Average cost of indie publishing a book

by Gina Burgess

The average cost of developmental editing, copy editing, proofreading, cover design and typesetting for an 80,000-word book is as follows:

Romance $4,079
Thriller, Mystery, and Crime $4,159
Science Fiction $4,399
Fantasy $4,319
Young Adult $4,359
Historical Fiction $4,399
Literary Fiction $4,519
Memoir $4,598
Business, Self-Help & Health $5,239

That’s AVERAGE… and it isn’t even the WHOLE package required to indie publish your book.

More than 10,000 editors and artists were polled for this study. It seems that editors feel there are different levels of expertise needed to edit different genres. Romance is the least complicated to edit, but young adult seems to be even more complicated than mysteries and fantasy. Hmmm.

There are lots of other things you need to launch a professional book product.

You really need a website According to 2017 Smashwords Survey, authors with websites sold more books than authors without websites. AND they sold them from their websites (or at least with a squeeze page)so you can gather reader/fan email addresses.

A website is one of the first things needed to promote your book. You need it for credibility. You need it so your readers can learn a bit more about you. I know you can think of a dozen other reasons why you look up authors’/editors’/etc. websites.

You need a book proposal. Yes, even if you are not traditionally publishing, you still need a book proposal to help you in your book promotion and general marketing. It is your MAP for negotiating the maze of marketing.

Don’t know how to market? You need to learn how. Otherwise your book will just sit on a virtual shelf collecting virtual dust.

One thing noted in the article is that fact checking a historical novel is more complicated than just editing a romance. We believe fact checking is part of editing and crucial to producing a credible work no matter if it is fiction or non-fiction; it is included in our package editing pricing. The biggest driver of editing pricing is the number of words in the manuscript. If you aren’t sure what editing types there are, check out this page: Different Types of Editing.

If the above prices shocked you as much as they shocked me…

Check out Authors Community’s WHOLE package for $4,950 (80,000 words). The REAL STUFF! Manuscript Bundle for an 80,000 words includes all the services listed below.

Service Bundle AC a la carte National Average
Assessment $60 $72  $75 value
Developmental/Substantive/Copy Editing $1,968 $2,420 about $.06/word
Proofreading  $984 $1,210 about $.02/word
Formatting  $172 $179 $179
Book Cover  $430 $530 $1,200
Book Proposal Consultation $99 $130 $1,500
Website (sample site)* $720 $885 $3,000
1 full year of Marketing Coaching  $400 $5,200 $65 -$300/hour
Publishing Coaching  $75 $92 $0 – $250
1 full year of advertising  $45 $45 N/A
1 full year Author Level membership $420 $420 N/A

*According to 2017 Smashwords Survey, authors with websites sell more books that those that do not.
Your total bundle value for an 80,000 word manuscript is $11,749. That is what you would pay if you published your book purchasing each service piecemeal. This figure is based on deep research of national averages (EFA, several publishers, publishing services) and numerous sources on the web.

Read more: https://authorscommunity.net/get-your-book-ready-to-publish/

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6 thoughts on “Average cost of indie publishing a book”

  1. This really is a great price. For my first book with a small publisher, I paid $10,000 for 2,000 books. I will never make this mistake again.

    Please look at what is included in this bundle and the price we offer. God started this company and brought this team together to help you.

    God loves you and so do we.

    1. Jann, I paid $1,000 for publishing my first book. I used a vanity press. It was a horrible mistake because when I got the brand new book, I found dozens of typos and mistakes because I, a professional editor, edited my own book. ACK!!! How could I miss so many, except that my brain knew what I was saying and made my eyes see what my brain knew was supposed to be correct. It was a disaster and my first royalty check was for only 6 books sold. No wonder no one else bought the book.

  2. Margaret Welwood

    Thanks for posting this. I also think it’s important to note that it’s free to join the AC and that there are real benefits to the free membership. I find it easier to trust people who aren’t afraid to GIVE something of value.

  3. Thank you for this posting. I have published and found the cost listed is in the area it cost me. But NO help with marketing. UNLESS I paid significantly more. And countless phone calls were made to me to talk me into more packages for the marketing at $5,000 or more. It is a relief to work with a company that states their prices and will include marketing.
    I do not feel like I am alone on a raft on the ocean. With Author’s Community, I now have a rudder and fellow sailors. Thank you

  4. These are average prices? Durrant must be in the average. Create Space and Lulu.com publish for free, but you do your own editing and marketing. Lulu is owned by Xlibris, so it’s less than competent, and Create Space is owned by Amazon.com. I paid $500 each for my last three books, which included covers but no marketing, and did my own editing. If anyone should know grammar, spelling and punctuation, it’s a writer’s duty to be first in line!
    Why can’t I log in? I bought the author’s package and have the receipt!

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