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Author Topic: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary  (Read 2072 times)  

Offline Melody Simmons

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Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« on: October 07, 2017, 02:13:04 PM »
Has this data been mentioned here?

It's a summary of self-publishing costs.  Not sure of the source exactly or how they collected the data, but according to this I am really under-charging for book cover design - according to them the average cover costs between $400 - $800:

https://blog.reedsy.com/cost-to-self-publish-a-book/

Oh I see it says "data from the Reedsy marketplace."

It has interesting data too about editorial services and average word count per book and so on. 

Their summary:  "Producing a high-quality book is not cheap but remains accessible. If you hire an editor, a copy-editor, a proofreader and a cover designer, self-publishing an 80,000-word book will cost you between $2,500 and $4,000."
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 02:23:05 PM by Melody Simmons »

Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 02:23:22 PM »
Market forces dictate that if you're finding it easy to fill up your calendar with jobs, you give a value product and don't overcharge. You could try to charge more to the point where finding new clients gets hard and you need to spend more time (and money!) doing this. Or you could keep your prices relatively low and have the jobs pour in.

I spend $600-1200 per book, depending on whether I do my own cover.

Offline Melody Simmons

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2017, 02:29:19 PM »
Market forces dictate that if you're finding it easy to fill up your calendar with jobs, you give a value product and don't overcharge. You could try to charge more to the point where finding new clients gets hard and you need to spend more time (and money!) doing this. Or you could keep your prices relatively low and have the jobs pour in.

I spend $600-1200 per book, depending on whether I do my own cover.

I do realize they are trying to sell the Reedsy marketplace with their article...but still the data is quite interesting.  I thought most self-publishing authors spent less than what they say.

Offline Tilly

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2017, 02:29:57 PM »
Their summary:  "Producing a high-quality book is not cheap but remains accessible. If you hire an editor, a copy-editor, a proofreader and a cover designer, self-publishing an 80,000-word book will cost you between $2,500 and $4,000."

I've never spent anywhere near that. I average $1,500 for a cover, editing & a proofread. And that's taking into consideration my expensive taste in covers.

From what I have seen, Reedsy services are seriously over priced. They have an average of $650 for a cover and $700 for just a proofread :o
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 02:32:49 PM by Tilly »

Offline Melody Simmons

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2017, 02:34:22 PM »
I've never spent anywhere near that. I average $1,500 for a cover, editing & a proofread. And that's taking into consideration my expensive taste in covers.

From what I have seen, Reedsy services are seriously over priced. They have an average of $650 for a cover and $700 for just a proofread :o

But they are getting customers right - or are they?  Anyway don't want to criticize them, just liked all their data and infographics.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 02:43:27 PM by Melody Simmons »

Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2017, 02:52:56 PM »
But they are getting customers right - or are they?  Anyway don't want to criticize them, just liked all their data and infographics.

It saddens me that most of the people who pay this are those who are like sheeple--referred by places where Reedsy advertises: groups and courses who benefit from affiliate referrals and similar places.

Yes, they are bona-fide, and yes, the services are fine, but IMO these sorts of groups cajole uninformed self-publishers whose fiction usually isn't (yet) worth that sort of expense into spending huge wads of money without a chance to ever recoup it.

There are two groups of people who spend this much per book:

1. Those who can afford it and who choose a more expensive service for non-economic reasons (time saved, connections with tradpub, whatever)
2. Those who are new and uninformed and get told by others "these people provide good services" and are too shy/scared to look for other services. Unfortunately, these peeps are very often also too scared to seek advice on the quality of their book and often they would be much better served to work on that before spending big on the packaging. I would very much hesitate to call this predatory, but it's a verrrryyyy fine line.

Offline Tilly

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2017, 03:07:09 PM »
There are two groups of people who spend this much per book:

1. Those who can afford it and who choose a more expensive service for non-economic reasons (time saved, connections with tradpub, whatever)
2. Those who are new and uninformed and get told by others "these people provide good services" and are too shy/scared to look for other services. Unfortunately, these peeps are very often also too scared to seek advice on the quality of their book and often they would be much better served to work on that before spending big on the packaging. I would very much hesitate to call this predatory, but it's a verrrryyyy fine line.

I would add a third group - those paying way over the odds but who refuse to listen that there are better/cheaper/quicker options out there. This group is convinced of their own superiority/that they are right and if you dare try to educate them, you are attacked.

