What Is Self-Publishing? And More Importantly Will it Make You Money?

I had to read a post at Book Making, and Michael makes a great point.  You can self-publish a half way decent book for about $500.  This is true, and he lists copy editing at its most basic of $200.  This is a good starting point for anyone.

So what is self-publsihing?  It is where you are chief writer, marketer, and everything else– except editor.  I agree with that statement.  It is not a blog, where a few typos are not going to destroy you ( as long as you make an effort to edit– the use of a spell checker is a good thing.)  This is where is you go to say Lulu or Lightening Source or to CreateSpace to have your book published.

In Canada, the cost of an ISBN is the cost of you sending two physical copies of your book to them.  Other countries will have different rules and you need to know them.

Now, for me I agree to his minimum budget of $1000, but I would say I would go deeper in your pocket and budget for $4000.  To me, if you don’t have a good interior (which at CreateSpace was about $280)  and you don’t have good editing you are not going to make money– or make what you spent back.

Let’s put it this way I’ll go as far as to use Book Making’s starting point, and go from there.  Mine is based upon the idea that you want to make your money back– and then some.

Editing— $600 (I would not go for less than a full-out editing.  This is your book!)
Cover and Interior— $600 (This is based upon the idea that while you can create a half-way decent cover on CreateSpace, on Lighting Source it will not cut it)
Proof Cost –$20
Marketing Items— $200
The Total?


So, you will need to sell, someway, somehow, $1445.00 worth of books to make your money back.

With a $14 book, you will need to sell about 150 books to break even.  Now, before you go pulling out your calculators, understand that the self-publsihing company you are with pays you royalties, and these vary depending upon the book price and where it was bought. 

So that is why you can not be too certain about making money with self-publsihing, but if you understand what self-publishing is about meaning that you are in charge of what you make, and how much you spend, I don’t think any would be published author would spend less on editing.