Gwynneth Ever After marks my first self-publishing effort — and a huge learning curve in my career. While I posted a little bit about my journey here, here, here, and here, I thought it would be nice to provide a wrap-up of my experience — complete with a cost break-down for those of you who may be considering a similar path.
1. Editing: Normally the first thing you need when you're thinking of publishing a book is a good editor — well, more like three of them, because editing comes in several phases: first, a substantive or developmental edit; second, a copy edit; and third, a proofread. Because Gwynneth Ever After had previously been released through a small press, it had already been through all three levels of editing. That said, I'd learned a lot since writing it and felt it could do with a fresh polish. That said, I felt comfortable tackling the polish myself and so I was able to do away with hiring a professional.
If I'd needed an editor (or three), however, it wouldn't have been cheap.
According to the Editorial Freelancers' Association, a substantive editor is going to cost you anywhere from $40-$60 an hour, with an expected work rate of 1-6 manuscript pages per hour (they differentiate between a developmental and a substantive edit, but there really isn't a difference, in my opinion). With a standard manuscript page defined as 250 words, a 50,000 word book will be 200 pages long and cost you anywhere from$1,333 (at the lowest rate and the highest page output) and $12,000 (higher rate, lowest output. Add to this the cost of a copy edit at $30 – $50 an hour for 2-10 pages/hour (low-end $600 to high-end $5,000), and that of a proofread at $30 – $35 an hour for 9-13 pages/hour (low-end $461 to high-end $778), and you begin to see the value of what publishers do. And that's just for the edit. 😉
2. Cover: While I'm relatively artistic, I had no interest in learning how to use Photoshop and so I hired out this task. Cost: $200. Result: brilliant. 🙂
3. Formatting: This is something that many authors do themselves, but technology and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship: when I know what I'm doing and it cooperates, I love it…otherwise, not so much. 😛 So again, I hired out. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, this cost me a fair chunk more than it would have done if I'd been better organized. The basic formatting for an e-book through the service I found (after much research and deliberation, I settled on e-book Formatting Fairies) was $50, plus $10 per book for customization — the adding of links to my other books in the back of each format (Kobo, Kindle, Nook, and iBook) — for a total of $90. More than reasonable, in my opinion.
Of course, if you do things backwards the way I did, you'll end up having to have revisions done in order to insert the ISBN number and review quotes because you forgot to do those things first. sigh Additional cost: $50.
Also, because this was my first self-publishing effort, I paid $100 for an extra “hand-holding” service. This seemed a little pricey at the time, but ended up being more than worth it when my “fairy” spent more than an hour on the phone with me, walking me through the extremely convoluted uploading process for Apple iBooks. O.O
So, the grand total for formatting (including a 10% Paypal fee) was $264. Yes, it was a lot, but I figured my sanity was worth it. 😉
4. ISBN: This was actually free for me because I'm Canadian (Canadian authors, you can go here to learn more), but if you're not in Canada, you'll have to pay for one ($125) through bowker.com.
5. IBPA: This is the International Book Publisher's Association. It wasn't a necessary step, but it was certainly a time-and-sanity saving one when it came to having Gwynneth put up on Netgalley for reviewers to access. Again, Netgalley can be a do-it-yourself thing (cost: $399); again, I didn't want to go there. Instead, I paid $129 to join IBPA (they offer a host of support services), and then a further $350 to have them take care of the whole Netgalley issue for me — including approving reviewer requests. (In other words, this particular piece of sanity cost me an additional $80…again, well worth the investment. 😉 )
So, in summary, here's what I spent:
|Editing||$0||Because the book had previously been published, I was able to skip this step & the associated cost. Otherwise, three levels of professional editing (substantive, copy, and proofreading) could be anywhere from approximately $2,300 to several thousand dollars.|
|ISBN||$0||ISBNs are free for Canadian authors through the government. If you’re not in Canada, it will cost you $125|
|Formatting||$264||$ 50 basic formatting$ 40 customization (putting links to my other books in the back of each digital format: Kindle, Kobo, Nook & iBook)$100 consultation (hand-holding) fee$ 24 Paypal fee (10% of above subtotal)|
|IBPA membership||$129||This allowed me access to a reduced-price Netgalley service package|
And there you have it, the sum total (no pun intended…well, maybe a small pun! 😀 ) of my self-publishing experience. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
P.P.S. For those of you who have inquired, the cover design is by Kanaxa.