How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book in 2022?

cost to self-publish | cover design

I Wrote an Ebook to See How Much Easy Money I Could Make Online

Over the last couple of years I’ve tried various ways to make quick cash online, to varying degrees of success. Disillusioned with “matched betting”, forex trading and poker bots, I wanted to go meta: try to make money online by writing a book about making money online.

Being neither resourceful nor talented enough to score an actual book deal, I decided to self-publish an ebook. Although sales of print books accounted for over 80 percent of the UK’s book market in 2019, the digital market – which includes audiobooks and ebook sales – is still worth a respectable £653 million. I’ve often seen ebook publishing touted as a viable online money-spinner, even for first-time authors. But is that success achievable without a blue tick or thousands of Instagram followers?

Coming up with an idea for the book was easy, at least: I’d write about making money online, drawing on everything I’ve learned over the last few years. Given that half the country is currently either furloughed or laid-off because of coronavirus, it seemed like a timely topic.

I spent a week going over old notes and compiling them into seven chapters, totalling a hefty 16,000 words – by far the longest thing I’ve ever written, though still only about a third of the size of an average nonfiction book. I gave it a legit-sounding name, Side Hustles: How to Make Extra Money Online, then formatted my error-strewn Word document into a proper ebook file using Amazon’s free software, Kindle Create.

Editing costs

cost to self publish | Editing

The average cost of professional editing on a 60,000-word book ranges between 5000,400 and $3,400. This assumes one round of developmental editing, plus a combination of copy editing and proofreading.

Pricing calculator

Editorial Assessment
Developmental Editing
Copy Editing
Copy Editing + Proofreading

Types of editing

Editorial Assessment. This is a popular and cost-effective first step for authors, ideal for those at an early stage of their rewrites. Editors offering an editorial assessment will usually:

Developmental Editing. A nose-to-tail structural edit of your manuscript for authors who have taken their book as far as they can by themselves. A developmental edit often includes everything in an editorial assessment, plus:

What else affects editing costs?

The genre of your book. Categories like historical fiction and nonfiction have the highest editing costs because they require fact-checking and a working knowledge of the subject matter. Similarly, editors for comics and children’s books (genres with a much lower word count) will have a much higher per word rate. A picture book might only be 1,000 words long — but the editor must handle each of those words with extra care. Plus, children’s editors couldn’t pay the rent if they charge just 1/80 the amount they would for an 80,000-word novel.

The state of your manuscript. Are you handing in a super-rough draft that you haven’t checked for typos? Or have you gone through multiple rounds of self-editing? Naturally, you can expect to pay less in the latter case.

Free course: How to self-edit like a pro

The density of your text. This perhaps applies more to copy editing. If you write like Ernest Hemingway (in short, spare prose), you can expect your copy editing fees to be lower than if you write like David Foster Wallace (with 10-page run-on sentences and footnotes galore).

The level of experience you require. An editor with decades of experience at a major publisher will cost much more than a newbie. As with most things in life, you might be looking for a happy medium.

Get an exact quote from experienced editors.


Creating an audiobook is a project in itself. In this guide, I cover how to make an audiobook. You have several options. Firstly, record and edit the audio yourself. That’s assuming you have the equipment and technical skills.

That means budgeting for advertising and promoting your book over email by giving away some free copies. Thanks to online retailers like Amazon, the concept of “book launch” has taken a new meaning. Basically, self-published authors must also plan to market and sell their book once live on stores like Amazon.

You can also use paid book promotion services like Bookzio ($25) and Robin Reads ($60). Many other book promotion services exist, although they are mostly geared towards genre fiction.

A Brief Guide to the KDP Select Program

When you choose this program, unlike the conventional Kindle Direct Publishing, you give Amazon the exclusive rights to sell your books for 90 days, and the rights automatically renew.

The KDP Select Program might seem too restrictive for new writers who want to take over the charts. That said, KDP Select will boost your book marketing process by giving you five “free promotion” days.

During “free promotion” days, offer your book for download at no cost. The Amazon algorithm might put your book in the “Recommendations” section even after your book switches to paid.

At the very least, you will get your book in front of more readers and potentially collect organic books reviews. These will improve the quality of your book’s sales page. That can mean only one thing—more success for your book.

Cost of Self Publishing: FAQs

How much does it cost to self publish a book on Amazon?

Technically, it’s free to use and self-publish a book on Amazon. However, you still need to budget for writing software, editing, formatting and a book cover. Expect to pay at least $2000+ on creating a professional book. Promoting your book on Amazon via ads can cost several hundred dollars per month.

Is Amazon Self Publishing worth it?

Amazon self-publishing is worth it if you’re committed to building a career as an author and enjoy working with the written word. It’s a great way of reaching readers around the world with Kindle and print books. However, think beyond Amazon. You can also sell on Kobo, IngramSpark and Apple Books.

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