How to Budget for Your Book Publishing Project

How to Budget for Your Book Publishing Project

People often ask me, “What’s the average cost to publish a book?”

The only true answer to this question is, “It depends.”

A children’s book, with full color illustrations and hardcover binding is a very different book from a 250-page novel or a chemistry textbook. The cost for producing each will be quite different, too.

Here are the most common elements of a book project that you might find in your budget and my best guess at today’s range of costs – for the  do-it-yourself self-publisher to a done-for-you price estimate.

NOTE: These are guestimates/averages/compiled numbers. Every publishing provider offers services in different ways and prices them differently. These figures are here to give you a general idea of the ranges of prices you might encounter. These are NOT our prices at Dudley Court Press. For those, check our Publishing Services page.

Writing & editorial assistance   ($0 – $200,000+)

  • Research ($0 – $25,000)
  • Ghostwriting ($2,500 – $200,000)
  • Coaching ($400 workshops to $5k-$15k one-on-one programs)
  • Developmental (Substantive) Editing ($200 – $500+/ per hour or $20+/- per page or $.8-$.15 per word)
  • Copyediting ($50 – $300/hour or $.35-$.75 per word or $8-$15.00 per page)
  • Proofreading ($50 – $300/hour or $.35-$.75 per word or $8-$15.00 per page)

Book Design & file creation

  • Illustrations, technical drawing, photos (varies widely depending on need)
  • Cover design (front & back) ($0 – $5000)
  • Interior design & layout ($0 – $5000)
  • Cover files for all required formats ($0 – $300 each format)
  • Interior files for all required formats ($0 – $500 each format)
  • Proofing of all files (($50 – $300/hour or $.35-$.75 per word or $8-$15.00 per page)

Copyright registration ($35-$150)

Industry Data & Identification

  • ISBN (International Standard Book Number) ($125 for one; $295 for 10)
  • Bar Code ($25 at
  • LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) ($0 – $150)
  • PCIP block (Publishers Cataloging-in-publication data) ($150)

Marketing Activities

  • Website creation and maintenance ($0 – $15,000)
  • Social media plan and execution ($200 – $2,000/month)
  • Public Relations activity ($500 – $10,000/month)
  • Online author presence (Amazon, Google Books, Goodreads, etc.) (varies)
  • Book Tour management (2 week tour: $50 to $100
  • Book Trailer video: ($850 to $5000+)


  • Print runs (cost per unit depends on how many units are produced in one print run and whether the book has color interior or black & white. An offset, hardcover run of 1000 copies of a 200-page, black and white interior – approximately $5,000-$10,000)
  • E-book conversion ($100-$500+)
  • Audio Book creation ($0 – $5000)

Distribution & Sales

  • Amazon/Kindle & other online retailers for print, e-book & audio (no set up or ongoing fees if you do it yourself; others – fee and/or 10-25% of sales)
  • Inventory Management & warehousing ($1.00+/book/month)
  • Wholesaler & distributor relationships (15-65%)
  • Foreign rights sales representation ($300-$1,000 plus percentage)

As you can see, you can spend very little or quite a lot in any of these categories. The more you can do on your own, the lower your budget can be for your book project.

Understanding how to put it all together is sometimes the bigger challenge, which is why publishing services companies like Dudley Court Press exist. If you’d like to explore how we make authors’ lives easier, contact me today.