There are so many multi-variable decisions on how to prudently spend a very limited budget to help promote book sales. And it is important TO set a budget, because the more you spend before you even start selling, the more you have to make up before you start realizing profit. This graphic shows the money I spent from May–December 2014.
The decisions start immediately, before your book has even become a book, with selecting the appropriate ISBN (see March 29, 2016 post), a cost that ranges from zero to almost one-hundred dollars.
You’ll also notice directly under the ISBN line item, that the next entry is a copyright registration fee, and this one is non-negotiable.
Some POD platforms don’t require a title set-up fee, like the platform CreateSpace. The IngramSpark POD does charge this fee, and when I get to that part of my journey of why I used a second POD, I’ll repeat this cost chart format for that.
There is also a fee to get a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), but you actually have to decide to apply for a number assignment BEFORE you complete the self-publishing process. And even if you submit an application, your book may not be approved for an LCCN. So beware of where you are in your timeline, if this is important to you.
But the biggest variable in my costs was the postage fees for sending all the copies from the book giveaway. One of the reasons why this was the second highest cost on my list is because 1) I gave away a generous number of 20 copies, and 2) I didn’t limit the entries to the United States/Canada. I mean this is a multicultural, diverse book, so, what would be the point in NOT trying to capture a global audience, right?
Well, this logic may not have been the best for a first-time author with limited resources and NO established reputation. So, included in that postage cost was several books being mailed to various overseas addresses. Aside from the fact that for some I didn’t receive properly written addresses, to mail each of these pieces cost up to $12.00. And I only received one review out maybe 8 sent out overseas.
Then there was an issue with a copy not being received. So, another copy had to be sent.
Essentially, what I’m driving at is that the payoff of running a book giveaway on a global scale initially was not realized. If I did it today, I would have given away ten or fewer copies, and limited it to the US/Canada, at least, for this first book.
Overall, I think the costs for self-publishing are reasonable. Not counting the cost to purchase copies for your own sales at presentations (as you will eventually recover that), you may be looking at a budget of about $400.00. Which, from where costs were a mere decade ago (in the thousands of dollars), is quite reasonable.