Did you think it was going to be free to publish your book? I did. I had no idea that I was going to take my purse out of my bag so many times! I made a deal with my husband: no more presents for me: -o. I have to save money to keep up with my great passion! And that's okay. So goodbye (farewell sounds bad, come on!) Christmas gifts, Easter Eggs (fortunately I have a child who doesn’t love chocolate so I’ll eat them anyway!), Birthday, name-day for the next 5 years, minimum! And goodbye compulsive online shopping ... Bye, bye good old days ;-)! But I do not want to discourage you, no way... But, if you want a job well done, nothing will be given to you for free. You would like that, huh? Me too... :-)) Obviously everyone is free to make their own choices, I speak for my personal experience. Maybe you will be much smarter than I am and less a spendthrift than me and you will be able to achieve the same results as me with much less. It’s possible. I threw myself headfirst into this adventure without knowing anything about the publishing world and I had to learn to understand the aspects, the tricks and the shortcuts to take not to get lost in these surroundings that were unknown to me until a few months ago. I’m going to leave you with a straight-up list. If you need further details, leave a comment at the end of this article. I will be happy to help you if I can. I do not consider myself an expert, but since I've been there, I thought that some extra advice could only do good to some self-published writer like me.
Let's immediately dive ourselves into the costs…
COVER DESIGN: € 170 - I spent this amount because I created a competition between two graphic designers to better understand who would have been able to make the cover closest to my idea, but I'm sure you can spend a lot less and still get good results. But I would not save money on making the cover, I would rather cut other expenses such as promotions on Facebook.
EDITING: € 160 - I found my Editor on https://www.upwork.com. I had posted a fixed price so I got contacted only by those interested in the job, who had the requirements I had listed and agreed with the price. Before subscribing to this site, I requested a lot of quotes around and I almost gave up. They asked me up to € 6,000. Then a friend recommended Upwork to me and it was a turning point! I also found my graphic designert on this site! You can read customer reviews, take a look at past jobs and at each candidate’s CV and there are some really good professional figures there. Then you are protected from the site so all file exchanges are done through the internal chat and remain saved on your personal profile. Same with payments.
PROOF-READING: € 240 - Work done by my editor through Upwork.
WEBSITE THEME: € 25 - I have decided to buy the PRO version, but it is not necessary. With WordPress there are many beautiful free themes. I don’t regret buying it, but I did this right at the beginning and I think I could have waited to do it.
ISBN: € 80 + VAT (about € 97) if you take one at a time otherwise € 150 + VAT (about € 183) for 2 codes, € 220 + VAT (about € 268) for 3 codes and so on up to a maximum of 5 codes that can be purchased together, saving a little. I chose to take 3 because this is the number of versions my book has (paperback, ebook and epub) and each version needs an ISBN. You can choose not to buy it since most of the online stores (like Amazon) and self-publishing platforms (like Youcanprint) give you a free ISBN, BUT remember that you will not be the publisher of your own books in this way. This is the reason why I decided to have my ISBNs registered only to me. You never know... There’s an interesting article that helped me while choosing what to do. It’s in Italian, but you could try to translate it into English with Google translator. I know it’s not accurate, but it’ll give you the gist of what it’s about. http://libroza.com/il-codice-isbn/.
CERTIFIED MAIL: € 5 a year - I chose Aruba. It is a way to protect the copyright and authorship of your work. Before sending the manuscript to anyone, I sent a copy from my PEC address to my same PEC address. It is also useful for sending PDF files to any Betareaders or self-publishing platforms.
PATAMU: € 10 / each marking - It is a platform for protection from plagiarism. I made two time markings by uploading the manuscript to the site and thus obtaining a kind of receipt with date and time to protect the copyright and authorship of my work.
SITEGROUND (web hosting): € 72.10 per year - This was also my choice. Now I wonder if I made the right choice or not. I see many blogs online that are based on free platforms while I payquite a big fee. But I preferred to buy a domain with my name and surname and extension .com instead of relying on free platforms like Blogspot simply to be the owner of my space for the future. I chose Siteground after a long online search of the pros and cons of all hosting services around. I don’t know anything about this kind of stuff so I hope I have chosen well. I have based my opinions a lot on other users’ reviews. I spent hours and hours watching tutorials on youtube and reading articles. You have no idea... I could have written 5 books instead I had only time for one...
SKETCH / ARTWORK: € 60/80 (sketch A5 format) - During the promotion of my book I had the idea to contact an artist to have the sketch of my protagonist, Emily, done. I went to the Deviantart website (https://www.deviantart.com), I looked at a lot of works by different artists and I contacted some of them. I wanted to give all the members of my blog the sketch as a way to thank them. You cannot find it anywhere else. Only those who register can see it. I made two of them. The second is that of Emily and Alexander and is found everywhere in my social networks and in those of the artist who drew it. Many people use photos that are free on the web to promote their books (a raccomandation: use photos without copyright, i.e. free for commercial use, such as those found on the site https://pixabay.com) and to impersonate their characters. I preferred to have something unique to give to my readers, but obviously there is a cost. https://pixabay.com, per esempio) per impersonare i loro personaggi. Io ho preferito avere qualcosa di unico da dare ai miei lettori, ma ovviamente c’è un costo.
AUTHOR COPIES: ? This depends on many factors. Paper weight, flexible or rigid cover, flaps, number of pages, size, etc ... Remember that on Amazon the price does not change as the number of copies ordered increases or decreases.
BOOKMARKS: € 30 – spent for 50 bookmarks ordered through an online press: https://www.pressup.it. They look good, the paper used is excellent and they arrived in just a few days. I created them using https://www.canva.com. It's free and you can give vent to your imagination and create them as you wish.
FACEBOOK ADVERTISING: from a minimum of € 2 onwards... it depends on what you want. I have tried three types of advertising:
- promotion of the "buy now" button linked to the Amazon page of my book. I had a lot of clicks, but they resulted in only a few sales;
- promotion of a post: when I made the first chapter of the book available on my blog, I created the post promotion where I communicated it and so I received a higher number of visitors to my blog. Mabe some of them read the excerpt from my book thanks to the promotion. The cost for this promotion is minimal (I think € 5), but lasted only 2 days.
- Page promotion: to receive likes on the book page. The cost is € 7 per week if you use the flat rate. It's my favorite promotion.
COMPETITIONS AND AWARDS: € 10/20 (+ shipping costs in some cases). I have only participated in two competitions. In both it was enough to send the PDF file of the book to an email address and pay the registration fee of € 10 in one case and € 20 in the other. I noticed that there are also contests that, in addition to the registration fee, ask for up to 4 copies of the work to be sent by post. In this case the costs increase.
POSTAL EXPENSES: € 4.60 / copy - I sent my book to the National Library of Florence and to that of Rome (legal deposit that YOU MUST DO by law: http://www.bncf.firenze.sbn.it/pagina.php?id=152, http://www.bncrm.beniculturali.it/it/211/ufficio-deposito-legale). If you decide to send copies to bloggers and youtubers the cost will be the same if you choose to send them by registered mail. Summing up: the cost of printing the copy + shipping it and the cost of the envelope.
BOOK PRESENTATION: € 140 - I only paid this amount for refreshments, I do not know how much it can cost because my presentation was organized by a bookshop. If you organize it yourself you have to consider the rent of the room, the refreshments (I spent that amount because we were about 60), the posters or flyers to be printed (+ tax on billboards) and copies of the book.