My Truth In Self-Publishing!

My expectations:

The thought of self publishing was looming over me for the past five years. I planned on self publishing my first completed novel five years ago and thought that the hard part of the task was over. I believed that I would be able to find a free place to sell my book (such as Amazon) and there were minimal costs associated with the process. For sure, no more than a few hundred dollars. Easy as pie, right? WRONG! I was so very wrong.

Where did I start?

Of course it made sense to me to start with looking in a book. My husband purchased a self publishing book the same year and I cracked it open, expecting for the information to flood into my mind’s river of knowledge. Trust me when I say, I did not expect to feel like I was wearing a dunce cap. I had become overwhelmed with how much I didn’t know about the process. To be honest, I can’t remember a word of what the book said. Sure I could have gone back to look over the pages, as the book is still taking up real estate on the bookshelf (collecting all the dust), but it may as well be in a foreign language. Don’t get me wrong, that has a lot less to do with the book and more to do with the fact that I can be easily overwhelmed. This is also the moment I realized, I’m not the best teacher for myself. I decided, I’ll save the task for another day and keep writing other stories instead.

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I’ve recently dived back into learning how to self publish because I am eager to publish my first book. The excitement of holding a physical copy of something I created is what gives me the drive to figure this thing out. What is working for me is to focus on one thing at a time. Once I figure one part out, I’ll then worry about the another.

1. Copyright

This is where I began. I needed to protect my work and this is how to do it. This came with the cost of $65 and it was still within my original budget predictions. It was quick and easy. I needed to call for assistance and was met with kindness.

2. ISBN/Barcode

This was an expense I didn’t expect at all. There is only one official place to purchase this in the U.S. and that is with Bowker. The cost isn’t cheap and is threatening my ridiculously underestimated budget. Theses two can be purchased in one go for $150. I’ve also learned to wait to assign these things to my title until I am ready to make the book available for purchase.

3. Editing

Now this is free to complete yourself but from what I can ascertain, it isn’t recommended. I’ve editors in Facebook groups but with the word count of my novel, I was looking at thousands of dollars. Now if I could afford this, I would absolutely do it, however, I can’t. Don’t worry, I’ve been editing my novel for the past 5 years and will be sure to catch all the typos and grammatical errors (I hope, fingers crossed).

4. Formatting

Again this can come with a cost if you seek assistance and the cost will vary. I am choosing to use MS365 for this and was suggested Vellum, free download for MacOS (edit: there is a one time purchase of $200 for ebook formatting and $250 for ebook and print formatting). Thank goodness for my writing group member for that bit of info.

5. Book Cover

This cost will also vary. I could hire a graphic designer and get a professional cover, or I could do this myself with a free online program. I’m sure you guessed what option I will opt for. I have a budget that I’m trying to maintain here! Side note, that budget was demolished at the ISBN stage. I am purchasing a bulk package considering I plan on self publishing more than one book.

6. Publish

This where Amazon will come in for me. It is free to upload your work and make available for purchase but there will be a printing cost that will be subtracted from sales for a physical copy. Of course I won’t get 100% of the profits, as I am using their services to make my book available but it’s one of the better options for me. I was also given another platform by the same member of my writing group who suggested Vellum. Draft2Digital is the name of that platform.

7. Marketing

Marketing is very important as my fellow authors know. This cost can be low or expensive. In order to reach more readers, I’m going to have to pull together my dollars and coins from under the couch cushions and in the dryer. I don’t have a lot to spend here but I’m going to put a couple hundred into this to start.

7. Additional Cost I didn’t Consider

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Printing copies, which help in catching mistakes in the editing process (not everyone will need to do this, however, I did).

Printer and paper, so that I could stop spending money on printing copies.

Beta readers (persons who will read your book and provide detailed feedback), which I’m going to have to pass on as it will be expensive as my book is just over 90,000 words.

MS365, I tried to complete this without it, it will be easier for me to have it.

What I’ve concluded

After breaking down this process and doing my online research, I was able to push though the suffocation of being overwhelmed. Submitting for my copyright was exilerating and scary, but it felt amazing. Overall, my cost to publishing will be just over $1,000 and that is with me doing most of the work without assistance. Wish me luck!

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