The Most Frequently Asked Question on Self-Publishing - 3rd September 2014
3rd September 2014
When prospective clients are ready to self-publish their book in printed form, the most frequently asked question of all, seemingly simple and straightforward although slightly naïve, is "What will it cost to get my book published?" Another strongly related question to this is "Can you give me an estimate or ball-park figure on how much it would cost to publish my book?" – The same answer would apply in both instances. The short answer is 'anything from $1,000.00 to $100,000.00 plus'. The longer answer to this question however, depends on quite a few factors:
What genre of book is it: a novel; a cook or recipe book; an expose; a bibliography; a colourful coffee-table book; a history book, etc.?
What size book? How many pages? Will it be hard or soft cover? Is it colour throughout, or black text only with colour cover? Square back or saddle stapled on spine? How many copies are to be printed?
To give you an example on just that last question alone 'How many copies are to be printed' seems to be quite simple and most people will answer that by saying something like "Oh! Just a few hundred so I can see how well it sells" – assuming that this would be a fairly inexpensive exercise. The answer is actually far from simple. For instance, if a client wants to publish a 'hard cover coffee-table book in full colour' then that would mean using a high quality A1 offset printer (like a million dollar plus Heidelberg press), which unfortunately has huge set-up costs. This means that 'Just a few hundred' (200) printed books would cost you nearly the same as 1000 printed books – the 800 book difference is measured in paper and ink costs only! As a matter of fact 2000 copies of the same printed books would only cost you less than half as much again! To give you a fairly close print-cost example of our coffee-table book: 200 books = $20,000.00; 1000 books = $24,000.00 and 2000 books = $29,000.00. You see what I'm getting at? It's not that simple to print just 200 books because it's only high volume printing that brings the cost per unit down by a large margin! For cost-effective low volume printing you could try digital print as another option; however, the quality of digital book printing is quite poor when compared to offset printing. As a matter of fact I would not recommend digital print unless it happens to be a very simple paperback novel or similar.
Your best bet is to make an appointment with a prospective publisher and find out exactly what your particular requirements and / or options are and how that would translate into the most cost effective approach for your book project.
Peter W Whitewood