How do you manage your self-publishing budget?

thIt is not a cheap business to self-publish a book and there are certain things – in my opinion – which are essential to invest money in before you even consider putting your book out there; a professional edit and a quality cover design are just two of them.

As with everything you can shop around for editing prices and cover designers but at the end of the day, if you don’t invest money into these two crucial elements, then I believe you are only cheating yourself.

When I decided to self-publish I allocated myself a budget and out of that I have paid for both an edit and a cover design and have purchased a block of ISBN numbers for this and future books. In addition my budget will cover the cost of title set up with Ingram Spark (print on demand and catalogue provider to bookshops worldwide) but that is about it. After that, the budget is pretty much done.

In order to tackle marketing I am currently enrolled on a Digital Marketing course with Shaw Academy and plan to take the Social Media Marketing course with them too. I was extremely fortunate to get both of these courses at a vastly reduced cost and there is no doubt that they are hugely beneficial, however, beyond that there is not much in the coffers for marketing itself.

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As I pondered this today it occurred to me that in order to get money to market my book I need to sell it, yet I need to market it to sell it – so it’s a catch 22 situation. There are, of course, several free ways to market my book, but I know that I need to put a solid marketing strategy in place to have any chance of success. This may or may not involve additional cost.

Yesterday I was offered a way to obtain all the marketing support and advice I could ever want – yet it is sadly cost prohibitive and so I wondered what all of you self-publishing authors out there are doing? How do you manage your budget? Do you pay for marketing or do you stick to free marketing options?

Any and all thoughts and advice, gratefully received.

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7 thoughts on “How do you manage your self-publishing budget?

  1. “As with everything you can shop around for editing prices and cover designers but at the end of the day, if you don’t invest money into these two crucial elements, then I believe you are only cheating yourself.”

    Definitely spend money on your cover. I’ve been pretty happy with the results in the $200-$300 range, though. No need to go a lot higher than that.

    I’ve paid for a lot of editors in my day. One of my first experiences was a developmental editor, and she essentially gave me a much needed writing less for $600 bucks. Worth every penny. Nowadays, I pay 2 or 3 beta readers to give me story comments at $.001/word and find a freelance copy editor for around $.002. You can pay a ton more, but I’m not sure you’ll get a lot more out of it.

    “In order to tackle marketing I am currently enrolled on a Digital Marketing course with Shaw Academy and plan to take the Social Media Marketing course with them too.”

    The best education an indie author can get is totally free. Go to the kboards writers’ cafe and read every post you can find. Social media doesn’t hurt, but it’s also probably not going to sell a ton of books. Anybody who’s trying to teach you how to market who isn’t telling you to build an email list … Well, I hope you didn’t pay much for the advice. (I’m assuming you don’t have one because there’s absolutely no way to sign up for it on this page. If you do have one, where’s the sign up form?!?)

    Most effective marketing plans require you to have multiple books out, preferably in a series. Discount the first, pay for inclusion in promo sites, and depend on sell through for profit.

    Best of luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for such a comprehensive answer! I truly appreciate you taking the time. Yes, I have advice to build up an email list and to do newsletters etc.. You are right, there is no newsletter to sign up to on here, that’s one of those things that I have not got around to doing yet. I think that building a client base is really going to be the key and the good news is that I do have the sequel to this book too – so thank you for that piece of advice also. I will definitely check out the site that you recommended. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not great at budgeting. I tend to get paid and sit on as much of the money as I can for as long as I can, and then I prefer to spend it on things I can see are worth the cash. I spend quite a bit on editing and cover art, and I haven’t regretted it (though the money I spent on that first editing job was hard to let go of!). Thus far those things have paid off.

    I’m far less confident about spending on marketing. I would happily pay someone to organize it and do it if I knew I was getting my money’s worth, but I feel like a poor judge of that. I’ll pay for a BookBub ad whenever I can get one, but haven’t had time to look into things like Facebook ads. I do have a mailing list, but don’t invest money in it (other than what I spent on editing the free novella and short story I offer for sign-ups).

    I try to set a budget for each project and understand how many copies I need to sell to earn that back. But my costs are probably out of balance. Not enough promotion.

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    • Thanks, Kate. Sounds like a similar story as mine really. It’s tough to know what to do for the best and to work out which marketing is most beneficial. I believe that it is easier once you have more than one book out there? so I hope to get the second one out fairly quickly after the first. It’s good to know that your editing and cover design has paid off – and that’s something that I happily invested in too as I think it is so important. Your cover art is stunning!

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  3. Thank you for your post. I am just at the beginning stages of my novel and it’s so tempting to get discouraged by all the costs necessary to put a good book out there. Have you published a book or are you in the process? I look forward to hearing more from your blog

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