Fortunately such people are a small group, but they are out there. I usually see them on  places like Wattpad and Goodreads forums. As an example, one guy on Wattpad touts that $12,000 is average for editing, but that his editor is cheaper and better (I think he's still paying a few grand). His editor by the way, has been editing his book for the last 18 months and won't have it finished until next year. What indie would wait 2 years for an editor to do a first pass?  ::)

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2017, 03:08:15 PM »
There's a big range in reasonable cover prices. I can't imagine many romance authors paying more than $300 for design (not including custom photos which can be a lot), whereas $300 is a steak in certain fantasy type niches where you need an illustration.

Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2017, 03:09:25 PM »
For what it's worth, I found the world's best developmental / copy editor on Reedsy (at least, that's what she was to me). She went above and beyond all expectations and probably made something like $5 per hour because my first novel was, in its early stages, such a slog to wade through. Unfortunately she doesn't accept large projects anymore.  :'(

I also know a copy editor who charges those kinds of fees (I don't know if she's actually on Reedsy) and has no trouble finding clients. She's 100% worth the price.

'Cheaper' is not always 'better' or 'more suited to your needs'.

However, it has also been my experience that editors dislike Reedsy's cut and the fact that payments must go through them. Without Reedsy's cut the fees would be quite a bit lower, so where possible I'd recommend contacting them independently without using the platform.

It's true that beginning writers probably aren't ready for the kind of editor who can charge these kinds of fees. On the other hand, it's an excellent way to improve your writing with lightning speed. It's like a writer's boot camp. Or the world's most efficient and personalized writing course.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 03:21:03 PM by C. Rysalis »

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Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2017, 03:16:15 PM »

'Cheaper' is not always 'better' or 'more suited to your needs'.

Nope. But it's often more profitable. Especially when you're starting out, it's extremely discouraging to spend thousands on a cover and proofreading while maybe you should have invested in learning story craft first. In other words, invest in your skill rather before investing in a product.

A lot of writers figure this out later, then spend on a developmental editor, and there is a purpose to this expense, and also there may not be the expectation that the expense will be earned out with a single book.

I have seen so many writers spend huge on covers for books that had major issues, it makes me sad.

Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2017, 03:24:39 PM »
Nope. But it's often more profitable. Especially when you're starting out, it's extremely discouraging to spend thousands on a cover and proofreading while maybe you should have invested in learning story craft first. In other words, invest in your skill rather before investing in a product.

A lot of writers figure this out later, then spend on a developmental editor, and there is a purpose to this expense, and also there may not be the expectation that the expense will be earned out with a single book.

I have seen so many writers spend huge on covers for books that had major issues, it makes me sad.

Agreed on covers. But pricey editors (especially developmental) who are worth the fees they charge can really, really help a beginning writer improve quickly. Getting yelled at in every other comment has that effect, in my experience.  :P

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Offline SummerNights

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2017, 03:32:43 PM »
$830 for book interior design? What does that even mean?  :-\

Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2017, 03:35:45 PM »
Formatting, probably? Which would mean it's beyond overpriced.

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Offline LindsayBuroker

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2017, 03:41:23 PM »
Their summary:  "Producing a high-quality book is not cheap but remains accessible. If you hire an editor, a copy-editor, a proofreader and a cover designer, self-publishing an 80,000-word book will cost you between $2,500 and $4,000."

I think this is actually low if you paid for all of those things, but who pays for all of those things?

I use beta readers, pay for a copy editor (about $1000 per 100,000 words), and send fans early copies to typo hunt. And I pay for cover art that ranges anywhere from $200 to $1000, depending on whether I'm getting photoshop manipulation or an illustration.

I have started to pay a small amount to my beta readers since I send stuff to them every month now, but that's because I wanted to, rather than because that's something people typically pay for. Most full-length novels run me $1500 or so, and I think I pay more than average, based on some other surveys I've seen. (If you get to the point where you can pay your people a living wage, it's not a bad idea to do so. :D)


Online C. Gockel

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2017, 03:43:20 PM »
I want to echo that I spend about $1500 per release on cover, editing, and marketing combined--and I have two proofreaders, plus like Lindsay offer incentives to betas for grammar checks, and expensive tastes in covers (Damonza and Tom Edwards.)


