The Cost of Writing a Book

Posted August 15, 2022 by Karen in Musings / 1 Comment

The Cost of Being an Independent Author in 2022

Recently I had a dear friend who happens to be an author contact me upset by an email. A reader was livid that she paid $3.99 for a novella! That conversation has spurred me to write this post. I want to address the high cost of independently publishing a book in 2022. This doesn’t even cover the author’s actual time in writing.  This is just their minimum outlay of money.

~ Edits can be up to and over $700.00 – $3,000 dollars depending on the type of edits: Developmental, Copy edits, Line Edits, Proofreading etc.

~ Covers can be between $300.00 to $500.00: E-book Cover, Audio Book and Print Book.

~The price of formatting an E-book is about $150.00.

~PR and Marketing is up to $1000.00 if not more.

~These numbers don’t even address audiobooks and those costs.

~If a book sells on Amazon for $3.99, the author is paid $2.49.

~ If a book sells on Amazon for $2.99, the author is paid $1.04.

So before the book is even on Amazon, the author has spent a lot of their money on a book not knowing if it will sell or not. At $2.49 profit, an author needs to sell over a thousand books to even recoup their initial investment, depending on their costs upfront.

I think we all need to be aware that more and more authors are hanging up their computers. I was shocked when one of my favorite paranormal romance authors, Chloe Neill, announced she didn’t have a contract to write. She had been under contract for fourteen years and now – nothing. Her books sold, but the reality is that the market is flooded with authors, and traditional publishers would rather take a chance on a newbie author for a lower price point than pay an established author. Everyone seems to think authors are rich, but most have regular 9-5 jobs and write in their spare time. Even full-time authors are scrambling to make ends meet in this book world. Some are actually stepping away as the cost to publish is greater than the return. It will be a sad day when creative people can’t afford to write their stories.

One response to “The Cost of Writing a Book

  1. Good post! Yes, I would say that it costs me a minimum of $1,000.00 to publish a book of 50k words, not counting the time I spent writing it. And after an initial flurry of sales, they usually flatline. I know, some are rushing to the keyboard, “write a better book, loser, and the sales will come.” But I write wonderful books and that’s not the problem. The problem is, like you stated, gobs of people writing books, most of them awful, but they hide the good books. Also, generations raised up to believe that anything that comes via the internet should be free. I’ve been ‘trad’ published and I also ‘self’ publish. But I’m probably not going to be doing it much longer. There is simply no return on it anymore, sad to say.

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