Take a look at some self-publishing options, so you can make an informed decision on just how much to spend to publish your book.

Self-publishing companies have a lot of options to choose from with special publishing packages and extras for promoting your book. For the first time publisher, it can be a stressful time determining how much money is really necessary to spend.

Personal Mistakes

I self-published my first book in 2003 with a company called AuthorHouse, though it had a different name back then. Like every writer, my book was a labor of love and I had high hopes for its success. I studied the self-publishing site and made my choices, some of which I consider to be personal mistakes.

The publishing package included getting my book file in print form and in e-book form, a spot on the websites of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a few other big name book selling websites, and a listing in the Ingram catalog database. These were the basics and the price was reasonable.

I also chose some extras for book promotion, which included postcards and bookmarks, a press release, and the radio and newspaper package where the self-publishing company sent my press release out to over 1,000 media outlets for interview possibilities. I received only one radio interview and one newspaper interview and both were local. All in all, I spent a little over $3,000 on my first book.

Money Savings

Since self-publishing that first book, I have self-published three others – two more with AuthorHouse and the last one with Infinity Publishing. These last three books were published with just the basic package, which came to approximately $600 per book.

After my first publishing experience, I realized that I could create all the extras myself, saving a great deal of money in the process. With a printing program, it was easy to create bookmarks and postcards and pay a local printing company to make them for me, which saved me nearly $800 per book. The press release was also simple to create and I sent it out myself to local media outlets. An email campaign with that press release to non-local media outlets took time, but it did not cost me anything except for my monthly Internet fee.

The cost of the last three books, including the extras I did myself, was about $800 each. That is definitely much better than the original $3,000 I spent on the first book.

The Basics

If you plan to self-publish your book, it is best to go with the basic package. Most self-publishing companies offer the basic package which will put your book into print, get your book listed on some of the big book selling websites and get you into the Ingram catalog. You might also get your book into e-book form depending on the company.

Being a part of Ingram is a good idea. Ingram is the largest wholesale distributor of books in the world. Bookstore owners can gain access to catalogs, through Ingram, that list the most popular and the most recently published books, including self-published books. This gives the store owner the opportunity to decide what books they want to sell in their book store and they can get them fast through Ingram. If you have to pay extra for this service outside of the basic package, it is worth it. After eight years and four books, I get most of my book sales through bookstores now because I chose to be a part of Ingram.

You will want to be sure that you are receiving an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), which is a number that identifies your specific book and that a copyright registration is done with the Library of Congress. You can do both of these jobs yourself, but it seems to be faster when the self-publishing company does it for you.

Giving Careful Thought to What You Spend

If the self-publishing company you choose offers such things as a one time spot in The New York Times, a professionally written synopsis of your book for a possible movie deal, or email campaigns, give careful thought to these offers before shelling out the money. Using these three examples, there is no guarantee that anything will come of it for you and all of these options are extremely expensive.

Also beware of companies who charge you a phenomenal fee for book return policy. This policy ensures that bookstores can return your unsold copies for a full refund. Check this out carefully as there are self-publishing companies who offer the book return policy in the price of your basic package.

There are a lot of self-publishing companies to choose from, so you should take the time to research them carefully. There is no sense in spending more money than you need to when, with a little ingenuity, you can do a great deal of marketing on your own.