How To Publish Your Book (Without Breaking the Bank)

Publish – Sean MacEntee

Last weekend, I finally made it to the Brisbane Writers Festival, attending some brilliant workshops and seminars covering a wide variety of subjects. However, it was a passing comment by an industry professional about self-publishing that riled me.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m certainly not anti-traditional publishing. Personally, I favour the hybrid set-up, so this blog post isn’t going to be a rant about indie vs traditional routes.

What annoyed me was the sweeping statement that self-publishing your book will cost you “in the region of $4,000.00”.

I beg to differ. I certainly couldn’t have afforded to publish three bestselling books if I was paying that to release them every time.

Here’s how you can publish your book for a lot less than $4,000.00.

  • Your book cover and professional edit are going to be your biggest expenses, but are essential. Depending on who you use, expect to budget about $1,000 for these (combined cost). You must be prepared to release a quality product.
  • Use a service such as PressBooks to format your manuscript into .epub and .mobi format. It’ll cost you USD$10.00 to get their stock image removed from the beginning of your file.
  • It’s free to load up your .epub and .mobi file to Amazon and Kobo.
  • It’s free to load up your book to Smashwords, too. All you have to do is follow their formatting guidelines to get into their Premium Catalogue.
  • BONUS: If you struggle with formatting in MS Word and would like a Smashwords manuscript template, sign up to my mailing list, then email me at and I’ll send you one. FREE.
  • Use a print-on-demand service such as CreateSpace or Lightning Source for your paperback version. Format your book in Word, save as a PDF (don’t print as a PDF – you’ll lose some of the essential background formatting required), and add the cover image file. Easy. Remember to get a proof copy. This might cost you anything up to $45 but it’s money well spent.

The above is just an example of how you can self-publish without breaking the bank. If you want more ideas, and a thorough guide to the ins and outs of self-publishing, there are plenty of books on the market that will walk you through the process. To begin with, take a look at Donna Joy Usher’s book Self-Publishing: How to Publish Like a Pro for a Fraction of the Cost. It’s one of the better books out there because it clearly sets out how to format your files and upload to the various eBook aggregators.

You can then put the money you’ve saved towards celebrating your book release – you deserve it!

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