How Much Does It Cost To Self-Publish?

In this quote, Alex Azoury shares that freelancers vary in expertise and cost to create an eBook.

What are the main costs of self-publishing?

Professional editing

Most authors recommend using a professional editor in order to make your book the best it can be, but the cost will depend on the level of your writing, how long the book is, how much editing it needs and the editor you choose. Range: $300 – $2000.

In my own experience, editing is most expensive at the beginning of your writing career as you learn the craft. But it’s also one of the best investments you can make in order to become a better writer, and I continue to use editors for all of my books. Click here or the image below if you need a pro editor.


Professional cover design

Most authors would also recommend paying a professional cover designer for a book cover. DIY just won’t cut it in this competitive online environment and your book cover is the most powerful marketing asset you have. Range: $50 – $300.

book cover design


book formatting

Remember, the actual publishing part is FREE on all the ebook retailers and also for print on Createspace. It’s the preparation of the manuscript and files that costs.

author website tutorial

If you choose to use an author services company to help you do these tasks, it’s likely to cost a lot more, so weigh up what your goals are and what you’re willing to learn to do yourself before you commit.

Cost of Producing Your Self-Published eBook

There are several costs required to self-publish an ebook. You can write virtually anywhere – pen and paper, Microsoft Word, Google Docs. You can use a laptop or even your cell phone. Some writers choose to invest in writing software like Novlr, Scrivener, or LivingWriter. You can even hire a ghostwriter. But because you can write without any investment, let’s consider the costs without including writing software. There are several other production costs you will need to consider:

Editing and Proofreading

Hiring an editor and proofreader (or an all-in-one editing service) is one of the most important investments you can make. Yes, some authors do successfully edit their own works, but they are few and far between. You need a good editor and proofer to:

How Much Do Editors and Proofreaders Cost?

When you’re investing in an editing and proofreading service, you will find a wide variety of prices. There is no other service for authors in which the adage “You Get What You Pay For” applies more. Ideally, you’ll find an editor who will partner with you for an extended period of time over multiple ebooks and help you define and develop your style and voice – or at least get to know your style and voice well enough to preserve it throughout the editing process.

Cost can be per word, per page, or flat rate. Average rates are .08-.12 cents per word, $9-18 per page, or a flat rate based on the total project. So an average novel of 120 pages might cost 800,500-5000,000 for a great editing job, and it will be worth every penny.

Choosing the Right Editor

Your chosen editor should fit within your budget. They should be familiar with your genre, and be able to meet your needs and your timeline. However, unrealistic timelines can result in poor quality publications. We’ll talk more about that, but one of the benefits of self-publishing is that you are in control. You are not working on a publisher’s deadline. Therefore, you can give your ebook the time it needs to be done properly.

Formatting Your eBook

When it comes to formatting your ebook, you have several choices. You can do it yourself, but this can be time-consuming and prevent you from focusing on writing. You can use online or downloadable software, but you may discover imperfections in automated formatting that require manual adjustments. Or, you can hire a formatting service. Some all-in-one editorial services include formatting in their service or offer it as an add-on. Before you format your ebook, determine where you’ll be distributing it and what format(s) are required by your distributor.

There are three main formats for ebooks – .pdf, .mobi, and .epub. In most cases, .epub is the most widely accepted format. However, there are times when you’ll need either .pdf or .mobi – and for widest distribution, you may need them all. Sometimes, the cost will be higher because of the complexity of what you are publishing. Most ebook formatting services will require that you request a quote. On average, you can expect to pay from $50-$250.

Step 4: Designing the Assets

The design cost depends on the level of commitment you want to put into the aesthetics of your eBook. Do you want every page to be expertly laid out with full-color graphics, or will an eye-catching cover page suffice?

Alex Azoury again: “Your design includes your eBook cover, various elements within the book, and the final page. Someone will need to decide on the fonts and color used. All the headlines, paragraphs and text need to be formatted so that your book appears professionally produced.”

According to James Pollard, Founder of, “Some people will recommend going to a cheap site like Fiverr, but I’ve found that you get what you pay for. I suggest hiring a professional designer either directly or through a freelancing site.”

In this James Pollard quote, he explains that going to a freelancing site or directly to the freelancer is the best bet when creating an eBook.

This level of premium design may cost you a lot more. Pollard estimates that for a fully produced, graphically rich cover design, it may cost as much as $500 for a final product that makes your eBook stand out.

That’s just for the basics, though. If you want to take time to create graphics, tables, charts and other visual elements, that will require more design time. An eBook with robust visuals can cost significantly more and may even creep into the thousands.

Do It Yourself?

This all assumes that you opt to have a designer create your eBook. While usually that’s quicker and can produce a better result, there are a number of tools that can help you create your own eBook design for free.

Step 5: Repurposing and Distributing Your eBook

  1. Create an audiobook version and make it available on services that offer listening like Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, and others.
  2. Format it for Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and make it available on Amazon. You can make it available for free here, but many published authors earn significant revenue by charging for their eBooks
  3. Format your eBook in the ePub format for wider accessibility. This is the standard format used by eBook readers such as Kindle, Kobo, iBook, etc. There are many free and paid tools that can help you do this. This will also allow you to sell your eBook on marketplaces like Google Play and iBook.
  4. Break it up into several blog posts and post it on your blog

So, what’s the final cost of creating an eBook? As mentioned, the total investment depends on what you have available to as well as the level of depth and quality you’re aiming for.

A good ballpark for an average eBook would be around $3,000 dollars if you hire freelancers for everything. But, if you have access to some resources needed like existing content, design support, editing support, etc, the total cost can be a lot lower. Similarly, if you need an exceptional level of quality, tons of research, and need to hire an expert to write it, you could be looking at significantly more.

The amount you actually budget creating your finished product should depend on what you expect to gain from it when you leverage it to your selected market. According to James Pollard, “I tie it directly to a revenue metric in my business because I view it as an investment. I have no problem spending $3,000 to create an eBook that will generate $30,000 in sales over the next year.”

To understand and track the ROI of your eBook, the best way is to determine what the value of each lead who downloads your eBook is. To do this you can work backwards through your funnel. Here’s an example: