The publishing process can be scary, especially if you are a first-time writer. With so many options to choose from, you may be wondering which one is the best to go for, especially if you want to be careful with your cash. In this guide, we will look at how much it will cost you to publish a book traditionally, and how much it costs to self-publish. So, let’s get started.

How Much Does It Cost To Publish A Book Traditionally?

When most people think about publishing a book, they often think about the traditional way of doing it. Traditional publishing is when you send your manuscript to literary publishers who will deal with the editing, formatting, and marketing of the book.  This is the old-fashioned way of getting a book published, and it is still very popular to this day for a number of reasons. It certainly makes the publishing process easier for the writer, as all you need to focus on is finishing your manuscript and finding someone to publish it. One of the best things about going down the traditional path is that it won’t cost you a thing upfront. Everything, from designing the front cover to advertising it to the public, will be completely handled financially by the publisher. Therefore, if you wanted to publish your book traditionally, you would not need to spend a penny. At least, not at first. The issue with traditional publishing is that a large portion of the royalties received from book sales will go straight to the publisher. You will only receive a portion of the money earned through your book sales. On average, the author of a book will only receive between 5% and 15% of the revenue. The publisher will take up to 40%, as this is how you pay them back for handling the financial decision while getting the book published and sold. Ultimately, traditionally publishing a book is often viewed as being the smarter choice to make. You won’t pay anything upfront, and all the costs of publishing will be taken care of.  However, you must decide if this is worth it in the long run. Even if you write a best-selling novel, you will only gain an average of 10% of the revenue for the rest of time. You’ll save money at the start of the process, but may potentially lose money towards the end. Additionally, you will not own all the rights to your own work; the publisher will also have rights to it. If this worries you, then you may want to think about taking another path to get your book published.

How Much Does It Cost To Self Publish A Book?

Unlike publishing a book traditionally, self-publishing is a little more difficult all around. It’ll require a lot more work, effort, and money. Anyone can self-publish a book. Instead of sending your manuscript to hundreds of publishers, and getting rejected countless times, you can self-publish your book without really needing anyone else’s opinion on the matter. Once you have finished writing your manuscript, you can upload it to an E-book publisher, such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. You will out a couple of forms, and voilà! Your book will be published online, and ready for sale. While self-publishing doesn’t technically cost a thing, it will start to get pricey once you consider everything that will need to be done to ensure your book is the best it can be. Traditional publishers will pay for the editing, the designing, the formatting, and even every single paper copy that gets published and sold. This costs a lot of money, and without a publisher helping you, you will have to pay for all of this yourself. Even acquiring an ISBN will cost you. This is a 13-digit number code that allows books to be tracked and identified, and you will need one if you are planning on selling your book to the masses. Of course, you could always self-publish your book without paying for all of these things. You could edit the manuscript yourself, design your own cover, and avoid printing off paper copies of the book. You could also attempt to market it yourself through social media. However, this doesn’t always work. In fact, it rarely does.  If you want your work to gain traction, it will need to appear professional and clean. Well-read readers will know the difference between a well-edited book, and one that was formatted last minute by an amateur. If you wanted to self-publish your book, you would be expected to pay an average of $3,000. The price that you actually pay will depend on what services you are willing to pay for, including editing, designing, and marketing.
How Much Does It Cost To Publish Your Own Book

Traditional Publishing VS Self Publishing: Which Is Cheaper?

If you are concerned about the financial side of publishing, then you may be, initially, more drawn to traditional publishing.

This will ensure that all upfront costs are covered, and you will likely not have to spend a single cent during the process.

The issue here is that you will be giving up the full rights to your own work, which can be pretty scary.

You will also only receive around 10% of the earnings made from the book, which seems pretty unfair, considering that you were the one who wrote it.

However, the reason you will get paid such a small chunk of the overall income is because the publishing company paid for all the initial costs, including the designing, and the marketing, and all that other stuff.

This is your way of paying them back for their services.

Depending on which E-book company you self-publish through, you will receive around 70% of the revenue made through book sales, and you will maintain the rights to your work.

If your book is your baby, then this will appear as more of an appealing decision to make.

This will only work, though, if you have $2,000 to $4,000 ready to invest into the publishing process. You will also have to make all the smaller decisions yourself (editing, marketing, etc), which will take up a lot of your time.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for. If you want a publishing company to do all the hard work for you, then it would be unreasonable for them not to take a chunk out of the earnings, right? 

If you are prepared to go through all the hard work, and pay a large sum of money upfront, then self-publishing may be for you. If not, you should, at least, consider going down the traditional route.

Final Thoughts

Publishing a book traditionally will cost you nothing upfront, and providing that your book does well in sales, you will earn a decent amount of profit. However, you will only receive around 10% of the share.

If you were to self-publish, you would be expected to spend, at least, $2,000 upfront. If your book sells well, though, you will receive around 70% of the income made.

There are pros and cons to both publishing methods.

You could spend thousands of dollars on self-publishing, only for your book to flop, or the book that you published traditionally could become a bestseller, but you won’t get to see even ¼ of the revenue.

Publishing a book can be expensive, but there is a lot to be gained from it. Ultimately, it is up to you whether you’re willing to make the leap or not.

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