The Real Costs Of Writing A Book

From My Story Doctor:

What are the real costs of writing a book?

If you’ve been “bitten by the writing bug” then you are exceedingly aware of the pull to write — even if it isn’t an everyday activity yet. You may be working on a particular story, something that’s been yanking on your imagination for years. Or feeling the pendulum shift from exuberance from creating to the frustrations of being stuck. Maybe you are despairing that your book will never see the light of day. You may wonder if you have what it takes to become a published author. And what happens after you’re published. There are indeed many costs of writing a book. Some are obvious, like the time commitment for getting words on the page. Others may be more elusive. In fact, you might not know what you don’t know.

To help get a more comprehensive view of the costs of writing a book, this post will explore six of the biggest cost categories for writing a book.

Time Costs of writing a book

Some of your social circle might think the investment of time to be something that’s free, but is it really? It takes a long time to write a book. Even if you sit down and pants it — meaning you put pen to paper and write, not knowing where the story will take you — creating an entire book is going to take time.


There’s the pre-writing or the planning phase where you mull and daydream your story. You choose what genre to write in, what point of view to tell it in, who your characters are, where the setting is, what the stakes are if the protagonist doesn’t get what they desire, and what the story’s message will be, etc.

Brainstorming and research.

There’s brainstorming and dreaming, which can and often does lead to research. For example: A science fiction story may require you to take a deep-dive into technological manuals and articles while a historical fantasy may make you learn about our world’s history in order to provide an authentic spin, and a mystery may require you to learn about procedures that law enforcement uses, etc. You might even need to research what resources you need and which experts you need to talk to.


You have the actual putting the words on the page — either based on a plot that you created, which took time, or you’re discovery-writing, which means you’ll probably have to backtrack periodically, if and when you write yourself into corners. You may do a little of both.

Feedback and revising.

After your draft is done, you’ll probably want to get feedback for your story. You’ll more than likely want to mold it into the best story that you can. That will mean revising and editing…maybe even doing some rewriting.

Creating a platform.

You will need a platform — a social media presence, email list, and website — to create visibility to reach your potential readers, build connections and ultimately sell books. It takes time to create these, create content for them, and to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your niche.

Querying and/or preparing to publish.

If you decide to travel a traditional path, it will take time. Time to research which agents you want to query. Write the customized query letters and synopsis. You have to prepare your query package, submit it, keep track of submissions, and wait for the agents to reply. If you land a reputable agent, it is again waiting for him or her to pitch your manuscript to the publishers. If the publisher accepts it, there are more time hurdles to cross such as more edits to your manuscript, before you see your book in the bookstore and royalty checks in your hand. And of course, you still have to market.

Or if you decide to go indie, you have the time commitment of getting the book ready and formatted for publication, finding an artist for your cover art or creating your own, procuring your ISBN numbers, publishing, getting reviews, marketing, to name some of the process.

Link to the rest at My Story Doctor