How Much Does It Cost To Publish A Book?

The cost of publishing a book can vary greatly, depending on the publishing method and the final product’s quality. For self-publishing, costs can range from $200 to over $3000, depending on editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing. However, if you choose traditional publishing, there’s usually no upfront cost, but the publisher will take a significant percentage of the book’s sales.

 Publish A Book

Can I Publish My Book for Free?

Yes, you can publish your book for free using several platforms.

  • Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): You can publish eBooks and paperbacks for free. However, Amazon will take a commission from your sales.
  • Smashwords: A platform that allows you to distribute your eBook to various retailers. The platform is free to use, but they take a small percentage of your sales.
  • Lulu: Offers free eBook and paperback publishing. Lulu takes a commission on each sale.
  • Wattpad: It’s a free platform to publish your book chapter by chapter, gain readership, and potentially attract publishers.
  • Leanpub: Allows you to publish an eBook for free and provides you with a storefront page. Leanpub operates on a royalty model.

Remember, while the publishing itself might be free, there might be other associated costs like editing, cover design, and marketing if you want a professional product.

Can I Publish My Book for Free

Book Publishing Costs by Genre


Fiction books generally range from 60,000-100,000 words, and the cost for editing services can range from $1,200 to $2,000. The cover design might cost around $300-$700. Overall, you could expect to spend around $1,500 to $2,700.


Non-fiction books may require extensive research and fact-checking, potentially driving the editing cost to $1,500-$2,500. The cover design might cost a similar amount as the fiction. You might also need to consider permissions for any referenced work, potentially adding another few hundred dollars. Expect to spend around $1,800 to $3,200.

Children’s Books

Children’s books are typically shorter but often require professional illustrations, ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the complexity. Editing might be less expensive due to the length of the text, ranging from $200-$800. The total cost might range from $2,200 to $10,800.


These books might require a good amount of research, costing around $1,500-$2,500 for editing. The cover design could be in the $300-$700 range. Depending on the need for diagrams or illustrations, additional costs might apply. Overall, expect to spend around $1,800 to $3,200.


These are similar to non-fiction in terms of word count and complexity. Editing costs could be in the range of $1,500-$2,500, and cover design might be in the $300-$700 range. Total costs could be around $1,800 to $3,200.

Book Publishing Costs by Genre

Different Costs Associated with Book Publishing


Editing is one of the most critical aspects of publishing a book. It ensures that your book is free from grammatical errors and flows smoothly. Professional editing services can range from $0.01 to $0.05 per word, depending on the level of editing needed (proofreading, copyediting, or substantive editing).


Indexing is particularly important for non-fiction books to help readers locate specific information. The process involves creating an alphabetical list of subjects covered in the book. Indexing services typically charge per page, ranging from $2-$5, depending on the complexity of the material.


Formatting refers to arranging your text and images for publication consistently and readably. This can involve setting up the correct page size, margins, fonts, headers, and more. Formatting services might cost anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on the complexity and length of your book.

Cover Design

The cover is often the first thing potential readers see, so investing in a professionally designed cover is crucial. Depending on the design’s complexity and the designer’s reputation, cover design services can range from $100 to over $1000.


Marketing costs can vary widely based on your strategy. This could involve hiring a publicist, running online ads, organizing book signings, or developing a website. Costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Other Costs

  • ISBN: An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique identifier for your book, required for selling through most retailers. You can buy one ISBN for about $125 or a bulk of 10 for $295 from Bowker (US). Prices can vary in other countries.
  • Proofreading: This is the final check for minor errors after the book is formatted. Costs usually range between $0.005 and $0.015 per word.
  • Audiobook: If you decide to create an audiobook version, you might need to hire a narrator and pay for professional audio editing. Depending on the length of your book and the professionals you hire, this can range from $200 to $5,000 or more.

Different Costs Associated with Book Publishing

Which is Better: Free Publishing or Traditional Publishing?

Whether free self-publishing or traditional publishing is better depends on your goals, resources, and the kind of book you’ve written.

Traditional Publishing: If you seek prestige, widespread distribution, and the potential for a larger advance, traditional publishing might be the best fit. It also includes editing, designing, marketing, and distribution, and there’s no upfront cost to the author.

Free Self-Publishing: If you want to complete creative control, faster publication, higher royalties per sale, and are willing to invest time in marketing and promotion, then free self-publishing platforms could be a better choice. You’ll need to handle or outsource editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing, but you retain control over your work.

Which is Better Free Publishing or Traditional Publishing

Tips to Save Money on Book Publishing

  • Do Your Own Editing and Proofreading: While catching your errors is challenging, you can save money by doing several rounds of self-editing before hiring a professional.
  • Barter or Trade Services: If you have a skill that could be useful to others (like graphic design or marketing), consider trading services with an editor, cover designer, or formatter.
  • Use Free Self-Publishing Platforms: Platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing allow you to publish your book for free, though they take a commission on sales.
  • Learn Formatting: Rather than hiring someone to format your book, learn to do it yourself. There are many online resources and tutorials available.
  • Do Your Own Marketing: Instead of hiring a professional, use social media, a personal website, email newsletters, and other free or low-cost methods to promote your book.
  • Crowdfunding: Consider using a crowdfunding platform to cover publishing costs. This can also help build an audience before your book is released.
  • Make Use of Public Domain or Creative Commons Images: If you need images for your book or cover, use those in the public domain or licensed under Creative Commons instead of paying for rights to copyrighted images.

Tips to Save Money on Book Publishing

Frequently Asked Questions

Do authors get their books for free?

Typically, authors receive a certain number of free copies from their publisher when their book is published. However, if they want more copies, they usually have to buy them, albeit at a discounted rate.

Is self-publishing a book worth the money?

Whether self-publishing is worth the money largely depends on your goals as an author. If you desire to complete creative control and higher royalty rates and are willing to invest in quality and marketing, then self-publishing can be worth it.

Are there any requirements to publish a book?

The main requirement to publish a book is to have a completed manuscript. For self-publishing, you’ll also need a properly formatted version of your manuscript, a book cover, and potentially an ISBN. For traditional publishing, you generally need a completed manuscript and a well-crafted query letter or book proposal.

How much money does an author make per book?

The amount an author makes per book varies widely based on the publishing method, the book’s list price, the author’s royalty rate, and the number of books sold. In traditional publishing, an author might earn 10-15% royalties on print books and 25% on eBooks. In self-publishing, royalties can be as high as 70% on certain platforms.

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