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Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2017, 04:04:08 PM »
My largest expenses are covers and promotions. Together, it might take $700-$1000 to get a book out the door. But I have two good editors as beta readers, and I don't pay for the editor who does most of the work. On the other hand, taking her to Ireland for two weeks wasn't cheap...

There are services and then there are services. I've re-edited a book for which iUniverse charged thousands and found dozens of egregious errors. I've never worked with Reedsy, but spending those numbers for a new author seems a bit high. Think of how many people earn less than $1000 a year from their writing.
 

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2017, 04:11:45 PM »
Quote
invested in learning story craft first

Amazing how many people are unwilling to do this, and expect someone to hold their hand while they slog through endless questions and issues.

I think the prices quoted on that site are far too high. But I guess there are enough gullible people that will happily plop down any amount because they're getting a "professional" to do their book.
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Online C. Gold

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2017, 05:01:13 PM »
$830 for book interior design? What does that even mean?  :-\
I paid $119 for a template that included two different fantasy looking fonts and a symbol artwork thingy for chapter headings and it laid out the book nicely for print formatting which I will hopefully see the end result of on Tuesday. That included setting up all the margins, headers, footers, and styles in Word. You can check my Look Inside for the Summoner novel and see what it looks like for layout (only the print version has the fancy font) - that was worth paying for since I would have never made it look that nice.

David@hotcovers made me a great looking cover for $99 (and he's on sale right now according to his kboards thread so you can get one even cheaper!).

I had many startup costs because I started with absolutely nothing and still came out around $1100 for the two books I published.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 05:02:57 PM by C. Gold »

Offline Rose Andrews

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2017, 05:14:13 PM »
I think this is actually low if you paid for all of those things, but who pays for all of those things?
My thoughts exactly (that all of those services combined would be higher than is suggested here). My guess would be ~4-7k range, especially if you add in a developmental edit.

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Online Reveries

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2017, 02:45:14 AM »
It says that "In fact, the data was extracted from the last 10,000 quotes sent on Reedsy by our professional editors and designers."

So this doesn't in fact represent the cost of self-publishing, but the cost of self-publishing for the group of people who hire editors and designers through Reedsy. I don't know exactly how Reedsy work, but they presumably take a fee which makes this more expensive than going direct.

The numbers certainly seem higher than most people here budget for publishing a book.




 


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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2017, 03:06:25 AM »
It says that "In fact, the data was extracted from the last 10,000 quotes sent on Reedsy by our professional editors and designers."

So this doesn't in fact represent the cost of self-publishing, but the cost of self-publishing for the group of people who hire editors and designers through Reedsy. I don't know exactly how Reedsy work, but they presumably take a fee which makes this more expensive than going direct.

The numbers certainly seem higher than most people here budget for publishing a book.

Bolding is mine. They are using quotes, not actual charges. Just how many of those quotes were NOT accepted?

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2017, 03:10:56 AM »
Bolding is mine. They are using quotes, not actual charges. Just how many of those quotes were NOT accepted?

Good point.

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2017, 06:10:35 AM »
Their average for developmental editing is very low. If I could get a top-notch developmental edit for only $1,200, I'd leap on it.

There are many cover designers who understand genre very well and can deliver a wonderful cover for under $200 and still make a profit. Should they charge $500 for those covers? Possibly, but then I can't afford to buy them. If enough indies decide the same, that designer doesn't get enough business.

It's all about what the market will bear. If Reedsy can pull in enough high rollers and naive newbies to sustain their prices, that's fine. I do believe Reedsy makes efforts to ensure quality, and quality is sometimes sorely lacking among the many people offering services to us indies.

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2017, 07:01:13 AM »
If I could get a top-notch developmental edit for only $1,200, I'd leap on it.

What do you call "a top-notch developmental edit"?
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Offline KevinH

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Re: Cost of Self-Publishing Data Summary
« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2017, 08:13:48 AM »
I did a blog post a few years back on the cost of indie publishing and came up with about $350 as a bottom-line number for releasing a book.  Of course, this was for someone just starting out and doing it on the cheap, so there were assumptions made for things like pre-made covers, that it was a 200-page book, etc.  (FWIW, the post advised budgeting at least $500.)  Obviously, I need to do an update, but I can't imagine spending anywhere near the range indicated.

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