How Much Does It Cost To Publish A Book? [2023 Prices]

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  • Average Costs For Book Publishing
  • Publishing Costs By Book Genre
  • Steps In Publishing A Book
  • Cost Of Book Editing
  • Cost Of Indexing A Book
  • Cost To Format A Book
  • Cost Of Cover Design
  • Cost of Book Marketing 
  • Other Costs In Publishing A Book
  • The Bottom Line

How much does it cost to self-publish a book?The cost of self-publishing a book can range from $100 to $5,000 depending on the desired quality and how attractive it is to potential buyers.

That’s quite the range! You’re likely looking for a cost breakdown to assess exactly how much it will be to publish your

In this comprehensive post, I’ll break down the individual costs of every line item in publishing a bookI will also discuss the expenses associated with using conventional publishers.

How much money does an author make per book?Self-publishing authors typically receive between $1 and $5 per book sold on Amazon, while traditionally published authors can typically receive between fifty cents and two dollars per book. Notable authors who write bestsellers can expect to receive a substantial advance payment against their royalties for each book.

How much does it cost to publish your first book?The cost of self-publishing a book can vary greatly, ranging anywhere from $300 to $3,000, depending on the quality of the final product and the amount of marketing involved. This cost can be affected by the genre as well.

In this article, you will learn:
  1. The average cost of publishing a book by genre
  2. Cost of each line item involved in publishing
  3. Marketing ideas that won’t break the bank

Links in this article may earn me a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you, and it doesn’t affect my opinion. However, it does help me continue writing these handy articles that anyone can read for free!

What is the average cost to publish a book?On average, the expense for producing a top-notch book through self-publishing ranges from $2,000 to $4,000. Nevertheless, this figure can vary greatly depending upon the marketing plan of the author and the amount of money they allocate for proofreading and editing services.

The expenses associated with traditional publishing of a book can be negligible prior to marketing, as the publisher covers expenses such as editing, formatting, cover design, and proofreading. However, the cost of marketing can vary from $500 to $10,000.

Do you have to pay to publish a book?It is not necessary to pay a publisher to publish a book; however, you may need to cover the costs of editing, designing the cover and marketing the book.

You should never pay a publisher to publish your book. These companies are called “vanity publishers” and they are not worth it.Click To Tweet

What is the difference between a self-published book and a traditionally published book?

  • Self-published books are published by the indie authors themselves. The author covers editing, formatting, proofreading, and cover design fees.
  • Traditionally published books are published by legacy publishing companies, traditional publishing services, or smaller imprints. The company covers editing, formatting, proofreading, and cover design fees. Although they do help with retailer distribution, they do very little to help with marketing.
Check It Out Here

If we assume that $3,000 is an average cost to self-publish a book, here are all the genres that will cost more or less

  • Nonfiction books: Once you factor in indexing costs and higher editing fees due to increased fact-checking, we can figure that nonfiction books cost $1,000 more than the average novel.
  • Historical fiction: This genre of fiction usually requires more fact-checking, so editing rates increase. Historical fiction novels may cost $300-$500 more than other novels.
  • Science fiction/fantasy: These genres tend to run double the length of a typical novel. 120,000-word novels can cost double to edit, format, and proofread, ultimately increasing the publishing costs by about $1,000.
  • Children’s books: Because children’s books have a much lower word count, editing rates tend to skyrocket per word. Also, illustrators can cost thousands of dollars and take half the royalties for very young children’s books. Although publishing a children’s book may only cost slightly more than the average novel, an author’s royalties (profit) are likely to be split with the illustrator, so it takes longer to recoup your initial investment.
  • Comic books: The average comic book will greatly reduce editing costs overall. However, illustrators cost a lot of money and split the royalties. Similar to children’s books, comic books may cost less to edit, but profits are divided between authors and illustrators.
Read More :   Six Steps to Make Your Childrens Story Sparkle

Once the first draft of the book has been completed, the following steps will guide you through the process of self-publishing, along with the associated costs:

