eBook Publishing Costs

This is about how much it costs to publish an eBook, not what you should charge for one. The short answer is that it costs nothing to publish an eBook, except what it costs you to go online. This would include the cost of the computer, the software you use and your internet access. Given that many public libraries offer free use of their computers and internet access, at least for an hour a day at my library, it really is possible to write and publish an eBook that costs you nothing but your time and whatever it might cost to get to the library if you can’t just walk there. So computer and internet costs aside, how much does it cost to publish an eBook?

eBook Writing And Conversion Software

There are software programs available that assist in writing eBooks. They organize and collate and even format the eBook so that you finish up with a file you can read on a PC, Mac, iPad, eReader or some other electronic device. Keep in mind there are several formats in use and the better eBook writing software programs will cater to all of these. There are writing software programs that, while not specifically for the writing of eBooks are very useful to use when putting the manuscript together.

Do read the fine print on these programs. I found FastPencil which claims to be free. It isn’t. It is free to write the eBook with but then if you publish, you pay! No point writing unless you publish so by then I guess they have you. I suppose some might try and copy and paste but then the formatting would be lost, if they could even do that. It wouldn’t be ethical or fair but then how fair is writing ” Thousands of authors use FastPencil’s free writing software to publish books and eBooks.” on the home page and then hit you with ‘Pricing’. Free should be free, completely. I use Smashwords.com for my eBook conversion and distribution. They cost nothing to use and you can download the converted eBook in several formats, including epub, mobi, pdf, html and so on and they don’t charge you a cent. Smashwords also act as an aggregator, or distributor to distributors like iBookstore, Barnes&Noble, Amazon.com and others. You don’t need to have accounts with all of these distributors as Smashwords do that for you.

What Does Cost Money With eBook Publishing?

You can buy software programs that make life easier for you when writing and publishing your eBooks but keep in mind these will need you to allocate time to learn how to use them properly. You can have your eBook hosted online from as little as $100 a year at places like DDP and the eBook looks great with pages that flip like real books and much more. If you are rolling in money like a major corporation, you might sign up for eMagCreator and pay just $189 a year for their software! If you want global distribution and use then it is just $9450 a year. What a steal! To be honest I am lucky to net that much each year from my eBook sales let alone have it to spend on eBook creation software.

You can spend as much money as you have using the marketing services of various facilitators. They promise to market your eBook online via social networking such as Twitter, Facebook and so on. Why not do it yourself for nothing? All it will cost you is your time and that is why people do use these services. They can afford to pay people to do things for them and they can make that money using the time they don’t spend learning the systems and programs and then making it all happen. For those of us who don;t have a ‘day job’ paying us for our time and expertise in other areas, we need to master the methods that are out there and there are many. You need to think of this time as work, you are investing in your business by learning how to market and sell the product you offer, your eBook. In this regard, the time you spend learning the ropes and then doing the work can be seen as both an investment and an expense. In the time you apply to learning the ropes you are not making money so it is costing you whatever dollar value you put on each hour of your working day. I use $30 to $100, depending on what I am doing. If it is me paying for my time as a learning exercise then I am worth $30 an hour. If I am charging someone for my expertise and effort, then it is $100 an hour. Now you know the truth behind the term ‘self employed’, hahahah.

Where To Spend Your Money

If I had money to spend when it comes to eBooks it would be spent first of all on a reliable computer and good word processing software. I use an iMac 27 inch  with 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor. I have an iMac 20inch backup unit as well as a Samsung 10inch Notebook for emergencies. I use a Western Digital Passport 320GB external hard drive with Apple’s built in Time Machine backup software and I keep copies of my eBooks in a Yahoo Group Files area as well as with Lulu.com, Amazon.com and Smashwords.com. On top of that I burn files to DVD whenever I remember and I have a couple of 4GB USB flash drives floating around. I use a ADSL cable connection with wi-fi modem, Airport Extreme booster and the Samsung has a separate wi-fi account, just in case. I can use that online for free also at McDonalds, Starbucks and my local library so I guess I am pretty well sorted and backed up. But then as a professional eWriter, that surely should be standard operating procedure for anyone, right? I use Office for Mac:2011 and have Office for Mac:2004 as back up and I can use Open Office on the Samsung PC. I rent the iMac as it is a tax deduction and if it is damaged they replace it free of charge and give me a laptop in the interim to keep me working. This is where I spend my money but I confess the selling and promotion of my eBooks also costs money in the form of web sites and blogs.

Online Presence

As well as my StreetWise Publications accounts on Lulu.com, Smashwords.com and Amazon.com I also have several web sites. These include StreetWise Publications, StreetWise Philippines (three of these, a .com, .biz and a .info) my Perry Gamsby personal web sites, ( .com, .info, .net), some sites for eReaders and the Dangerous Ideas site and some several dozen other sites where my eBooks are advertised and linked. It is quite a network and it all costs money to host the sites and register the domain names. I invest about $5 a site per month so we could say it costs over $250 a year just to have these out there, hopefully catching potential buyers of my eBooks. In time I plan to sell off the Philippines related sites and focus all of my marketing energies on promoting my own ‘name’ sites and my Smashwords and Lulu locations. That is on the cards for 2012. In 2011 I streamlined my sales model for my Philippines related eBooks and sales have grown since adopting a Web 2.0 model, however the cut in cover price by 66% means I am still behind in overall income. Nevertheless, there is a need to be online in a few places, perhaps not as wide a net cast as mine but still more than just the one web site. Unless that site is attracting over 1,000 unique visitors a day, of course. In which case who needs other sites? If you sold just 1% of those unique visitors you would sell ten eBooks a day, that’s 300 a month or 3,650 a year. At $9.99 a time, that is not a bad income given you write them and then put them up for sale and write some more. Even selling eFiction at $1.99 a copy, you still clear $1 a sale.  If you sold a print copy book through a major publisher you would be lucky to get $2 or $3 a copy in royalties, so you don’t lose much self publishing, so long as you can self promote and that is the secret. That is where you should focus your energy and your budget and we will cover that elsewhere.

 

6 thoughts on “eBook Publishing Costs

  1. Betty L Merrill

    Very helpful, thank you.
    Are your Community College courses available to on- line students ?

  2. Work From Home BIM

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