How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?

Are you planning on publishing  your book this year? Are you clueless about what it might cost? Well, you found us at the right time because we have the answers to all your questions! When it comes to how much it’ll cost to publish a book, you’ll find plenty of answers because the right answer depends on what publishing route you take.


Many authors often have the misconception that they need a reputable publishing house to proceed with publishing. Fortunately, we have some good news: you don’t need an established publishing house  to accept your manuscript for publishing. You can publish your own book without worrying about the heavy fees that usually come with the traditional route.


When you self publish a book, you’re essentially taking back creative and financial control of the publication process. We’ll explain everything that comes with the cost to self publish a book as you read on. For now, let’s get a general idea of what makes up the publishing process and how much it costs.


So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?

There are various elements that can drive up or cut down the cost of publishing, and we’ll be discussing them in terms of the following:


  1. Editing
  2. Photography/Illustrations
  3. Formatting
  4. Indexing
  5. Legalities
  6. Marketing

Let’s explore each of these in more detail.

1. Editing

Editing is a crucial phase in the writing process, and you need to ensure a professional editor reviews your manuscript before you publish your book. Editing expenses vary based on the type of editing required. Authors usually need the following editing services:


  1. Editorial Assessment
  2. Developmental Editing
  3. Copy or Line Editing
  4. Proofreading


Editorial assessment and developmental editing target new writers, assisting in refining the main concepts of their manuscripts, like plot, character arcs, and world-building.


Line editing entails a meticulous, line-by-line examination to identify errors, while Proofreading is performed at the end of the publishing process to capture any lingering mistakes. The cost for these editing services ranges from 1.5 to 3 cents per word.


For instance, line editing or editorial assessment of an 80,000-word manuscript at 1.9 cents per word would cost about $1,520. Proofreading at 1.5 cents per word would be $1,200, while developmental editing at 3 cents per word would come to $2,400.

2. Photography/Illustrations

You might’ve heard the cliché “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Funnily enough, many do exactly that. A cover has mere seconds to grab a potential reader’s attention, so it’s best to work with skilled professionals in this domain. While some authors design their covers, platforms like Fiverr or Upwork offer access to freelance illustrators.


If you’re publishing your own book, you’re already cutting down the publishing cost by half. You can invest this money in a good illustrator who can create a cover that resonates with your target audience.

3. Formatting

Formatting is something you can easily manage yourself when you self publish your book using various software tools, including:


  • Kindle Create
  • Reedsy
  • Vellum
  • Atticus 

These tools cater to different budget needs and can simplify the formatting process if you are familiar with using styles in Word or PDF formats. Formatting includes the adjustment of fonts, chapter headings, and other stylistic elements. The cost for formatting software can range from free to $650.

4. Indexing

An index serves as a directory of topics mentioned within a book, and it’s useful for nonfiction works that include numerous references. Fiction usually does not require an index, and the average cost of indexing is around $400.

5. Legalities

Securing copyrights and trademarks is the most important part of publishing for any author. ISBNs, or International Standard Book Numbers, are essential for making a book discoverable globally. An individual ISBN costs about $100, but this may vary based on the format of the book (audiobook, eBook, and paperback.)


For those publishing multiple books, creating an imprint, a trade name under which books are published, is very beneficial. Designing a logo for your imprint averages $300, or you can design it yourself if you have the skills.

6. Marketing

Marketing is an integral part of publishing, and it’s suggested to constitute one-third of your total budget. This encompasses various channels like:


  • Paid advertising on platforms like Facebook and Amazon
  • Email marketing
  • Organic social media engagement

Establishing a personal website and author newsletter can also enhance visibility. You might need some technical assistance with this if you’re not tech-savvy.

How Do I Publish a Book on My Own?

With all this publishing a book discussion, you might be wondering, “How can you publish your own book?” Yes! That’s what self-publishing is, and we’ve already mentioned some of the costs that go into it. Now, let’s elaborate on how to self publish a book.

How Do You Publish a Book?

To make it easier for you to keep up, let’s divide this into the following steps:


  • Write Your Manuscript
  • Start The Editing Process
  • Design a Compelling Book Cover
  • Start Formatting
  • It’s Time to Publish
  • Don’t Forget About Marketing

Here’s a detailed overview of these. 

1. Writing Your Manuscript

Writing a book is both exhilarating and daunting, and it’s not something you can do overnight. To make this process manageable, it’s very important to start with a solid plan. Here are some strategies to help you begin:


  • Get Organized: Before diving into writing, establish a clear plan. Define your book’s objectives, set a timeline, and establish realistic goals. This organization will keep you motivated and focused.
  • Choose Your Writing Space: Since you’ll spend significant time writing, find a space where you can work without distractions. Whether it’s a home office, a quiet library, or a local café, ensure it promotes concentration and productivity.
  • Set a Daily Word Count Goal: The task of writing a book can be overwhelming, so break it into daily word count goals to maintain progress.
  • Plan for Revision: Writing is just the beginning; revision is where your work matures. Plan your revision strategy by engaging with other writers, hiring an editor, or participating in a critique group to refine your manuscript to its highest quality.

