What's the point of this blog!

I'm documenting the marketing for my YA book series "The chick friends rules". I want to see which marketing strategies will work best in creating buzz and hopefully income. So, sign up below and take the journey with me.

Friday, December 16, 2011

How much does it really cost to publish a book?

Someone asked me how much money I've personally spent on publishing my books.
Here's the financial breakdown for each.
It would have been less if I hired a team that knew what the heck they were doing. For example; the artist I hired from the junior college up the street was a great artist and I fell in love with the book covers he created. I mean, I love my book covers. The only idea I gave him, was I wanted doodles on a spiral notebook like we had in H.S. and he came up with these amazing covers. I cried when I saw them. Now, for the bad. My brilliant student artist didn't create the covers using the correct format and the covers were rejected. So I had to hire another skilled graphic artist who was familiar with formatting to correct the original covers so they would upload.

My editor: I hired another kid who was the editor of a small town newspaper in Texas to edit my first two books. He was awful but I didn't know he was awful until I got my first review which complained about comma splices. I fired him immediately. I didn't check behind the editor because he's the editor and I figured he knew more than I did. Lesson learned. Didn't get my money back either.

So, I made some financial blunders that cost me. But here's the breakdown so anyone new to the scene will have an idea.

Book cover: $100

Corrected PDF book cover format:$50

Editing first two books: $750.00

Formatting fees: $200

Copyright fees: $35

Createspace pro plan fee: $39

If I did't pay for editing the cost per book would come to $424.00 which means if I'm only getting roughly $1.80 in profit; I would have to sell 235 copies of each book to break even. Some non-writers think I'm crazy, because it doesn't make financial sense. But that's the price of my dream and I don't regret it at all.

If anyone wants to share their calculations I'd be interested in knowing so just leave a comment.


  1. that's a big cost! at least now u know better!

  2. My graphic artist, who is only 17, was homeschooled and is now in college, has published her own books through createspace, is also my cover designer, illustrator and does my book layouts.

    Here's a breakdown of my illustrated books:

    Cover design: $50
    Illustrations: $5 per (I have 30 in my books but some of them are really just my game console that she gets to use a couple of times but I still pay her for 30 illustrations)
    Layout/format: $40

    Editors: I don't pay because the three ladies I use as editors, well now am down to two because one of them seems to have disappeared and hasn't done any writing in a while, are all writers and we exchange editing duties with each other.

    Proadvantage upgrade on create space: $39

    and something you forgot is print cost per book that we order to do direct sales and use as giveaways - this can vary depending on the length of the book from $2.15 to $2.95 or more, plus the shipping and tax that createspace charges on each order.

    An expense that we tend to overlook is shipping them out to people who purhase from our website - I include that in my price on the website but I still end upeating some of the cost of shipping since it costs me more than I actually charge.

    My cost per illustrated book is under $300 but that means I would have to sell a good many via places other than direct sales (that is the biggest profit margin and I usually end up putting everything I make back into my books - giveaways, promotions, event costs (booth rentals aren't cheap and add to that travel, gass, food, hotel for the duration of the event)) that just the basic numbers don't really look that good. Taking in to account the extra costs for doing my events and all - I would say at least 500 of each book to break even at one event.

    Sybil Nelson, author of the Priscilla the Great series, and Sarah Renee, author of the Saderia series, are setting sales goals for ourselves for this upcoming year. Sybil has 9 books out - both her children's series and her young adult series, both in print and ebook formats, with 4 more coming out next year; Sarah has 3 books out presently, print and ebook formats; and I have presently 9 books available - 6 in my state series, 1 YA and 2 ebooks that are for the adult readers with 2 more ebooks coming out this year and one that is in the process of being fixed up related to my state series but not a state story and 4 new state stories coming out next year as well a republication of the 2nd in the series - so that will be 17 books total for me before the end of the year and our goals are as follows: Sybil would like to sell 12,000 for the year; Sarah is going very low because she is young (only 15) and has a lot more going on than just books right now but her goal is 1200 for the year; and I've set my goal for 7500 for the year. This will include everything available and all formats and in-person events as well as online sales.

    Probably Monday, I'm going to post a new marketing strategy that hopefully will boost sales at in-person events. Check my blog on the scoop about QR cods and how to use them as part of your marketing plan.

  3. (sorry this was too long for one comment - here is the rest of the message and also remember what is listed on Heather's site may be different than what I've quoted here since my project is special. Check her site for more details and exact prices)

    So Vici, the challenge is for you to set some sales goals (and I highly recommend you check out my illustrator - http://hpayedesigns.yolasite.com and let her know I recommended you) and join us in keeping track of our sales over the course of the months from January to December (personally my goal would be to just relax during November and December and not have to fuss with worrying about whether or not I've met my goals. I'd like to have hit my 7500 goal by the end of October or the middle of November at the latest). Join in our mini war and lets see if we can boost all our sales. A good goal for you would probably be somewhere between 1500 to 2500 a month - with four books out and needing to sell at least 250 of each to break even, that's 1000 books a month. But in reality the goal isn't to break even but to have the books support us, which means we have to do more than break even.

    Thanks for posting this and getting me going on my goals again, since this is a never ending process. See you all in the postings - E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
    "The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
    "The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook

    Ma America, The Travelin' Maven
    Author of the JGDS, 50-state, mystery trivia series and "Train of Clues" (a mystery destination story and the predecessor to the state series)
    Where will the adventure take you next?

  4. Elysabeth,

    I didn't mention the cost for giveaways and postage because the posts isn't about marketing the books just the cost of getting the finished product in my hand.

    And why would you assume I didn't have a marketing plan?