Many of you write to us to ask us how much it costs to publish your book with MI bestseller. And the truth is that it is a question that, although it seems easy, is not so easy. Mainly because on MI bestseller, in fact, publishing is free.
However, not all self-publishing platforms work like ours, nor does “publish” always mean the same thing. In reality, when people ask about “publish” they can often be referring to different things.
There are several ways to “publish” a book and many companies and services that can help you do it, each with their own rules and procedures. Self-publishing is not the same as publishing with a publisher, nor is self-publishing with memoir ghostwriters than paying a self-publishing publisher. So, in order for you to know exactly what you’re paying for (if you’re paying), this article is our attempt to sort out all of these variables as completely as possible.
That said, let’s get to the point: how much does it cost to publish a book?
And the best way to begin answering this imprecise question is to examine the main ways to publish a book today.
Traditional publishing: how much does it cost to publish with an editorial?
This is the publishing method that most people know, without a doubt. Traditional publishing comes down to finding a publisher who is willing to publish your book. It seems easy, right? The only thing you have to do is write a good book. It is not like this?
Get an agent
Well, yes, that’s definitely a good start, but the hard work doesn’t end there. If you’re new to writing, getting your book to an editor’s desk is going to be just as difficult, if not more so, than writing the book in the first place. Most publishers will not consider manuscripts unless they arrive through approved or trusted channels. This means you can’t submit your book to Penguin and expect them to like it. In order for your manuscript to be considered by a publisher, you will need to hire an agent. This agent will be in charge of submitting your manuscript to publishers on your behalf.
Literary agents usually work on commission, which means that instead of getting paid up front, they will take a cut of the profits if they sell your book. For most agents this commission will be around 15%. Keep in mind that this is 15% of what the publisher will pay you, not 15% of the profits generated by the sale of your book.
The publisher and distributors take their cut
This brings us to another type of “cost.” You’ve probably heard about how in the music industry most of the profits go to the record company, and not the artist. The same thing happens in the publishing industry. When a book is published, it is sold at a certain retail price, set by the publisher. This is what people will pay when buying your book in stores, and this amount will be split between the publisher, the retailer, and you. The next question, of course, is how much of this retail price goes to you.
In Spain, authors usually take between 7% and 12% of the sale price (VAT excluded) of the book as copyright. The rest is divided between the publisher and retailers. Additionally, publishers generally do not invest in marketing for new authors. This means that if you want to increase your book sales (and therefore your chances of publishing more in the future), you’ll probably have to invest in it yourself. Keep in mind that we are speaking in broad strokes; Individual cases will certainly vary.
If at this point you’re starting to think that there seem to be a lot of people taking advantage of your hard work, well, you’re not wrong. Although the cost of an agent is easy enough to justify, the fact that publishers pay so little on average is, unfortunately, a huge obstacle to the financial independence of most authors.
Before you get discouraged
This is the true “cost” of publishing a book in the traditional way. It’s not that you have to hire an agent to gain access, but rather that much of the profits you could make are diverted to third parties once you’re in. The amount of time and money you invest in writing your book and publishing it is probably going to result in relatively small returns, at least for most authors.
Don’t get us wrong. We don’t mean that traditional publishing is the place where writers’ dreams die. However, we want to help you get a clear idea of how the business works. Traditional publishing isn’t necessarily the most profitable way to make a living as a writer, but it clearly works for some people. Even if you don’t make a lot of money for each book sold, traditional publishing can give you legitimacy, which can translate into more sales. You decide if you receive enough money in exchange for your work.
But how much does it cost?
Time and about 15% of your total income, more or less. As a reference, most authors in Spain take between 7% and 12% of the Sale Price of their book.
Commissioned publishing: how much does it cost?
Commissioned publishing, or “self-publishing publishers,” is often confused with self-publishing itself. It’s a misconception, but an understandable one, since for a long time commission publishing was the only alternative to traditional publishing for writers.
This method boils down to the author paying to publish their book. Unlike “real” publishers, “self-publishing publishers” ask for money up front. This amount will vary greatly depending on factors such as the format of the book, the size of an order, and the fee the publisher charges for its services. Consequently, this method can easily cost hundreds or even thousands of euros.
