From author Leigh Ann Kopans:
One of the first questions I ask people who are considering self publishing is whether they have the money to do it well. I see other self-publishers giving the advice to “only spend what you can afford,” and I think that’s wrong.
Yes. It’s wrong. What I think they should say is “If you don’t have the resources to do it right, either wait and save up or don’t do it at all.”
Yes, it’s sort of a harsh message. Yes, I stand by it.
. . . .
Before I made the final decision to publish ONE and TWO, I spent some time quietly gathering estimates from the various professionals I’d need to hire to make these books a success.
. . . .
Then I made an Excel spreadsheet of all the costs, and added up the total.
Then I sat down with my family’s (very tight, four-kids-in-full-time-daycare) budget and hemmed and hawed and sweated and groaned and SQUEEZED until I figured out a way to make it work. (Basically, there will be no date nights or new clothes or electronics or, like, any luxuries for….awhile.)
. . . .
[H]ere’s a basic [cost] breakdown:
Editing, formatting, packaging, and distribution services: $825
Promotional materials and services: $700
Print ARCs (including shipping): $450
Audio book studio time*: $150
Grand Total – $2125
Included in some of those categories are some deeply discounted services, that could have easily added $1500 to the project if I had kept them at full price. All writers have different connections and different personal skill sets, so this is not meant to be a guide for any individual author or project - just one example of one person’s budget for one particular project.
. . . .
I just want to stop right here and say that I fully recognize that putting money into publishing a book up front is the biggest drawback to self-publishing. So, here are the reasons that I decided it was worth it:
I was speaking (read: complaining) to a prominent literary agent about the stress of putting money into the project at the outset. She responded with something like, “Yes, but just think – if you got a book deal today, your book wouldn’t be out until 2015. All the money you make between now and then, consider your advance.”
Link to the rest at Leigh Ann Kopans and thanks to Ant for the tip.