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The Cost of Publishing a Book

My publisher looked at the book contract he was about to offer me and began explaining what was in it. I was beyond thrilled to be sitting in this booth, at this restaurant, on the verge of signing my first book contract. I had to pinch myself! This was a moment thousands of people around the world dream about for years before it finally comes true. IF it comes true. I was about to enter the elite club of people whose books are traditionally published. There are so many barriers to entry that it boggles the mind. And my path to this date had been littered with comments from well-meaning friends family members and advisors, all of them discouraging:

“Nobody can land an agent anymore, let alone a traditional publishing contract.”

“Do you know how many people are competing to become traditionally-published? What makes you think you’ll get there?

“You’ll never do it. Nobody does it.”

And yet, here I was.

I was going to get a small advance as part of the deal, plus a royalty arrangement that would give me $2 for every book sold, once the advance was paid back. Naturally I wanted my own author copies to sell myself, and to give away to friends and family. I was going to have to purchase those at the wholesale price, and I figured 500 books would be sufficient. But at $12 each, that was a $6,000 investment. Was I out of my mind? I had already found $5,000 to have my book professionally edited. This book authoring business was breaking my bank!

As it turned out, I wasn’t out of my mind, and these were not outrageous costs, as publishing goes. Becoming a published author, whether you do it yourself through a self-or through a hybrid-publishing company, or whether you are traditionally-published, is a pricey endeavor. Now, as a book coach and editor, I am accustomed to the investments I and my clients make along the path to publishing another book. And they are investments. If you are a writing a book for the fame and fortune that follows, know right now that you need to pony-up to be part of the Author’s Club. As far as the fame and fortune go, well, that’s a topic for another blog post.

The good news is that we can now take advantage of print-on-demand options, which mean a lower initial outlay (great for cash-flow) but a higher per-unit cost for the books you buy. And some of my clients have published only an e-book, going straight to Amazon, with no hard printing costs at all.

If you are working on your own book, it’s important to be aware of what this is all going to cost you. I’m an author with four books in print now, and I have a growing number of published clients on my client list. These have all pointed the way to the following range of pricing for editing and publishing your book… note these numbers don’t take into account the value of the hundreds of hours you are going to spend in actually writing your book:

Editing: $1,500-$10,000 (depending on the length of your book and your writing skill)

Publishing: $4,000-$22,000 (depending on the model you select)

Plus, you need to budget for actually marketing your book. The sky is the limit on that front.

Becoming a published author is incredibly exciting business. But it is a business, and you need to look at the costs involved, and make sure they align with your goals for your career, and your life, if you are going to dive into the project.

If you feel I might be able to help you with any of the above, please get in touch with me at


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