However, whatever the amount, it’s pretty safe to say it’s not worth it. While you may get some quality books, you won’t get the legitimacy or support that you would get from a traditional publisher. You also won’t get the flexibility and high profit margins that self-publishing provides. If, on the other hand, you are not interested in sales and only want a few copies of your book, then it is better to use a printing service.
Simply put, commissioned publishing is the worst of both worlds. Although commissioned publishing has historically helped authors make a name for themselves in the publishing space, the chances of this happening today are slim. Too many books are published today.
Finally, we must talk about the opportunity cost. If you decide to use a self-publishing publisher, you are going to dedicate a considerable amount of money just to publish your book. This is money that you could have spent on promotional activities if you had chosen one of the other two publishing options.
In short, how much does it cost?
More or less, roughly speaking, between 300 and 3000 euros, depending on the platform, the services they provide, the size and length of the book and many other factors.
Self-Publishing: How much does it cost to self-publish my book?
It’s fair to start with a small warning: the text you are going to read below contains a good amount of self-promotion. It’s not that we want to deceive or scam you, be careful, don’t get us wrong. Simply put, self-publishing is our specialty, and for us, talking about it in the context of our platform makes perfect sense. After all, we have been doing this for almost more than 10 years. However, most of the features we’ll cover in this section are generally valid for self-publishing as a whole, so if you don’t really feel like self-publishing with us, don’t worry. However, if you decide to try self-publishing, you should do it with us. We are very good at what we do (it’s self-aggrandizing, but it’s also true).
But let’s continue: how much does it cost to self-publish a book?
Well, at MI bestseller the publication itself is free. We do not charge for the use of our platform. We do not charge you to publish your book. Yes, uploading your book and publishing it is totally free. You can create an account, publish a book and sell it without spending a single euro. So why do we charge? For ISBNs and printing.
Cost of ISBNs
Let’s start with the ISBNs: we charge €12.75 for them. ISBNs are completely optional, but are necessary if you want to sell your book through major third-party channels like Amazon. If you just want to print or sell your book in our store you don’t even need one. You can read more about what an ISBN is in this article we wrote.
On the other hand, printing costs vary. We know it’s not something you want to hear. But it’s time to face the harsh reality. Depending on the size, the paper and whether it is in color or not, your book may cost more or less. Luckily, we have an almost perfect solution to clear up this doubt before you start creating your book: go to our price calculator and fill out the specifications of your book. This marvel of software engineering will not only give you a suggested retail price, it will instantly show you how much your book will cost to print. It will even show you how much money you will earn for each copy sold and the volume discounts.
Obviously, printing costs only apply if you are printing books for yourself. Printing copies of your books is not mandatory, but our experience leads us to strongly recommend that you purchase a copy before publishing your book.
However, if a customer purchases your book from our web store, the printing costs are covered by the retail price of your book (which you set yourself). That’s why it’s important to price your book high enough to make a profit, but low enough to attract customers.
You also have to keep in mind that, like traditional publishers, most self-publishing services take a cut of the retail price of your book (us included). However, as we have already said, with us you can set your own sales price. This way you ensure that your margin will always be what you decide.
Of course, selling the book through our Book Marketing Services (or the free author web store we provide) means there will be no retail costs. This allows you to maximize your profits by eliminating the middlemen.
For example, let’s say your book is a medium book, 155 x 235 mm, with 100 pages on cream paper. Its printing will cost 5.75 euros. Let’s also assume that you are ambitious and want to obtain an ISBN to sell on Amazon. An ISBN and your trial copy will only cost you €18.50.
Let’s say you want to sell the book for €9.99. A very affordable price. That will mean profits of €3.81 for each copy sold in the MI bestseller store. You only have to sell 5 copies to have recovered the money you spent on an ISBN and a proof copy. This is where the potential of self-publishing really shines. Because you can set your own sales price, you can go well beyond the 10% royalties offered by traditional publishers without having to make your book more expensive.
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