Exactly How Much Publishing a Book Will Cost You This Year

Congratulations! You have written a book.

That is wonderful.

Not any book either – this is THE BOOK.The book that will finally change everything. You’re relieved, excited and, most of all, hungry to see your work let loose on the world.

Before you publish, know this: publishing, especially self-publishing, can be a pricey endeavor.

But it doesn’t have to be.

In this post, I’ll show you how to do it virtually for free. No strings attached. No signatures in blood. No virgin sacrifices required.

The High Cost of Publishing a Book

Let’s go over a few figures, shall we?

Hiring an editor: $300!-$500+

Book Cover Design:
$99 – $500+

Book Formatting:
Pretty expensive, huh?

These prices are fairy average. I tried to include a realistic range for professional level services.

If you’re like me, you don’t have an extra grand laying around to publish your book. This is just one book,too. What if you are publishing two or even three books a year?

The cost adds up very quickly.

So how do you publish a book virtually for free?

You have two major options:

  1. Publish a substandard book
  2. Get creative and leverage your resources

I highly recommed the second option. You’ve labored for months or years on your book. You’ve ignored your family, your day job and likely any semblance of proper hygiene. 

To publish anything less than perfection would disrespect all that hard work. It just doesn’t do you or your content justice. 

Good news: You don’t have to be rich to publish an edited, formatted and well-designed book with a stunning cover. 

Here’s how you do it:



Hire an editor from FIVERR or Elance. Both sites offer editing services for drastically reduced prices.

The key here is to be super specific about what you want (and dont want). My recommedation is to hire someone to edit 1,000 words to see how they do. If they meet your standards, hire the person to edit your entire book.


Edit the book yourself. You are probably already going to do this anyway. Maximize your results by reading your maniscript out loud. This forces you to experience your work like an outsider.

You can also run through your manuscript several times with a particular focus on each pass:

  • 1st run through – overall structure & plot
  • 2nd run through – character consistency
  • 3rd run through – grammar, punctuation

Recruit beta readers. I like to have a good mix of avid readers and non-readers, experts in the topic of my book and nonexperts. This variety gives me the biggest bang for my non buck.

To get the best results from beta readers, I reccomend the following tips: 

  • Ask politely 
  • Set a reasonable deadline 
  • Provide free electronic copies 
  • Ask beta readers to mark each place they stop reading each day (This allows you – the author – to look for patterns among beta readers that might highlight weak areas of your book for additional editing)
  • Ask beta readers to mark any sections where they felt confused or bored. 

Book Cover Design


You can find great book covers on (you guessed it) Fiverr. Prices range from a jaw dropping $5 up to $100 or more.

There is no need to choose the higher price services when you can get an amazing cover for between $5-$30.

Again, the key is to be very clear up front about what you want (and dont want). 

I suggest contacting the designer before hiring them. Explain what you want. Let the service provider know you have high expectations. Attach a few sample covers (get them from Amazon.com) so that the designer has a template from which to work. The more specific you are upfront, the better result you’ll get.


You can always design the book cover yourself using a variety of software. To be 100% free, I recommend canva.com

On canva, you simply sign up for a free account, browse free book templates and then adjust the chosen template according to your style and preference. 

You can get free images from many sources online. One of my favorites is unsplash.com.

Once you have your cover the way you like, save and download it. Voila! You have a beautiful 100% free book cover.

Book Formatting


I bet you know what I’m going to recommend, don’t you? That’s right. Fiverr. You really can purchase almost any service you can imagine on the site.

You’ll find lots of people offering book formatting on Fiverr. Look for someone who has hundreds or thousands of perfect or near perfect reviews. Make sure that they offer to create a table of contents and double check that they will format images if you have them in your book.

Depending on the length of your book and number of pictures, you can usually get your book formatted for e-book or print version for under $20.


You can also format the book yourself. Here are a few links that will walk you step-by-step on how to format your book DIY style.





There you have it: you now know how to publish your book virtually for free.

Oh, by the way, here is a link to a free $5 gig (service) on FIVERR. That should be enough to test out editing services or get you started on book formatting or book cover design. Consider it my gift to you. 

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Christopher Kokoski is a speaker, trainer and author of Wicker Hollow and the Past Lives novel series.

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Posted in Blog, Book cover, Book marketing, books, creativity, publishing, screenwriting, Success, writer, Writing
One comment on “Exactly How Much Publishing a Book Will Cost You This Year
  1. […] Exactly How Much Publishing a Book Will Cost You This Year […]

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