You have finished your book and you are about to set off on your self-publishing journey. You might be the type of writer whose mind is full of interesting ideas, or the type with a detailed publishing plan. Whatever type you are, all self-publishers at some point will need to consider costs. For many authors, it is the first thing they say to us: how much does it cost to self-publish my book?
We at Lettertec fully appreciate this. In our capacity as printers and publishing consultants, we talk to authors on a daily basis, authors from all kinds of backgrounds and with all kinds of budgets, and they nearly always ask us the same question; give us an estimate, a ballpark figure. This blog is our answer to that important question.
Editing is the first stage in any author’s self-publishing journey, and one that cannot be skipped. Editing can be broken down into three stages, developmental editing, copy-editing and proofreading.
You have a first-draft of your book, but there are aspects of it you are not happy with, such as the plot, characters or writing style. If this is you, then you need a developmental edit. The editor will read your manuscript, provide an honest, professional opinion, and give you helpful advice and suggestions. Developmental edits are charged per 1,000 words. If, for example, your novel or history book is 80,000 words, expect to pay between €9:50 and €14:50 per 1,000 words, so therefore between €750 and €1,160.
Copy-editing, the next stage, is often called ‘line-editing’, and the clue is in the name. The editor goes through your manuscript sentence by sentence, correcting errors and making small changes. Copy-editing is charged at a similar rate to developmental editing, so expect to pay between €9.50 and €14.50 per 1,000 words. The final stage is proofreading. If you are happy with your manuscript, and you feel further substantial changes are unnecessary, then it is time for it to be proofread. A proofreader edits (or ‘proofs’) your manuscript one last time, eliminating any remaining errors, typos or bad grammar. Proofreaders can also charge per 1,000 words, anywhere between €9.50 to €16.50, depending on how much work is needed. It is not unheard of for proofreaders to charge per day, and this ranges from €150 to €350.
Editing is enormously important. A poorly structured book, full of errors, will not sell well, and you well get bad reviews from readers. We would therefore recommend hiring editors at the higher end of the scale. Hire experienced, professional editors, and look for positive reviews and testimonials from other writers. Lettertec works with some very accomplished editors, so if you would like to discuss editing get in touch or go to our website for more details.
Formatting and typesetting
After your manuscript has been edited, the next step is formatting and typesetting. Typesetting is the design and layout of the pages of text in your book. It sounds simple, but it is a very specialised craft. A typesetter will decide on things like font style, running headers, indenting paragraphs and so forth. Typesetting and design costs range from €350 to €600 for a 200 page novel for example, to anything between €600 and €1000 for a book with illustrations, photographs and more, as these books are more challenging to design. At Lettertec we have a team of professional, in-house designers, so we can provide typesetting at a competitive rate. To have your book typeset by us costs between €200 and €400.
You can now convert your book into an eBook. Most designers and typesetters can create an eBook for you, it entails converting your file into an EPUB or MOBI file, for an additional cost, ranging from €100 to €300. Lettertec are also happy to provide this service for our authors.
After typesetting, comes the front cover. Some authors skip this stage, and try and design their own cover or use a template. We would advise against this route. Very few things have a bigger impact on the commercial success of a book than the front cover. They say never judge a book by its cover, which is true of course, but, rightly or wrongly, so, so many readers decide whether to buy a book or not based on the cover. Authors can expect to pay anything from €300 to thousands here, depending on the designer’s credentials and level of experience. At Lettertec we have put together a very competitive package for your book cover design. We charge authors €100 for cover design if they supply us with the images/concept, and €200 for our team to design a cover based on an original concept. (Keep in mind, this is calculated at two and four hours work respectively, and the price may rise if more work is needed.)
The next stage is printing. When costing printing, there are two main things to consider, the size of the book and the quantity. Discuss with your printer what type of book you want; is your preference for hardback, softback, or some of both, for example. Here is a breakdown of costs for the books we can produce in our state of the art facilities in Cork.
If your book is a novel or collection of short stories, then A5 is an ideal size. For 500 copies of an A5 sized book (200 pages), we charge €2,480 (€4.96 per book). 100 copies would cost €884. If your book is local history, poetry, memoir or biography, then 6x9 is the perfect format. For 500 6x9 books (400 pages), we would charge €3,200 (€6.40 each). 100 copies would cost €1,019. 500 6x9 books in hardcover (500 pages approx) costs €4,437. 100 copies would cost €1,275. This is just a small sample of the many books we can produce for you, so feel free to look at the website or call us for more details.
One final bit of advice; budget carefully, make sure you get the deal that is right for you, but go for quality. You have put a lot of work and effort into this, and you deserve the best product you can afford. We believe the comprehensive service we offer allows writers get a very good deal for their money, because we can provide them with professional skills and advice at every stage.
Remember the old Irish phrase, ‘penny wise, pound foolish’. This is very true when it comes to self-publishing. The better your book is produced, the more likely people are to buy it. You want your book to shine on the shelves!