So you’ve written that novel – or better yet, series – and you want to get it published. You have two options: the traditional publishing route, where you send your manuscript to editors and prepare to be rejected over and over, or the self-publishing route.

Though self-publishing was looked down on for a number of years, it’s increasingly becoming a viable option that can lead to a successful writing career. Before you jump on the bandwagon, however, you should be aware that self-published authors aren’t just writers. They’re also business owners. With any business, there are some upfront costs that you’ll have to invest to see any kind of financial return. Here are the four biggest costs you’ll need to consider before you self-publish.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

1) Marketing

The first thing you need to do when getting your book ready for publishing is to start marketing. Ideally, this should be done months in advance of the release. Set up a professional author website and connect it to your social media accounts. Post about your book on these accounts and start networking! Consider starting a blog on your website as well to build a loyal audience that will be eager to support your book release.

As you get closer, build an email list. Incentivize readers to join your list by offering them the first book in your series for free, or offer other exclusive content. It’s a good idea to have a series of books ready to go so you can offer your original readers the second book half off soon after releasing the first.

2) Hiring an Editor

While you might think you can edit your book yourself, think twice. Although you may very well catch the majority of your grammar errors, you won’t catch everything. Plus, an experienced editor can tell you if something in the plot or characterization isn’t making sense. They can encourage you to rearrange certain chapters or events, elaborate on something, or cut other parts entirely. While you may think your story is perfect, even the best authors need editing. In the long run, this is what will help you retain readers and keep them coming back for more.

Image by Mike VAN ACOLEYEN from Pixabay

3) Hiring a Cover Designer

Don’t underestimate the importance of a great cover. You’ve heard the phrase, don’t judge a book by its cover. While you shouldn’t, people often do, and you want yours to encourage people to buy your book. A great cover design can be expensive, but it’s an investment. Do some research on cover designers in your genre to find the perfect fit.

4) Formatting

In line with cover design, the inside of your book also needs to be formatted according to the medium in which you plan to sell it (e-book, paperback, etc.). You can hire a freelancer or an agency to do this for you. Some cover artists will also format your book, so keep this in mind when looking for a designer. You’re more likely to save money if you hire just one person to do both jobs.

If you’re still serious about self-publishing, make sure you figure out the exact costs so you can build a budget. If you’re new to basic budgeting, Pigly.Com offers some great budget calculators. The most successful self-published authors are the ones who have done their homework, so as long as you’re prepared, you can make self-publishing successful for you too.

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