The Myth: Indie Publishing Costs a Lot to Do…
Silly myth, but it is pushed hard by traditional publishing and by those who want to sell all their rights and let traditional publishing keep all their money.
And it is pushed by just not knowing or getting information from the wrong sources. Remember, there are always people trying to stop you.
So let me detail out the costs here as clear as I can.
Let me make a couple of assumptions clear first.
Assumption #1… For novels you must have copyeditor, someone who finds typos in your work. This can be a good friend, someone you hired at your library or local college, or someone you hire online who won’t rewrite you.
Assumption #2… You do not need a book or content editor. Those have gone the way of the Dodo Bird, are nw mostly scams, and besides, you should grow a backbone and believe in your own work.
Assumption #3… You are going to write three or four books a year and a number of short stories AT LEAST and thus pay for Adobe InDesign at $20.99 per month to make the fee worthwhile.
Assumption #4… You have spent a one-time fee of $249 to buy Vellum to format your books.
So What Are The Real Costs of Indie Publishing a Book?
You have finished a book. (You do not need beta readers, just one trusted first reader to find typos.)
So you are ready to go:
Step One: Get your novel to a copyeditor. The price can range from free (a friend) to $200. (Above that caution!) You pay this person with a business check from your business account only after they send back the book. (Short stories just stay with a friend or read it aloud to yourself to find the mistakes.)
Step Two: You get your book back and put in the corrections you agree with from the copyeditor.
Step Three: Flow your book into Vellum. You have looked at other books to know what look you like for title, headers, and so on, so you can pick the right options in Vellum to make your book look good. This creates an ePub that is ready, among other files.
Step Four: Find some covers you really like on bestsellers in your genre and then using InDesign, imitate them. Get the cover art from a royalty free site for $5 or less. (Never commission an artist to do it for you, or use your neighbor’s kid’s art. Contract and copyright issues.)
Step Five: Get accounts set up on Amazon, Kobo, and Draft to Digital. Then load your book from Vellum into the three places. OnD2D you also send your book to iBooks, B&N, and a bunch of other places around the world.
You now have an ebook selling around the world.
Step Six: Tell your friends on social media and your family and your email list you have a new book out, promote it on your own web site, and get back to writing the next book.
Paperbacks you have to do a different cover shape using the same art and such, and you can either send it to AmazonPrint which is free, or IngramSparks (which is also free if you are a member of a writer’s group (can’t remember the name)). IngramSparks gets you better distribution and into bookstores.
So What Are the Real Costs of Indie Publishing a Book?
One time cost of Vellum spread out over years.
Monthly cost of InDesign. ($20.99)
Book costs of $200 for copyediting and $5 for art. (Only $5 for short stories, no copyediting costs.)
How freeing is that?
Go have fun and stop listening to the people trying to scare you or stop you.
And if you want a ton of details on all of this, we do a monthly Covers 101 and Publishing 101 workshop at