Today I have the brilliant DM Yates on my blog. She has written a guest post with some advice for authors on publishing and saving money. Hope you all enjoy it, I could definitely relate to it well!
Hello everyone. I’d like to thank Mia for this wonderful opportunity to guest post. My name is DM Yates and I have self-published two works: Always, a fantasy/new age/spiritual romance and Stepping Stones to Love Honor and Respect, a book of 60 poems.
I’m a self-published author and I belong to a great many groups. I read the same concerns or questions in every group, so today I’d thought I’d address one major concern - just how much of your money should you spend on publishing and marketing your own books? What should you pay for and what not?
My budget is almost non-existent, so I had to look at what I could afford.
Pay for formatting or format yourself? I chose to format my own works. It costs nothing to do it yourself. Smashwords has a free e-book that is a great reference on how-to. Createspace also has guidelines for formatting your paperback. If you want to pay to have it done or pay for templates, it could run you $100 or more.
Editing. Please don’t skip this step. It’s important to present a professional image as an author. I always suggest having your book professionally edited. Two people I recommend are Elizabeth Maginnis and Robert L. Bacon I highly recommend Mr. Bacon’s free monthly newsletter. If you don’t have the money to pay a professional editor, then I’d suggest Grammarly costs, but it is cheaper than an editor.
What about your book cover? Again, you can pay a lot to have your cover designed or you can design it yourself. I’m not an artist so this is one area I must pay for. I use Joleene Naylor because her prices are reasonable and I like the covers she’s made for me. If you’re needing a cover for a paperback and you use Createspace, Createspace offers free templates or you can pay them to design a cover for you. Many of my friends use Gimp to make their own covers.
Bookbaby offers many services starting as low as $99 http://www.bookbaby.com/pricing They also offer an ISBN for $19. However, Smashwords also offers an ISBN for works published by them for free. So do Amazon and Createspace.
There’s often a discussion on whether to copyright or not since once your idea is on paper or the computer, your work is technically copyrighted. I’ve read too many blog posts about authors who have run into problems without going through the Copyright Office, so I do copyright my work. It is my first step before I put my book up for sale. It’s only $35 and I believe it is well worth that price. It’s very simple to do and takes only a short time. http://www.copyright.gov/ Whether you go through the Copyright Office or not is a decision you have to make.
Advertising. Many sites offer per click ads. I don’t use this because it doesn’t guarantee sales. If you’re on a low budget, look for blogs that advertise for $5 or $10 and have large followers. If you have a larger budget pay for an advertisement, but even these don’t guarantee sales.
The least expensive method is to guest post, have your book reviewed, do a blog tour (you can even set up your own for free)and be active in online communities. Make sure your books are advertised on your own sites and that you’ve built your profile on whatever sites you belong. Set up book signings.
I’ve read comments that said, “If you haven’t earned any money, don’t spend any.” Sorry, but I have to disagree. You’re setting up your own business and businesses take investments. Just be careful how much you invest upfront.
Just don’t give up. Without big bucks and a PR company behind you, the road ahead is a difficult slow climb. One of my favorite quotes:
On the road to their destinationLie the bleached bonesOf countless millionsWho – when at the brink of decisionHesitatedAnd were lost.
I’d love to hear your comments on this subject. What do you think is important to spend on, how much do you invest in your authorship?
Thanks DM, I couldn't agree more about having to invest in your writing! My main investment is in an editor but other than that I do most things myself. Like you I format my own work and have set up numerous tours by myself. It's easy once you've done it a few times and learnt the basics. I've considered investing in a tour company to reach bloggers I can't, what with being self-published, but like I explained in a previous post, I don't think I will be using certain companies again.