2. Start the Editing Process

Moving towards publication, it’s vital to work with a competent editor to enhance your manuscript. Find an editor through recommendations from fellow writers or by searching online. You need to select someone whose skills and experience align with your needs by reading reviews and asking pertinent questions.

3. Design a Compelling Book Cover

The cover is the first impression your book makes, so it should be compelling. You can create the cover yourself or employ a professional. If you’re DIY-ing, select appropriate software like Adobe Photoshop or Canva, decide on a suitable font and color scheme, and use high-resolution images for a professional look. Once satisfied, print a template for your book’s cover.

4. Start Formatting

After writing and editing, you need to format. This process prepares your manuscript with a professional appearance. Key formatting tasks include selecting fonts, setting margins, choosing chapter styles, and organizing layout. You can do this yourself or employ a professional designer.


Decide on the file type for your book: PDF, EPUB, MOBI, or AZW3, each with distinct benefits. Also, accessibility features like alt-text for images and adjustable font sizes should be used to cater to all readers.

5. It’s Time to Publish

Self-publishing an eBook is often the easiest and least costly route, and platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing have made this more accessible.


For paperbacks, services like Amazon’s CreateSpace require a print-ready PDF, while publishing a hardcover might involve a more detailed setup with a service like Lulu. Each format has specific preparation and submission guidelines to follow.

6. Don’t Forget About Marketing

With your book published, focus on marketing to attract readers and boost sales. You have to create a solid portfolio online with a website and social media profiles. You can even engage on book platforms like Amazon and Goodreads to connect with the audience.

How Much Does It Cost to Self Publish a Book and How Can You Cutdown Your Expenses?

The usual expense for self-publishing a high-quality book ranges from $2,000 to $4,000. However, some authors may spend significantly more or less based on their marketing efforts and the extent of editing and proofreading services they invest in.


Now, how can you ensure that you spend the least amount of money for maximum profit? Keep reading!

How Can You Reduce Expenses While Self Publishing Your Book?

Here are five effective strategies to decrease the costs associated with self-publishing:


  1. Use Free Promotional Tools
  2. Minimize Website Development Costs
  3. Use DIY Formatting Tools


Let’s expand on these points. 

Use Free Promotional Tools

Take advantage of free promotional tools available on platforms such as Amazon KDP, Barnes & Noble Press, Lulu, Smashwords, and Apple Books. This will help you reduce marketing expenditures. Here’s how you can implement these free promotional tactics:


  • Establish a free author page on Amazon KDP, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble Press, linking back to your personal website to boost your book’s prominence.
  • Utilize the preview options on self-publishing platforms like Amazon KDP, Kobo, and Apple Books, allowing potential readers to access sample chapters of your book.

Minimize Website Development Costs

Here are three methods to lower the expenses of building a professional author website:


  • Hire a freelancer to construct a cost-effective author website.
  • Use DIY website builders like WIX and Squarespace to create your site at a reduced cost.
  • Choose free content management systems like WordPress to develop your website without any large expenses.

Use DIY Formatting Tools

For book formatting, use tools like the Reedsy Book Editor, Sigil, Kindle Create, and Calibre. These resources assist in organizing chapters, inserting scene breaks, images, and endnotes, as well as crafting your book’s Table of Contents (TOC). They also enable adjustments to margins, font sizes, spacing, and adding hyperlinks.

How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book on Amazon?

Have you ever wondered why authors are choosing self publishing on Amazon KDP? Since we’re looking to cut down your costs while you’re publishing your own book, Amazon KDP is the best way to go. Amazon publishing cost is zero! You don’t have to put down any money to use Amazon’s platform for book publishing. 


There is no setup price for authors on KDP, but Amazon book publishing costs do include delivery and printing. These are automatically deducted from royalties made on each sale. This no-upfront-payment system has allowed self-publishing authors to publish their eBooks with minimal financial risk.


You might’ve realized halfway through that publishing a book is no joke. It requires attention to detail, and you need to be aware of certain tools and strategies to be successful. If you want to avoid the added baggage of earning to use new tools and promotional strategies, you can hire experts like us at Maven Ghostwriters. We will ensure that your book gets the love and admiration it deserves, whether it’s editing or publishing. 


Schedule a consultation now to understand why we’re the answer to all your book publishing needs!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does book publication cost?

The average cost to publish a book depends on things like the type of publishing (self-publishing vs. traditional), the level of professional services employed (editing, cover design, marketing), and the production choices (e-book, paperback, hardcover). For self-publishing, authors typically spend between thousands to produce a high-quality book.

The best way to publish a book when cost-cutting is to self-publish an e-book. This method has minimal costs since it eliminates the need for physical production and distribution. Using platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Smashwords, or Draft2Digital, you can upload your book at no initial cost.

Yes, it is entirely possible to publish a book for free, especially in digital format. Platforms like Amazon KDP, Smashwords, and Apple Books allow you to publish e-books at no cost. If you handle all aspects of the process yourself—including writing, editing, cover design, and formatting—you can avoid upfront expenses.