Do You Have the Money to Self-Publish?

big money bag clipart
It is disheartening to see any good author fail. It is discouraging to read that many authors don’t make their money back if they self-publish through most of the vanity presses.  When I write about money I also include time and effort.

I’m not going to write about how much money it costs to self-publish a book, but rather I’m asking if you have the money to self-publish?
For this math magic to work I’ll take a lower hourly wage and a higher hourly wage- and since the writers of Living a Life of Writing live in Canada, I will be using the range of minimum wages across the country – which range from $9.95 per hour to $11.00 per hour depending on the province.
coins fallingDo you have enough money to stop working for a month or longer to get your writing done and then have it looked over by an editor, whom you will have to pay?  Or, do you work your day job so that your bills are paid but it limits your time to write.
Assuming you type at a normal rate, it would take about a month to write a 80,000 word novel.  If it non fiction it might take longer since you will go back and check and correct your facts.  If you write for about 3 hours a day, you will have written more than that assuming that you don’t edit your writing.  Since this won’t be true, I’m going to suggest that a first draft should take about 30 days or less to write.
pile gold coins

With these numbers in mind, if you were to think about writing based on an hourly wage, then you’d need to earn anywhere from $895 to $990 per month to simply pay for writing you book for however long it takes (9.95X3X30= 895.50 for the lower range and 11.00X3X30=  990 for the higher range) This is, again assuming you spend three solid hours a day working on your book in some format- the numbers will be higher or lower depending on how much you do each day.

stephen king quoteThen, after factoring in the money based on time spent writing and editing your work yourself, there are the fees for editing your book- which can range from $500 to upwards of $2000 per manuscript or based on the editor, depending on whom you choose to use as an editing company or professional editor there are different fees, and how deep you want to edit your book.  

I used CreateSpace and First Editing (an online editing service) for some number comparisons,  with CreateSpace the quote is $160 for simple copyedits (one round) but I assume most writers will take two or more, and with this in mind I made sure it was at $500. 

A simple copyedit consists of spelling and grammar, whereas a more content editing is exactly what is it is: plot, spelling, grammar, flow cutting and resetting structure.  There is more at higher price ranges but, the motto “you get what you pay for” holds true.  Follow you dreams of publishing, but also have a plan to write.

john grisham quoteNow, after all this you will have to pay for something with the book in regards to publishing it.  If you are great with a computer and can understand interiors and cover designs, it won’t cost you anything to publish with a company such as CreateSpace, or Lighting Source.  

However, you may need help and most will cost a couple of hundred dollars to do this service at its most basic level.  You can even publish an e-book for free, using Smashwords or Kindle Direct Publishing, although many do decide to have someone create that for them for a small fee, usually anywhere between $30 to $70.

Factoring this all in, a book can take about a year or more to come to the part where it will be published.  If we do the math based on time and effort and other additional costs, the cost of self-publishing your book is closer to $11,080 to $13,440 to self-publish your book through CreateSpace or others like it.  If you choose any of the AuthorSolutions companies to work with, your costs will be higher.

Writing Success

Do you have money to self-publish a book? For the most part if you don’t factor in time, most people will say that yes, they do have the money to go with the self-publishing route.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go and self-publish but it does mean that you have to plan ahead a bit more than simply “paying back” the other more visible fees that come up when publishing a book.  

The most successful self-publishers have savings and a plan before they start writing their books. Money is a factor writers must consider but so is their time, and that is worth every penny.