The Cost to Self-Publish

1106 Design

February 26, 2020

In truth, the title of this article should read, “The Cost of Publishing Services,” as the cost to self-publish is almost zero. As we’ve written here previously, anyone can self-publish a book using IngramSpark and Amazon KDP, the only cost being IngramSpark’s title set-up fees which 1106 Design generally absorbs for our authors.

What are Publishing Services?

Publishing services, also known as author services, are the services required to prepare the book to be published and to promote the book after publication. These include cover design, editing, interior design and layout (typesetting), proofreading, and book marketing coaching and services. The fees associated with these services depend on who is doing them: the author, a freelancer, or a publishing services company.

A Word About Self-publishing Companies

I just want to mention self-publishing companies here as that’s where the water gets muddied. Self-publishing companies typically provide the services to prepare a book for publishing, AND they will also arrange print-on-demand (and/or eBook file formatting) and distribution through IngramSpark, Amazon and sometimes their own websites. (FYI: IngramSpark and Amazon KDP don’t provide the services to prepare the book for publishing. Instead, they provide templates or referrals to companies that provide these services.)

In our experience, the fees that self-publishing companies charge for publishing services may be less than 1106 Design’s fees, but these companies tend to make up for it by taking a portion of the author’s royalties. At 1106 Design, we show our authors how to deal directly with IngramSpark and Amazon KDP without a middle person. In this way, authors control their own accounts and earn maximum royalties. We do this at our peril as this hidden cost of self-publishing is not obvious when potential clients do a side-by-side comparison between us and self-publishing companies. Here are some tips for finding the best self-publishing company.

Assessing the Cost of Self-publishing

Focusing now on the cost of self-publishing, authors should ask themselves the following questions before researching service providers:

  • What are the purpose and audience of the book (e.g., a memoir for family and friends, a novel to be sold online, a business book to promote your business)?
  • Based on the purpose and audience, how professional does the book cover design and interior need to be?
  • Am I the best judge of whether a book cover and interior look like those of best-selling books?
  • Am I prepared to pay for the services required to make my book compare well to best-sellers?
  • Is my skill level adequate to produce the type of book I am envisioning?
  • How much does a well-edited book matter to me? How much does it matter to my readers?
  • Will I manage the self-publishing process and multiple service providers myself, or will I go to a one-stop shop that provides all of the services along with someone to manage the project for me?
  • How important is customer service to me? Do I need coaching and support throughout, or am I okay with infrequent contact with service providers?
  • What is my budget? If my budget is tight, where do I want to use my limited funds; what is most important to me (e.g., editing, interior formatting)?
  • Am I okay with lower upfront service fees in return for a lower “royalty” (publisher’s compensation) and possible up-selling, or would I rather know all the costs upfront and make maximum royalties?

By answering the above questions, authors should gain some clarity on what type of service provider to hire and which tasks they are willing to do themselves. For example:

  • If the book will have very limited distribution to family and friends, the author may choose to format the book themselves or find someone to do it for free.
  • Authors who want to spend their limited funds on editing may purchase a template for the book cover and interior.
  • Those who are okay with limited contact with the service provider or who don’t care about customer service may opt to hire a freelancer.
  • The business professional who sees their book as a “business card” that represents their brand will typically opt for more expensive service-providers who will ensure the book does just that.
  • Business professionals and experienced indie authors tend to opt for a one-stop shop that provides all the services under one roof, and that prioritizes customer service and project management. They also want to earn their maximum royalties!

The Cost to Self-publish with 1106 Design

While in-line with other publishing service providers, 1106 Design’s fees may come as a surprise to first-time indie authors who are researching the cost to self-publish and comparing us to freelancers on 99designs or to self-publishing companies.

Here’s why: 1106 Design provides traditional publisher quality. We also offer a traditional publisher experience in that we travel the self-publishing journey with our authors, every step of the way, and we invest ourselves in every book’s success. To us, it’s personal!

Authors who hire us get:

Experience: Whether it’s book design, editing or book marketing, you can be assured that our team members bring decades of experience to your book; some have even trained at traditional publishers.

Attention to detail: Editing, design, typesetting, and proofreading take time to get right. That’s why we’ve built the necessary time into our fees so that if, for example, a book takes longer to format, you’ll still pay the same fee. If there are any fees associated with additional revisions over and above the original proposal, you will know about them upfront.

No cutting corners to lower the price: Each cover design and interior layout is unique. We do not use templates. We also take a unique collaborative approach with our authors to ensure each author’s vision is realized.

Truthful, upfront pricing: No surprises later, no upselling, and 100% publisher compensation (royalties).

Responsive customer service: Every author’s question is a good one and every author’s request deserves an honest answer. After all, it’s your book! With dedicated project managers, we respond to author queries within one business day, if not sooner.

A service provider that won’t pull a disappearing act: From freelancers that disappear into the virtual ether to self-publishing companies that shut down suddenly without giving you your files, we’ve heard all the horror stories. In fact, we should list “book rescue” as a service. When you contact us, you will always get an answer. We give authors their application files (not just the PDF) at the end of every project so that authors are not dependent upon us for future updates.

A vetted, managed team: Rather than having to do all the research yourself, we do it for you. We’ve already vetted our team members so you can save time by not having to interview freelancers. And because we have multiple skilled and experienced team members, your book won’t be impacted if one team member gets sick or takes a vacation. If your standalone freelancer is ill, your launch date could be compromised.

If you ask yourself the previous questions about the cost to self-publish and decide that a one-stop shop of professional publisher services is for you, contact us. Even if you find yourself on a tight budget, we’re happy to consult with you and offer some options that will ensure publishing success.

You may like these

Author Story: Shelley Onderdonk & Rebecca Bloom

Author Story: Shelley Onderdonk & Rebecca Bloom

Eating healthy is an evergreen topic, and there’s no shortage of influencers, chefs, and cookbooks to help you prepare food that’s delicious and nutritional. All you have to do is figure out body chemistry and learn advanced cooking methodologies, right? No one has...

read more
What to Say When You are a Podcast Guest

What to Say When You are a Podcast Guest

Now you’re ready to be a podcast guest. You’ve gone through the process of pitching a podcast, which means you've; Researched the podcasts your target audience will be listening to. Listened to those podcasts to determine which ones accept guests and the podcast...

read more
How Do You Pitch to Podcasts?

How Do You Pitch to Podcasts?

Who’s ready to pitch to podcasts? According to, there are over 2,000,000 podcasts available in the United States alone. That’s a virtual sea of opportunity for you to help market your book. Very few podcasts are recorded live, meaning you have a chance...

Too Clever to Listen to Publishing Advice

Too Clever to Listen to Publishing Advice

A guest post by Kyle Weckerly Publishing these days is far easier to get into than it used to be. Traditional literary agents are no longer the sole gatekeepers to publishing a book. There are publishing platforms available to do every step of the process on your own....

Will it matter if I don’t get a professional editor?

Will it matter if I don’t get a professional editor?

A guest post by Kyle Weckerly Editors are an elusive and sometimes intimidating breed. They have the power to turn our stories into the polished gems we know them to be. Or reveal the glaring flaws that would tear them apart. It is that last one that nearly every...