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What are the costs if I publish my book myself?

Published at 
30 September 2022

Self-publishing your book can have very low costs, but it isn’t free. The costs depend greatly on what you can do yourself and what you want to do. In this post you will find an overview of the costs that you have to take into account and I will give you an overview of my costs.

Note - Some information may only apply in the Netherlands or depend on the services you purchase.

One-off or incidental costs when publishing your own book

These are costs that you will only have once, either for your company or for your book (note, once per book!).

  • Chamber of Commerce registration 
  • Cover design (unless you later decide to have a new cover designed for your book) 
  • Editing and text correction 
  • Design 
  • Illustrations 
  • Website design 
  • ISBN 
  • Research material 
  • Office supplies 
  • Proof print

The costs of a Chamber of Commerce registration is fixed, just like purchasing an ISBN. But the others in the list can be completely adjusted to your budget. For example, check out the Fiverr website to find something that fits your budget.

Of course you can also choose to do everything yourself, but I strongly recommend that you hire a professional when it comes to editing and text correction. Also let others read your story, 9 out of 10 times they spot a spelling or grammar error.

Buying ISBNs is not necessary. If you go through the Print-On-Demand route, many platforms offer you a free ISBN. Learn more about ISBNs in "Should I buy an ISBN if I'm publishing my own book?".

With research material you should think of, a course you take to improve your writing skills, study material or books that you buy to see how other writers within your target group have designed their book. You can see this quite broadly.

Office supplies I have mentioned more so that you do not overlook it. Usually we already have this at home. For example, I needed inserts and a folder, because I wanted a dummy book without cutting and pasting. Luckily I had a few, but I have to go get some new ones.

Before you actually publish a book, it might be a good idea to have a proof print made. Then you can do a final check to see if everything is correct. The costs of this vary enormously. It is based on the format, type (hardcover or paperback), color or black and white and number of pages. Also don't forget that you have to pay the shipping costs.

Please note, with Amazon KDP, sending a proof is not covered by Amazon prime!

Here is my one-time/incidental costs list (including VAT):

Chamber of Commerce registration *€ 51.95
Editing and text correction (685 words)**€ 60.50
DesignI will do this myself
Cover designI will do this myself
IllustrationsI will do this myself
Website designI will do this myself
ISBN (10)€ 334.65
Research material€ 19.40
Proof printUnknown
TOTAL€ 466,50
* Chamber of Commerce registration has no VAT

The total amount is still well within my budget of € 500.00. Fortunately, I can do a lot myself.

During college I had the subjects design and web development. This means that I can all develop design, cover design and the website myself. I also have the advantage that the partnership of whom I am a partner has a specialist in the field of (UX/UI) design that I can always consult. She helped me with the color palette of this website.

Note that not everyone needs a website right away. Having a website should be profitable. Since I intend to promote my book(s) on the website and place links to platforms where people can buy my book it will ensure a return of investment. It serves as a hub where people can go to multiple platforms to purchase my book(s).

Editing and text correction is something I will invest money in. I have dyslexia, for sure there are mistakes in my work. Of course I want to give my book a professional look.

Considering my book (at least the one I'm writing at the time of this post) is a picture book, the word count is low, making it quite affordable.

I also illustrate myself. I've been drawing for years and I say I'm pretty good at it. I have also made money with it in the past.

I am purchasing 10 ISBNs at once because I plan to publish multiple books. This is cheaper than purchasing just 1 ISBN.

Because I'm starting to publish a picture book, I bought some picture books. This is due to pacing of the story, to study style and design.

Recurring costs when publishing a book

These costs recur weekly, monthly or annually. Think of:

  • Domain name
  • Web hosting
  • Printing costs
  • Advertisements and promotions
  • Accountancy
  • Bank account + transaction costs

It is of course not the case that all these costs come immediately nor that you need everything from this list. But they’re certainly costs that you have to take into account.

My personal plan has been drawn up in such a way that my costs are as low as possible. Here is my list (including VAT):

Domain names (2) (yearly)€ 12.08
Hosting (first 12 months)€ 2.41
TOTAL€ 14.49

And that's it. In the future I would like to do advertisements via Facebook, for example, but for the time being I have not set a budget for this. I want to do more research on this before I know what a sensible budget is.

Now you're probably thinking 'what about printing your book?', I'm going to use platforms where those costs are deducted from what is paid to me.

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