How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book

Publishing a book will cost anywhere from $500 to $4,800. However, this price will vary depending on several factors, such as editing, cover design, formatting, publishing, printing, and marketing. Your book’s genre and word count can also affect the final costs. 

So, how much does it cost to publish a book? Similarly, how much does it cost to self-publish? Read on to explore the costs of publishing your book in each step of the self-publishing process. Also, find out the various stages in which you may save some costs or cut corners.

Disclaimer: The self-publishing costs are approximations and may change over time.

Editing Costs

an editor checking a book manuscript

Ave. Editing Costs: $25 to $150 per hour 

Professional book editors charge an hourly rate ranging from $25 to $150, which depends on the type of work and the editor’s experience. You can better understand the editorial rates on the Editorial Freelancers Association website.

Depending on how polished you want your final work to be, you may need more than one type of editing. These types of editing include the following:

  • Developmental edit: This is the most intensive form of editing that looks at your book’s structure and content. You can pay around $0.005 – $0.02 per word for developmental editing.
  • Copy editing: This type of edit focuses more on your work’s sentence structure and grammar. It ensures accuracy in spelling and punctuation. You pay approximately $0.15 – $2 per word for copyediting.
  • Proofreading: This final check looks for any remaining typos or grammatical errors that editors may have missed during previous editorial stages. Each type of edit will vary in cost depending on the book’s length and complexity. So, it is best to shop for reliable editors who offer competitive rates.

What Can Affect Editing Costs?

Several other factors will influence the cost of editing. These include the following:

  • The subject matter: More complex subjects may require higher rates because it is more time-consuming to research and fact-check. 
  • The genre of your book: The most challenging genres to edit are non-fiction and historical fiction books. These genres demand in-depth research and fact-checking.
  • The length or word count: A longer book will cost more since editors charge per word or page.
  • The state of the manuscript: If you still need a final draft, your editor may need to spend extra time reading through the raw material. Thus, the cost may increase.
  • Your Editor’s Experience: More experienced editors charge higher fees. But it may be worth it for exceptional books.

Alternatives

Some professional editing costs may be too high for your budget. In such cases, some alternatives can help you achieve a similar result. For instance, consider using writing software tools or apps such as Grammarly and ProWritingAid to self-edit your work. 

These programs use artificial intelligence to scan texts for errors, making them great options for authors on a tight budget.

You can also enlist the help of beta readers or writers’ groups, which can help you identify areas for improvement.

Professional Cover Design Costs

a graphic designer using a drawing table to design a book cover.

Ave. Cover Design Costs: $300-$800  

Generally speaking, you should pay between $300 – $800 for a professionally designed cover. These figures include a back cover copy, typesetting, spine, and wrap-around cover for paperback books. 

Tip: Remember, professional book covers are an essential part of any book. They can make all the difference in selling copies.

The cost may seem like a large sum of money. But, it’s essential to invest in quality covers that draw readers in and make them want to pick up your book. Remember, professional designers can provide unique designs catered to your needs and genre.

What Can Affect Design Costs?

The final cost of your book cover design will depend on several factors. These include the following:

  • The designer’s experience and portfolio
  • The required style
  • The number of revisions you need
  • Your submission deadline
  • The type of cover (eBook, paperback, etc.)

In addition to costs, it’s also important to consider the quality of the designer you’re hiring. You want someone reliable, experienced, and willing to go the extra mile.

Alternatives

Professional design costs may be too high for your budget. In such a case, consider creating your cover using free online tools such as Canva. Canva allows users to create custom book covers without the necessary design experience.

You may also hire a freelancer from sites like Fiverr and Upwork to complete a one-time project. Freelancers from such platforms are usually experienced and charge lower prices.

Book Formatting Costs

A person reading a book

Ave. Book Formatting Costs: $100-$150

On average, professional book formatting services range from $100-$150. However, this cost is only for novels and non-fiction books up to 200 pages long. For longer books, you should expect to pay more.

Tip: Remember, when it comes to formatting the interior of your book, the cost can depend on the length and complexity of the text. 

Professional formatting includes font selection, layout design, paragraph styling, headers and footers, page numbering, and table of contents creation.

Besides formatting, you must consider the cost of typesetting and creating a Table of Contents. Typesetting usually costs around $30-$50 per page. It can take up to 1-2 days, depending on the complexity of your design.

What Can Affect Book Formatting Costs?

The cost of formatting will depend on the following factors:

  • Experience level:Professionals with more experience and specialization in specific formats may charge higher rates than those without as much experience.
  • Text or image-heavy: Books with many images and illustrations require more time to format and thus can cost more.
  • Book length: Longer books require more time for formatting and, thus, a higher fee.

Alternatives

If you cannot afford a professional book formatting service or would prefer to do it yourself, there are plenty of alternatives. 

For example, Kindle Create and Vellum are great software options for formatting eBooks. Reedsy’s eBook formatting tool is also a good option if you don’t have experience with software programs.

You can also use Microsoft Word to format your book – if you know how to set up styles and margins and create a table of contents.

