How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish?

Thu 04 May 2017
By Marie Deaconu-Baylon

Self-publishing technically requires no cost. Amazon e-book publishing and CreateSpace paperback printing are "free" services, in that they do not require an upfront fee. However, you pay for their services by giving up a percentage of the book revenues.

I am still working on pricing myself, and I will publish an article on pricing and income when I have meaningful observations to share. For now, I will share the additional optional costs that I incurred for self-publishing the book. I think it's important for writers considering self-publishing to understand the costs before they take the risk and time. You will certainly have different costs; I am sharing what I spent.


  • Research: I bought books for my research.
  • Working Space: I mostly worked from home, but I worked in a cafe every 10 days or so.
  • Printing: Once, I printed the entire book to proofread and edit, which cost $10.
  • Editors: Three of my close friends volunteered to edit the novel. I treated my friends to food and presents as thanks.
  • Website: I started a website to market the book. The cost for purchasing a domain name was $10 yearly. Hosting costs $10 monthly. I didn't hire anyone for website design.
  • Proofreader: I decided to hire a proofreader. Rates vary. You can check out Upwork to compare.
  • Sample Paperbacks: I ordered multiple samples of the paperback version from CreateSpace to double-check format, cover style, and proofread. The cost of samples depends on your page count, et cetera. Please see CreateSpace page to calculate the cost of ordering paperbacks for yourself. Also, please see CreateSpace page here to calculate shipping costs depending on how many you're ordering. I also ordered paperbacks to give to family and friends.
  • Incentives: My partner and I went out for dinner to celebrate several milestones with the book.
  • Writing Software: I tried several software programs to write my book, including Google Docs and Writer by BigHugeLabs. I initially used the free basic version of Writer and switched to the $5 monthly version for its revision history feature. You can read my review of Writer here.

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