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How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?

How much does it cost to publish a book? IT DEPENDS!

As Founder/CEO of Enhanced DNA:Develop Nurture and Achieve, LLC and the Enhanced DNA Publishing division, I wanted to share insight into the world of publishing through this Q&A series. So when I get asked, How much does it cost to publish a book, of course, I have to give the answer, “It depends”!

You can self-publish, or you can hire expert help - it depends on what you’re looking for.

Self Publishing:

If you become the publisher (Self Publish), you can publish your book for FREE! You aren't paying any money,you just use your time and need to develop your expertise to actually publish. This can be done through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which provides excellent tools but you have to understand all the intricacies of publishing in order to have an expertly published book that meets industry standards. I self-published my first book, "If You Really Knew Me: The Life, The Lessons and The Legacy". BUT, after I published it, I began to do research and realized that I had A LOT of things to learn. That is when I decided to join the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and learn everything I could about publishing. I attended the 2019 IBPA University (their annual conference) and as a result, Enhanced DNA Publishing was born! I republished "If You Really Knew Me: The Life, The Lessons and The Legacy", used the official Bowker ISBN from the Enhanced DNA Publishing imprint and updated the content to meet IBPA standards. I'm so glad I did! As a result, I am continually learning and within this first year as a publisher, two books published by Enhanced DNA have won national awards!!!!!

So, if you don't have the time or patience, or don't feel that you have the expertise to publish a quality product that meets publishing standards, you will need to find a publisher. In our previous Q&A, we discussed the difference between the Traditional and Independent Publisher.

For review, here is an excerpt from the workbook, Enhancing Your Communication DNA: Publishing for Beginners for an understanding of the types of publishers.

Traditional Publisher

One of the major benefits of using a traditional publisher is the prestige that can be provided and validated through industry, social proof and success rates. You will receive top quality production and distribution to physical bookstores due to their level of specialty and help from a professional staff team. However, there are some significant drawbacks to the use of a traditional publisher. You could lose control over everything associated with your book except the words you wrote. You may have input but not necessarily any decision-making ability around the cover design, book description timing, price or marketing activities (even though many traditional publishers will do limited marketing). You can also receive a lower royalty rate through the use of a traditional publisher and the up front costs to “sign” with a high profile publisher can be steep!

Independent Publisher (Indie Publisher)

The terms “Indie Author” or “Indie Publisher” are increasingly claimed by authors who are becoming professionals at publishing. An Indie Publisher is truly an independent who has no other publisher involved in the process. They set themselves up with their own “imprint” or publishing company name (such as mine – Enhanced DNA Publishing) which is recognized by Bowker as a legitimate publishing company to officially publish books. The Indie Publisher is an entrepreneur who coordinates the publishing process ALONG WITH THE AUTHOR. The author retains ownership of their book and the proceeds from the book. The Indie Publisher either charges a fee for services or sets up a royalty from books sold. This would be established between the Indie Publisher and author in advance. The other role that the Indie Publisher plays is to assist the author in obtaining other author related services such as editing and marketing. These will also be established between the Indie Publisher and author but are necessary in order to meet the IBPA standards of publishing.

Here are some benefits of using an Independent Publisher:

  • The author does not need to be an expert in the publishing process

  • Total creative freedom and control

  • Access to publishing professionals such as editors, graphic designers, illustrators and/or marketers

  • Faster time to market

  • Sell through any means in a global market

  • Higher royalty share than with a traditional Publisher

  • Low risk way to test the market

Here are some cons of using an Independent Publisher:

  • Less prestige than with a traditional Publisher

  • Print distribution into physical bookshops is difficult (Ingram-Sparks is a great option though)

  • May have limited access to publishing professionals

Taking the three methods into consideration (Self-Publishing, Traditional Publisher or Independent Publisher), the price can greatly vary to have your book published. Authors can do it themselves and have no cost. They can spend as little as $500 or up to $10,000 plus! There is an HUGE difference in the cost from one publisher to another (just google different companies). But the average cost (with an Independent Publisher) could be around $2000 for a 100-200 page book. This could result in higher costs if you you include editing and cover creation or engage a marketing firm for marketing the book. It is a good idea, if this is your first book, to budget at least $1000 but confirm with the publisher what is included prior to beginning any work. Most Independent Publishers will provide a complimentary assessment to give you an idea of the costs.

Finally, you may want to ask, How do I get my money back? It is important to understand the "Royalty" process and how you will make money off your book. That is a question for another day, so stay tuned to this series for additional Q&A about publishing or contact us directly



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