Publishing Costs

An aspiring author comparing online publishing rates

Ave. Publishing Costs: $100 – $1000

How much does it cost to publish a book? It costs anywhere from $100 to $1000 to publish a book. 

You can also use self-publishing platforms like Reedsy, Lulu, and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). These platforms have no upfront costs. However, these services charge a percentage of royalties ranging from 10% to 70%. 

KDP also offers KDP Select, a subscription-based program that provides authors with free promotional tools and increased visibility. This is if authors agree to exclusive distribution on the Kindle Store.

If you want your ISBN, you can purchase one through Bowker. This will typically cost around $125-$250, depending on the country of publication.

What Can Affect Publishing Costs?

Several factors can affect publishing costs, including:

  • The length and complexity of your manuscript
  • The number of copies you plan to print and distribute
  • The quality of editing and design services you choose
  • Whether you opt for traditional or self-publishing

You may also need to factor in printing costs and ISBN fees if you print a physical copy of your book. Finally, if you are self-publishing, your book’s cost will depend on the royalty percentage you agree to with the platform. It can range between 10 and 70 percent.

Printing Costs

Ai Printing

Ave. Publishing Costs: $2-$4 per copy for 500-1000 copies

Printing costs usually vary depending on the number of copies you order. They also vary with the type of paper and binding used for your book and the printer’s least order quantity.

On average, a full-color paperback book will cost around $2-$4 per copy when ordering 500-1000 copies. If you print fewer than 500 copies, the cost can range from $4 to $8 per copy. 

For hardcover books, the cost usually starts at around $3.50 per copy for 500-1000 copies.

Tip: Print-on-demand services such as IngramSpark and Draft2Digital can help you save money. This is because the books get printed one at a time on an as-needed basis. Moreover, the cost of printing each copy is lower than traditional offset printing.

Print-on-demand services eliminate the need to buy large print runs upfront. With IngramSpark, you can expect to pay $3-$5 per book for standard print books and $7-$10 for hardcover versions. Draft2Digital’s rates are slightly lower than IngramSpark’s, yet, they only offer printing services in the US and Canada.

What Can Affect Printing Costs?

The cost of printing your book will depend on several factors. They include the following:

  • The type of paper used
  • The number of copies you print
  • Whether you opt for color or black-and-white printing

Color printing tends to be more expensive than black-and-white because it uses more ink and toner and, thus, requires more frequent refilling of the printer’s ink tanks.

Also, note that the type of binding you choose can affect printing costs. For example, hardbound books cost more than paperbacks.

Alternatives

If you’d like to avoid printing costs altogether, there are alternatives such as eBooks and audiobooks. eBooks can get distributed through Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo.

Audiobooks can get produced using ACX, Findaway Voices, or Authors Republic services.

These services provide authors with a platform to distribute their audiobooks. They also get access to professional actors, editors, and producers. Additionally, many libraries now offer eBook and audiobook rental services. These libraries can help you reach a wider audience for free.

Marketing Costs

woman using social media for digital marketing

Ave. Publishing Costs: $500-$5,000

The average cost for marketing a book can range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the type of promotion you’re doing. 

For example, Amazon ads typically cost between $0.30-$1 per click. Digital advertising (like running paid campaigns on social media like Facebook) can also be expensive.

But don’t worry. There are also a few ways to promote your book for free or at a low cost. 

  1.  You can start by creating a website and social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter. Here, you connect with influencers in your genre who may be willing to review and share your book.
  2. You can join Reedsy Discovery, where authors can submit their books for free. In return, you get more exposure and connect with readers. 

There are several paid book launch platforms to promote your book. You also get it in front of potential readers. Here’s a list of some popular ones, along with their associated costs:

What Can Affect Book Marketing Costs?

The cost of marketing your book will depend on several factors, such as:

  • The duration and type of promotion you choose: Marketing campaigns that run for longer periods are more expensive than short-term promotions.
  • The type of marketing platform you use: Some platforms may have higher fees than others or offer more services for an extra cost.

Alternatives

Remember to explore alternative ways of promoting your book. For example, you can use the following strategies:

  • Connect with readers on forums and communities and get them excited about your book
  • Reach out to friends and family who may be willing to help spread the word
  • Connect you with influencers in your genre who might be able to review and share your book

Furthermore, you may make good use of Bookstagrammers. Bookstagrammers are becoming increasingly popular among authors. They engage in creative photo shoots and post reviews on their Instagram accounts.

The Cost of Self-Publishing Is Between $500 and $4,800

How much does it cost to publish a book? When self-publishing a book, you will need to set a budget between $500 to $4,800. But remember that there are several ways to reduce costs. 

You can cut corners on editing and printing costs. For more information on the various aspects of book publishing, check out our helpful guide here at Capitalize My Title.


This post was proofread by Grammarly. Try it - it's FREE!

Capitalize My Title is a dynamic title capitalization tool used to make sure your titles or headlines use proper capitalization rules according to various style guides include APA, AP, MLA, and Chicago. It also counts your words and checks for grammar issues.

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