  • Self-edit your book. Read through the whole book twice, editing along the way. This is free book editing, of course.
  • Send your manuscript to beta readers. Take their comments into consideration for another round of editing. This is also free.
  • Hire a professional editor to edit your book. This can cost $1,000-$2,000 depending on the length of your book.
  • Index your book if you’ve written a nonfiction work. Book indexing can cost $70-$500.
  • Format your book. You can DIY for $0-$250 and a ton of time, or you can hire a book formatter for $50-$1,000.
  • Hire a book cover designer. This can cost $299-$2,000. If you’re selling print books, you need to hire a cover designer after you’ve formatted your book (because the girth of your book spine affects spine design). If you’re only selling an eBook, the order doesn’t matter.
  • Market your book. You should be marketing your book before it’s finished and long after it’s published. There are plenty of inexpensive marketing solutions, but you can expect to pay $200-$2,000 for various book marketing tactics.
  • Purchase an ISBN. Most eBooks actually don’t require ISBNs, but all print books do. ISBNs cost $29.50 (if bought in bulk) or $125 (if bought individually).
  • Hire a proofreader. A proofreader checks that every letter and punctuation mark is in the right place. This is the last step before publishing. After proofreading, you shouldn’t make any more edits. A professional proofreader typically costs $500-$1,000.
  • Publish your book on Amazon. This is absolutely free!

You need to hire a professional editor to edit your book. This may end up as your heftiest cost: $200-$2,000. If you can’t find a good deal or friends and family-type discount, you might be looking at the higher

Yes, you have to pay a professional editor to edit your book (unless you can somehow get a legit editor to look at your book for freeThe risk of getting a bad review from readers increases with every minor typo, grammatical mistake, and incorrectly used word in a book.

Professional editing is a step that I urge self-published authors not to skip — it can make or break your book’s success.Click To Tweet

Developmental editorsAuthors can benefit from shaping the overall structure and vision of their book, which typically costs between $0.07 and $0.12 per word. Developmental editing can be a great tool to help them achieve this, although it is not always necessary.

Copy editorsCopy editors are an essential cost for self-publishers. They are usually proficient in making sure that the spelling is perfect, grammar is first-rate, sentence structure is flawless, and some even verify the accuracy of the facts in the work. The cost of copy editing can range from two cents to four cents per word.

ProofreadersPrior to publishing, it is a good idea to employ a proofreader at a rate of between one and two cents per word.

  • Your genre or subject matter lends itself to increased fact-checking. (Nonfiction, historical fiction, etc.)
  • Your medium or age category typically has fewer words. (Graphic novels, children’s books, etc.)
  • How long your book is. (A 120,000-word book may cost double to edit compared to a 60,000-word book.)
  • Your chosen editor is more experienced.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on Choosing the Best Editor

On the Reedsy MarketplaceIf you’re looking for a cost-effective way to get professional editing services, you can search for freelancers on the web. However, be aware that you may not always get the best quality for the lowest price.

A book index is a comprehensive list of contents located in the back of the book which assists readers in finding relevant information. The cost of indexing a book can vary widely, depending on its size; however, the average price is usually around $500.

I recommend indexing your book if it is nonfiction. Fiction books typically do not contain an index.

If you want to DIY your indexing, there are affordable software downloads available like PDF Index GeneratorCustomers can try out the indexing software from this company for free before deciding to purchase it for a cost of $69.95.

Read More :   Submitting Manuscripts and Teaching Ideas

You could also hire a book indexing service, such as Brookfield Indexing

You haveFormatting a book does not have to be expensive. There are DIY book formatting software options available for as little as $0 to $249.99. Alternatively, book formatting services can be costly, with some costing up to $1000. However, they may sometimes be included in a package deal with book cover design services, which could help save money.

Why you have to format your book:When formatting a book, there are many aspects to consider such as margins, headers, typesetting, page numbers, and spacing. If any of these components are not up to par, readers may be less likely to continue the book, leave a negative review, and spread unfavorable opinions about the book to their friends.

