How to NOT Go Broke Writing a Book

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It’s easy to spend large amounts of money publishing a book. I know you’ve heard stories of self-published authors who have written books and ended up losing money while unread books were piled high in their garages. But, publishing a book doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. Mid- to large-sized publishing companies easily spend 10k and more to publish an author. But do you need to do that? Although, you can easily spend a few thousand dollars or more publishing a book, there are a few ways you can cut costs and publish your book without going broke.

Create a Budget

The best way to spend wisely is to budget ahead of time. Research rates and costs for the services you will need to complete your book. Plan to spend most of your budget on editing since it isn’t a good idea to edit your book yourself. If you do, you will miss too many errors, forget to check things, and overlook major issues. Here is a list services you will need to budget for:

Editing: developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading

Beta readers or peer-reviewers

Design costs for cover and interior

Printing and distribution costs

Marketing and Social Media

Author Website

Free copies for book reviewers and influencers

Voice talent for audiobooks

Unexpected expenses, such as printing errors

In order to have enough money to cover these things on a limited budget, check out these money-saving tips.

Save Money on Editing: Look for an experienced editor to handle your developmental editing or copyediting (for more info on types of editing click here). To find out what the average rates are for book editors check the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA). If your writing skills are lacking, developmental editing is much more expensive than copyediting, so consider taking a few writing classes at a local community college, conference or writer’s retreat to improve your writing. It may be much cheaper. If you save on development, you’ll only need to hire a top-notch copyeditor to get your book close to completion.

Another option you can try is using interns. An intern can help you with proofreading—preferably, an English major currently completing a publishing internship. Although they aren’t as seasoned as professional editors with years of experience, they have enough experience to handle light, basic edits. Plus, they have access to mentors, so they can tap into powerful resources. In addition, since they have limited experience, they will be fairly inexpensive.

Save Money on Reviewers: Join a local writers group and/or book club to find avid readers that can give you good feedback. Unless you have a lot of writers and editors in your social circle, you’ll want to seek out unbiased feedback from people you don’t know. You can find these types of groups at churches,, or your local library or bookstore. Another great option is to workshop your content on Wattpad, which is free. If you’re accepted into Wattpad Paid Stories, you’ll be able to receive payment for stories you post.

Save Money on Design: Many authors choose the DIY approach when laying out their books. You may be able to find low-cost templates that you can use yourself. You can also spend money on a custom interior design, but custom design can be expensive and it’s only absolutely necessary if you are writing a textbook that contains a lot of boxed features, such as tables and case studies. Save money by doing the interior design yourself or hire a low-cost designer that works with templates.

For cover design, check out the book cover templates on Canva and research the covers of bestselling books to get a feel for how your cover should look. Starting with a professional template is best if you are not an expert with InDesign or Photoshop. Low-budget covers don’t have to look cheap and Canva’s templates are free or pretty inexpensive.

Save Money on Distribution: Shop around for the best printer. Compare IngramSpark with local printers to get the best rates. Another option you can try is releasing your book in phases. If you release the e-version of your book first, you will spend less money upfront since it’s less expensive. In fact, your e-version can be a part of your pre-launch. After releasing your e-version, you would release your print book. Keep in mind that you can always just stick with digital in the beginning, which will also keep your costs low. You can even consider an all-digital platform and release e-books and audiobooks.

Save Money on Social Media and Marketing: The great thing about social media is that it is already free to use. Although it is tempting to run Amazon ads and Instagram ads, your campaigns can be just effective posting live video on Instagram Stories and YouTube. You can post readings, interviews, and share content related to your book. Pitching your book to a local TV station to get citywide exposure is also free. Although time consuming, using social media is effective and free.

Save Money on your Author Website: Do it yourself. It can’t be stressed enough. Spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a website isn’t absolutely necessary. You don’t need high-level customization for your website to be appealing and attractive. Buy a domain and develop the website yourself using an easy website builder such as Squarespace or use a WordPress theme. You can also look into Wix, which is incredibly easy to use. For a website featuring a blog, WordPress is best.

There you have it! You can save money during the book publishing process. Once you figure out how much money you can save, you can consider outsourcing a few projects like your e-mail marketing or interior layout design. Writing a book does not have to leave you broke. It can be both rewarding and cost-effective.

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