Self-Publishing Is Not For The Cheap (I'm Learning)

Many, many years ago when the self-publishing arena operated like the Wild West with hardly any standards I tried my hand at my first book. I won't disclose the name because looking back today, the book was trash. I have no regrets about the book but see more clearly through more experienced eyes the number of faults and issues it contained when printed. The concept of editing at any level was optional along with any requirements regarding the book's contents. I wrote everything in MS Word, used only the editor's default grammar and spell checkers, and submitted the work to the self-publisher to be printed along with my selected cover art. And that was it.

At the time, the costs were pretty low. There was a small fee to register for an ISBN number and a few other minor fees. I think all told back in those days it cost me around $600 to get a book published in such a way that it would be available on Amazon and in book stores in several English speaking countries. It remained available for a few years until the publisher that had listed the book implemented new requirements that would have required me to make significant changes to the book's format before resubmitting the book. Of course, the re-submission would have to go through the new and more stringent review process which also carried with it new fees.

Considering the age of the book at that time along with the multitude of issues that I had started to notice, I opted not to make the required changes and allowed the original printing to be retired. And I won't lie, the significantly higher fees were a bit of a concern too. the original cost of around $600 had ballooned to roughly 4x that for the basic package with additional options available that only served to increase the price. The total sales of the book at that point were less than the price of having it republished under the new standards which contributed to my decision to not pour more money into that project at that time.

Several years have come and gone since then and obviously I decided to give writing and publishing another chance. Being a "new" author, I explored some options for finding a literary agent and trying to attract traditional publishers but really didn't have much luck. Granted, I only made a few attempts with little knowledge of what I was doing but those efforts had a net result of 0 replies. While disheartening, this was expected on my end.

With the anticipated lack of interest from traditional publishers and agents, I cast a wider net and submitted to publishers that positioned themselves as being open to new authors. These publishers are often self-publishing groups who, like my first book's publisher, will publish a wide variety of content for a fee.

Enter Newman Springs Publishing.

While I love working with the team at NSP and they have done quality work that has been instrumental in getting Book 1 and Book 2 of The Ascension Legacy series into print, it has not been what some would call cheap. Just like with the publisher behind my first book all those years ago, NSP offers various services that can be combined with the standard publishing package to create a wide range of costs associated to having a book printed that can range from a few thousand dollars to significantly more.

And just as a word of warning, the rates can vary wildly between publishers. I have seen similar service packages at other publishers for significantly higher prices. This was one of the deciding factors when I opted to use Newman Springs for publishing my books.

But don't think that your out-of-pocket expenses stop when the publisher is paid and the book is printed.

Marketing ads, promotional materials, art work, audio book conversion, it all adds up. But at the same time, your costs can skyrocket even before you approach a publisher.

Most publishing packages include some level of basic editing but very few of them provide more than basic editing services. For most authors, especially amateurs like me, these basic editing services are good because it helps catch a wide variety of errors like verb tense, excessive or missing punctuation, misspelled words, and things of the like. But, conversely, these packages do not include advanced editing or feedback for things like plot issues, flow, areas that need expansion, areas that need reducing, and more. These types of services usually have to be solicited from a 3rd party separate from the publisher and can range from $0.02/word to $0.10/word from what I've seen so far. For books that contain 80,000 words or more, such prices per word can quickly add up to a significant cost before you even approach a publisher or lit agent. And in some cases, the process of in depth editing and revising can be needed multiple times, adding to the overall cost invested in that work.

When an author chooses to go the self-publishing route, he/she chooses to take the more costly route but also the route that most likely will lead to them achieving their goal of getting published. In time, the cost may be recouped through sales or by attracting a bigger publisher that republishes their earlier works but the beginning can be expensive.

I won't disclose how much I've spent on the various services for the 2 books I've released or the 3rd one currently sitting with my publisher but I can certainly tell you that it has not been cheap. Costs are prohibitive in getting my other works published faster or for cleaning up my writing even more than I have in an effort to attract new publishers. If I had written only a single book then maybe the costs wouldn't be as prohibitive but when trying to publish multiple books, a man with my limited means has to choose where to spend what money I have more selectively.

Quality often comes with a price, just as it does with anything. Sometimes that price is paid with time, sometimes with blood/sweat/tears, sometimes with cold, hard cash, and others a combination of all. But not all things expensive are of quality. Just because someone spends or refuses to spend obscene amounts of money in the development of something does not guarantee the products quality in the end. So while there may be a stigma around self-published authors and the quality of their work, it doesn't mean that those works should be discounted off-hand because you never know the quality of that author's work or the significant personal expense paid by that author to bring their passion, their work, their dream to your doorstep.

I guess, in the end, the old adage of "don't judge a book by its cover" applies to self-published authors and their books.

Buy your copy of The Ascension Legacy - Book 1: The Shamed Ranger at


Barnes & Noble:

Also available as eBook


Buy your copy of The Ascension Legacy - Book 2: A Legend Confirmed at


Barnes & Noble:

Also available as eBook

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