If you are an individual with a high level of technical proficiency and a great amount of free time, then consider investing in book formatting software such as Atticus or Vellum. Take the time to master the software and make sure every element of your e-book (and any print version of the book, if applicable) is flawless.

Hiring a professional book formatter might be more costly, however it is likely to be a quicker process than if you were to attempt to format the book yourself. Additionally, you can be certain that the end result will be of a professional quality. If you are pressed for time or not particularly detail-oriented, this might be the best route to take.


Trying to land a book deal? You may need to hire a professional to format your manuscriptWhen you are ready to send your work to literary agents, it is not necessary for self-publishers to do so.

Cost of DIY book formatting software:

  • Atticus – $139.99 (available to Kindlepreneur email subscribers now, launches July 19th to the public. Sign up for our email list for early access to cutting-edge items.)
  • Vellum – $199.99-$249.99
  • Adobe InDesign – $19.99/month (steep learning curve)
  • Scrivener – $49 (steep learning curve)
  • Microsoft Word – $139 (what-you-see-is-what-you-get formatting)
  • Jutoh – $45
  • Reedsy Book Editor – FREE (not as robust)
  • Kindle Create – FREE (not as robust)

Bonus: I don’t recommend MS Word for book formatting, but if you’re going to use it, check out Amazon’s video tutorial

If you do your own formatting, there are tons of templates that you can download off of the Internet. IngramSpark,

Cost of book formatting services:

  • Ebook Launch: $50-$1,000
  • Damonza: $200-$300
  • Word-2-Kindle: $50-$1,000
  • BookBaby: $399+
  • Fiverr: variable, flexible
  • Upwork: variable, flexible
  • Reedsy Marketplace: variable, flexible

Unless you have expertise in graphic design and have created professional-level book covers in the past, it is best to hire someone to do the job for you. Prices for book cover design can range from $200 up to $3,000 but you may be able to find an excellent one for less than $1,000.

Your book cover design is your number one marketing tool.When users search Amazon, they will only come across your book cover and title in the search results. If your book cover is not professionally done, readers may assume that the content of your book is not up to standard, and they may not be willing to spend their time reading it.

One of the most affordable cover design companies that I recommend is 100 Covers. Not only are they cheap, but they do excellent work.

Check Out 100 Covers Here

Book cover design will be more expensive if you:

  • Require a more intricate design.
  • Need a specific detailed character design.
  • Request more than a few edits (called rounds).
  • Want both an ebook cover and a print book cover design.
  • Get a custom design from an experienced artist.

DIY cover design options:

  • Adobe InDesign: $19.99/month
  • Canva: $0-$10/month
  • Book Brush: $0-$20.50/month
  • DIY Book Covers course: $197

Book cover design services:

  • Ebook Launch: $497-$595
  • Damonza: $645+
  • Jeff Brown Graphics: $2,000+ ($50 deposit for new clients)
  • BookBaby: $299+
  • Fiverr: variable, flexible
  • Upwork: variable, flexible
  • Reedsy Marketplace – variable, flexible

It is customary to pay for these services in two installments, with half due upfront and the remaining half due upon approval of the final design.

Book marketing can cost anywhere from $0 to $10,000 — it all depends on how much you want to spend. Reminder: You haveIn order to promote your book and your status as an author, you can commit your time to the task without investing any money.

Read More :   Collecting, Identifying, and Valuing First Edition Childrens Books

Check out my 71 Tips on Book Promotion.

As a first-time author, the amount of money usually dedicated to marketing their book is usually less than $300. When more works are published and an audience is gathered, the budget allocated to marketing should increase.

