Chris A. Baird | November 15, 2020
What Is The Cost To Self Publish A Book On Amazon?

You want to know whether it is expensive to self-publish a book or if there is a cheaper way around. Find out how much will it cost to self publish a book on Amazon as well as some other useful tips to make self-publishing easier for you.

To Pay Or Not To Pay

Today's question has three answers and you are going to want to stick around for the third answer. It is a secret as to the exact amount of money you should be paying when you are self-publishing a book.

Let's get into it. The question that was sent in today was, what is the cost to self publish a book on Amazon? This is an excellent question and I can understand you have an author who's got a certain budget.

You are thinking of getting a book onto Amazon. But the problem is what if it costs thousands and thousands of dollars to get the book onto Amazon? So it wouldn't be possible.

The reason is that you're thinking "I don't have thousands and thousands of dollars that would be necessary to get my book. Maybe it gets out there and doesn't even earn back the money that I spent which by the way is a very common problem.

And how does that leave you feeling? Well, it leaves you feeling completely lost in that. You have wasted all this money.

You may even feel really stupid that you spent all of this time and energy to put a book on the market that nobody wants and is just losing money. So the risks associated with paying too much are rather high and a lot of authors feel the pain of exactly just that.

Before we get into today's answers, grab a copy of my absolutely free Self-Publishing Checklist to make sure you are not skipping any of the important steps required in self-publishing. So, to pay or not to pay?

Let me tell you just a little bit of a story here before we get started. A student of mine started self-publishing, she's an author who was interested in saying "what exactly do I need to do to get my book onto the market?".

I started going through the tools and the strategies of where you should start and which tools you should be using. But the problem was that she had no budget at all. She had no money to spend and so the question then is what exactly do we do in that position?

Is this still possible without any money at all to get our book onto the market? I was able to help her because one of the things with Self-Publishing Made Easy is the concept that we should be able to afford.

We should be able to pay whatever we can afford. There is always a way to work around all of the problems that we are having when it comes to self-publishing especially in the area of money. So, I was able to help her in moving forward through this Smashwords route.

The reason why Smashwords is a very powerful route when we are trying to get the Mobi file so that we can put our Kindle version onto Amazon is that they take your Word document into their system.

Then it will spit out a Mobi file and also an EPUB which could be used for Ingram Spark or Lulu. You can also use it on Amazon. What is the cost to do all of this amazing work?

The answer is absolutely nothing. We are using them to do the formatting. To make sure that it ends up correct and they've got advanced software to go about doing that.

So that's an option that I use. I'll get into what I do a little bit later but this is just the free option. That was the suggestion and now she's still deciding whether to pay or not.

Because I commented that the absolute best tool when you're self-publishing in terms of the formatting of the book is to use the program called Jutoh. It is by far the best on the market and nothing competes with it for getting your book perfect at the right time. It puts your book into different formats.

The Key Triangle

But she wasn't sure if she wanted to pay the $50 or $60 for this particular tool which is incredibly cheap. She was not sure if she wanted to and that's why we want to explore the different options. But the fact is that if you want to use a more powerful tool, you have to pay the money to do it.

It's going to save you time and increase the quality of your book. So one way or the other, you are either going to pay with your time and frustration or you are going to pay with money to go that particular route.

That was a decision that she would have to make. But at the end of the day, we all are forced to sort of deciding upon the 3 aspects of the key triangle. It is our time, the cost of something, and the money required to get something onto the market.

This is a very key issue and with books, we can obviously use almost no time and no money and get a book out there that's low-quality. So we can save on two of the three but then we end up losing on the quality. We could get one-star reviews and nobody wishes to read our book.

This is a terrible option as well. So that's just a couple of things that you are going to want to keep track of when you are getting started with self-publishing. But let's get into the key answers to the question, what is the cost to self publish a book on Amazon?

The answer is it depends upon what you do yourself. Like we were saying, you can pay other people to do everything. But I really wouldn't suggest that.

I would suggest you learn how to do it yourself. Here's the second answer to today's question, where do the costs come in? Well, one is on niche research. I use several tools like KDSpy to find the right niche keywords.

