by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
I read a lot of posts that assume that writers have unlimited funds for book production. But many writers who self-publish books are having to fit the process into a budget.
First off, you’ll usually save money (not time, but money) if you contract out for everything you need instead of going through a self-publishing service.
My main costs in book production are covers and editing. And I think most writers would agree that those are the two most important things. Both things can vary dramatically in cost. But both things are vital to the success and sales of our book.
Cover: If you have a very small project (short story, etc.) you could consider going somewhere like fiverr to get your cover. Look at a lot of different profiles and read the reviews to compare designers. There are also sites like Covervault where you can get free designs.
Editing: Determine what kind of editing you need. The least expensive is line editing (looking for typos). You will pay more if you need an editor to find plot holes, continuity errors, etc. or if you need a story coach to help advise you on character development or plot. You can save a lot of money by getting your story in as good a shape as possible before sending it to an editor. One way of doing this is to send your story to several friends or family to read (beta readers). You could also be part of a critique group (where you read someone else’s story and they read yours. The critique groups I hear the most about are: Critique Circle and Critters Writers. Both have won recognition from Writer’s Digest for best website.
Formatting: You’ll want your Word document formatted as an ebook (mobi and epub) and for print. You can do this by hiring an inexpensive book formatter, or by running your book through a service like Draft2Digital. With Draft2Digital, the process is free: you log in, load your book information (cover, interior file, author name, etc.) . Then you can convert your file to epub, mobi, and print by clicking on those buttons and downloading the files. You’ll upload the files directly to the various platforms (Kindle, iBookstore, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, or use an aggregator like Draft2Digital or Smashwords. Both Draft2Digital and Smashwords will take a portion of your royalties for payment, but there are no upfront costs.
ISBNs: Many indie authors choose the less-expensive option of using CreateSpace‘s or Smashword’s free ISBN for print. If you use one of their free ISBNs, they’ll be listed as the publisher of record. If that isn’t a problem, that’s certainly more cost-effective. I like being listed as the publisher (and I also like having my sales counted in with the general publishing count). I get mine directly from Bowker.com and the more you get the less expensive they are (although…yeah…they’re not cheap). More on ISBNs in Giacomo Giammatteo’s post for the Alliance of Independent Authors.
Publishing. Again, a very cost-effective way to publish on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and print (CreateSpace, in particular) is to upload files directly to those retailers without going through a middleman (self-publishing services). If you know how to upload files to an email or upload pictures on social media, you have the basic skills required to publish to those retailers. It’s free to sell your books there–even free through CreateSpace. There is no reason not to have your book available in print and digital versions.
What are your money-saving self-publishing tips? What have I missed? Or, if you’re new to publishing, what questions do you have that I could try to answer?Tips for less-expensive self-publishing: Click To Tweet
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