Here are some handy free marketing suggestions:

  • Set up a professional Facebook page for your book and yourself as an author.
  • Post relevant, interesting images on your Instagram page (whether for your book or yourself as an author) as well as other social media. Check out my Hashtags for Authors breakdown.
  • Some book reviewers don’t require payment to review your book and share it with their audience.
  • Without being annoying, name-drop your book on relevant subreddits and Facebook groups.
  • Write a killer book description that displays both an interesting premise and a professionally written book.
  • Enlist beta readers to review your book on Amazon when it goes up and to tell their friends about it.
  • Seek out every social gathering possible. Humbly mention your book to everyone you meet.
  • Local bookstores may allow authors to hold signings in their space for free.
  • Send press releases about your book’s release to local newspapers and TV outlets. Who knows? Some executives may be looking for a special interest piece.

However, there are some common costs

  • Amazon ads: minimum $1/day (most likely $100-$1,000 for each campaign)
  • Facebook ads: typically $20-$1,000
  • BookBub featured deal (if you can get one): $113-$3,984
  • Author website: $20-$1,000/month
  • Author business cards: $20-$200
  • Professional book reviewers to review your book: $100-$600
  • Email service for your all-important email list: $100-$1,000

Read more about book marketing costs in my Book Marketing 101 article.

  • ISBN registration: $29.50-$125 (Read this article for more info on getting your own ISBN.)
  • Proofreader: $500-$1,000 (about $0.01-$0.02 per word)
  • Ebook aggregator or distribution: $20-$300 (if you publish on multiple platforms)
  • Author headshot: $0-$1,000
  • Making an audiobook: $3,000-$8,000 
  • DIY printing costs or print-on-demand services [POD]: $4-$14/book (Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing subtracts printing costs from your royalties for each book, so you shouldn’t have to worry about printing costs if you’re exclusively on KDP.)

How much does it cost to publish a book in the United States?The cost of publishing a book in the United States can range anywhere from five hundred to five thousand dollars. This expense often includes getting an editor, engaging the services of a book designer, and investing in marketing.

The cost of publishing and marketing a self-published book is typically around two thousand dollars. For first-time authors, the budget for their initial book is usually less than that, but they tend to increase the cost for any books they write after that.

Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Check out Kindlepreneur’s Book Marketing Show podcastLearning from experts about selling your own book can be extremely beneficial. If you put in the effort, your book sales can soar, making all the costs associated with publishing your work worthwhile. Here’s to your success!

Frequently asked questions

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How much does it cost to self-publish a children’s book?

The cost of self-publishing a children’s book can vary greatly depending on the type of book and the number of copies you wish to print. Generally, it costs between $2,000 and $4,000 to self-publish a children’s book, although it can cost more or less depending on the complexity of the project.

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I cover the costs I personally encounter when publishing a children’s book. It does vary from author to author, so make sure you have a budget in mind or a plan to cut costs while maintaining quality. I hope this helps give you a better idea of what to expect!nn=nnBecome a part of the Self-Pub Squad: more: Books:nSave the Sharks: the Scraps: the Land: the Bees: the Arctic: the Ocean: (Spanish Edition: the Earth Workbook: Red:, Mermaids in the Sea:, Dreaming in the Night:*The above are amazon affiliate linksnn=nnFollow me:nnFacebook: #selfpublishing #author

What are the steps to self-publishing a children’s book?

The self-publishing process for a children’s book typically includes the following steps: choosing a book format and size, writing and editing the book, designing the cover and interior, creating an ISBN number, formatting the book for print, and publishing the book.

How long does it take to self-publish a children’s book?

The time it takes to self-publish a children’s book can vary depending on the complexity of the project, but it usually takes between two and four months from start to finish.

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What are the benefits of self-publishing a children’s book?

Self-publishing a children’s book allows authors to maintain full control of their work and have complete creative freedom. Additionally, self-publishing typically offers authors a higher royalty rate than traditional publishing and allows them to keep a larger portion of the profits.

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What is the best way to promote a self-published children’s book?

The best way to promote a self-published children’s book is to create an online presence by starting a website, blog, or other digital platform to attract readers. Additionally, authors can promote their book through social media, book reviews, and book readings.

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