It will make sure that I am going to be putting a book onto a hungry market. And that they are buying the books but there aren't that many books on that topic. So that's one of the tools I use for that.

Check out this related article: What Are Self Publishing Alternatives To Amazon?

Then it comes to the manuscript I use for that. Of course, I use just words so that's free. Then we have our cover that we are going to do. You can do this for free using Canva or you can pay someone on Fiverr.

For just $20 you can get a cover, I use a cover designer for all of my book covers and you can find her on Fiverr. It's fantastic, the covers look great and I can see the sales coming through. So you should check that out.

Then for the formatting, I mentioned before that Jutoh is the program I use. You can use Smashwords to do the formatting. You can sort of just put it in there with almost Word. But these are not very good because your table of contents is not going to work.

Any links, footnotes, and other things you may have in your book simply aren't going to come out looking nice. The formatting is going to look awful. Whereas Jutoh, we guarantee it's going to look great, I have never been disappointed with that.

Next is the description, you can write it yourself or you can hire people to write your description for you. Then we are going to come up with our audiobook format for our book. You are going to need to pay for a narrator to do that or you could go the free route which I do not suggest.

But you can go the free route if you have no budget. On ACX Audible, you can do a royalty split. They give half of the money from the royalties and you get the other half.

So for the total sales price, 40% royalties come out of that. You'll get 20% and they will get 20%. You have to pay nothing and then you share that for 7 years.

I would not recommend doing this. I would tell you this is a bad idea. It is better to go on Upwork and find a narrator who will work for a reasonable price for your book. Price per word, they call it Cost per Produced Minute (CPM) that you would use.

Then that gives you the ability to find somebody where you keep all 40% and this is very important. So I regret paying for my earlier books. Doing a split with them though gives us a few more years and I will own those rights.

So I will be getting the 40% royalty from those books as well. For all future books, I made sure that they were all done through my own narrator that I was able to find.

Things To Remember

Let's get to the secret answer of the day which is our third answer to the key question. The answer is that all of these steps can be done for free. As I have mentioned, all of the steps can be done for free.

But if you can afford the tools that I mentioned earlier, you should buy them. Do not even hesitate. You should buy these tools because they are so powerful at making sure that the books that you come out with are going to make you as much money as possible.

If we want to save, we can save ourselves so much money that we end up losing the money that we have because you spend money. Or spend nothing and then you make nothing. So there, we are stuck again.

One of the things for me was that when I was first getting started, I went the cheaper route. Then each month as the money started coming from the books, I could reinvest it to make my books higher quality for the next one.

Another thing I should just comment on the manuscript front is you don't even have to write the manuscript yourself. Many services are available out on the internet where you can find people who will ghostwrite for you.

If you are an author and you want to write the book yourself, feel free to do that. But I found that there were so many niches I wanted to get books on the market on that. I simply would pay other people to write books.

I would own the rights to those manuscripts. I would make sure it was not a previously published material using certain tools like Copyscape. Then after I verified, everything was under control, I would then publish those books onto the market using all of the tools and steps that I mentioned.

Seeing more money from those books gives me the ability to increase the quality of the books. Even hiring virtual assistants to take some of that load to make sure that I wouldn't have to do even some of these steps.

So we continue training people up, moving onward with the process. We continue putting it out so now it's been over 185 books that I have put onto the market and they continue. The money then restocks, refuels which gives me the ability to do additional things like that.

These are just a few of the things you are going to need to remember when you are going to self-publish a book. What is the cost to self publish a book on Amazon? To give you a round figure assuming if we are doing the ghostwriting route, then we are going to be paying probably about $300 a book for the entire process.

If you are writing the book yourself, well then we could do it as little as $100 or $150. So, these are some reasonable cost to self publish a book on Amazon. If you go with a company that says they'll do everything for you, it would be like $3,000 to $10,000 per book.

I would highly recommend you to do it yourself first. Get the hang of how this is supposed to play out. Then over time, you'll get better and better at this particular thing.

So tell me, what did you find? Have you managed to beat $300 for your book, yes or no? Just let me know below in the comments. I love to hear your things and check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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