources online to do this yourself, as well as those mentioned above.

For those looking to build a genuine following and looking to publish their first serious work, there will be a cost associated with getting your first book into the hands of your readers; however, it won’t be as bad as some of you are expecting.

Between the book cover, editing, marketing materials, flyers, posters and more, the cost of your first publication should be much less than many first-time self-published authors think.

For this part, I can speak from experience as I published my first self-published book, Wednesday’s Child, back in October of last year and the final costs of production and publication were less than I expected. Of course, when I published my book, the top priority wasn’t to make any money from sales of the book but rather to get people interested in what I was doing and hope that they would want to share in my writing journey with me.

The cover was my main expense for the eBook as I did all of the writing and editing of the book myself, with just one beta reader to give me guidance on what needed to be included in the book and what was necessary to omit from the final product. I used the website Fiverr to find someone to design my cover, and designers on the site are usually well priced and can get the work done quickly and to a very high standard for most of them. Finally, after a few revisions, I was happy with the final product and just needed to put it all together.

For marketing, I decided against any online ads, which was probably a mistake and not something I would do if I could have the time back, so I can’t speak to that as of now. Instead, I purchased 50 flyers from a local printing shop and hung them up in whatever pub, post office or shop would have them and hoped that people would see them enough to buy the book when it came to publishing day.

In all, if you wanted, it shouldn’t cost the average first-time self-publishing author much more than €50 to self-publish their first book in eBook format, paperbacks may be a little more expensive, but that is another post for a different day.

In closing, I would like to thank you again for taking the time to stop by this week. I hope you found the topic this week to be interesting, even if you have no intention of self-publishing a book and just wanted to know some of the inner workings of self-publishing for the first time. I’d love to see you back here for loads more in the future if you enjoyed this one.

Until next time.

Warmest regards,


P.S: If you like this post and would like to hear more from me, please feel free to sign up to become part of my Inner Circle and receive weekly updates from me by email on a more personal one-to-one basis. I promise you will NEVER be spammed with unnecessary emails.

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