[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_dropcap]A[/fusion_dropcap]s with everything, in self-publishing you get what you pay for. And, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t anticipate paying nothing for book design, editing, or printing; if a self-publishing company offers you something for free, expect to pay something at some point, because—after all—these companies are not nonprofits; their mandate is to make money!
Editorial rates vary widely according to the task, the editor’s experience level, the project’s complexity, and the deadline (the same goes for book designers). Some professionals charge a flat fee; others charge by the hour, the page or the word. Remember that these professionals are business entities and must be paid enough to cover their business expenses. Some professionals work for companies that provide the administrative and marketing services for them—a great arrangement but one for which these companies must be paid accordingly. Allow the vendor to see your manuscript and provide a firm quote in writing that includes the amount of time allotted for corrections and the rate thereafter. Feel comfortable asking for references.
Someone will always offer you free services. But unless your aunt is a professional editor and owes you a favor, or your best friend is a renowned book designer, you run the risk of sloppy work as a trade-off for that freebie.
So what about websites offering free book design? By laying out your book using one of their free templates, you run the risk of creating a book that is not unique and can’t compete with professionally-designed books. In fact, these companies count on you getting frustrated or not being happy with the end result, and they will happily provide design services to you for a fee (along with editing, proofreading, marketing and more). Also, be wary of “free” services that include a one-time “set up” fee.
Bottom line: be clear on your goals, do your research, and set yourself a reasonable budget. If your book is meant as a hobby or a gift and will not be sold publicly, you can probably get away with offers of free editing and free online templates. But if your book is meant to compete with the other thousands of books in the marketplace, you should expect to pay.
—Michele DeFilippo owns 1106 Design, a Phoenix-based company that offers cover design, interior design and layout, manuscript editing, and more with expert self-publishing advice and hand-holding every step of the way. Please visit https://1106design.com to download her free eBook, Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing.