How much does it cost to publish a book? There is no exact dollar amount that can answer that question for every author-there are too many variables to consider. Just as the price of a house varies depending on location, features and size, so does the cost of publishing a book. There are a few guidelines that aspiring authors can check out to get an idea of how much it costs to get published.
Most authors focus on the printing costs when they attempt to figure out how much it costs to publish a book, but there are several steps that cost money before the book even goes to press. If a book requires editing, expect to pay about $3 per page for that service. Hiring a book layout and design professional will also cost you the going market rate for freelancers-about $30 to $50 per hour. They'll be designing the cover for your book, too, so choose someone with real book design experience. If you have graphic design experience, purchase a desktop publishing software package for around $200, and do the layout on your own.
Businesses who arrange for layout and printing on behalf of writers are called vanity presses or book-on-demand. They specialize in small print runs and less expensive printing costs than major bookmaking printers. Depending on the size, paper, number of colors and even the cover and binding, books published through a vanity press average from around $100 up to $3,500. A vanity press will generally offer different printing packages, from a bare-bones low fee all the way up to hardcover or paperback options in a variety of sizes, from a 5- by 8-inch to an 8.25- by 11-inch book. Prices will vary among book manufacturers as well.
The more books you decide to print, the less each one will end up costing. For example, a small print run of 200 books may cost you $4.00 apiece, but when that print run is expanded to 1,000, the price per book may drop to around $2.75 each.
Note that simply publishing a book is just the first step in getting the book out into the hands of the public. In order to sell books, you're going to have to spend money on marketing them. A good average figure is around $1 per book for marketing; if you've printed 500 books, look for marketing opportunities that will maximize the $500 you should spend.
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