Have you ever wondering how much it actually costs to produce a novel when taking into account editing, cover design, book formatting and everything else?
Or are you an experienced author, looking for a benchmark to evaluate if you're paying too much?
In episode 64 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, Autumn and Jesper, gives you the complete overview. All the expenses shared on a per task basis.
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Read the full transcript below.
(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
Narrator (2s): You're listening to the amwritingfantasy podcast in today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need a literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing join to best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them. Now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt. Hello, I'm Jesper and I'm autumn.
This is episode 64 of the amwritingfantasy podcast. And uh, well money is always an important topic
Jesper (43s): and especially when you're starting out as a new author, you might be wondering how much does it actually cost to produce a novel? Well that's what we're going to look into today. And for the more experienced authors out there, you can use this episode maybe like as a benchmark to see how your cost compare.
Autumn (1m 2s): Yes, I, you know, this is kind of a scary episode for me cause I don't know, I think I would have been fly it as a new author getting into this, but as a port, yeah, it's good. I don't know. Have a base to have. This is not a free, but as I say, this is one of the best businesses to get into because your upfront cost is fairly low.
Jesper (1m 26s): Yeah, yeah, exactly. I was just about to mention that that's what we said on what was it, the previous owner, maybe two episodes back or something like that. When we, when we talked about compared to other businesses where you had to shell out like 50 K just to get started. Like we're nowhere near that. So in terms of context towards other businesses and types of businesses, the money amounts we're going to talk about here is fairly low. But of course I do understand if, if you're, if you're short on cash in general or you are, you have a limited budget, then it might, yeah.
Yeah. The point is not to scare you.
Autumn (2m 0s): That's, I'm trying to say that's a void that, that, how was your week? Let's get into something much more fun.
Jesper (2m 8s): Yeah. Well speaking of fun, actually, uh, over the weekend I listened to episode 61 where you had the interview with Alexa am. So that was really, I was really good conversation. I was really entertained.
Autumn (2m 21s): Oh good. I'm glad you enjoy it. I love talking to her and actually the publishing summit is happening, um, as we're recording this, so when it's released it'll have been over. But it's been so much fun. I love her summit and it was, uh, I'm glad the podcast was turned out as well as it did. Yeah. The, the woman women taking over the podcast worser. It'd be one to happen.
Jesper (2m 46s): Yeah. Apparently. So I see her, I'm lucky that I got to come back here, this recording now. Absolutely.
Autumn (2m 52s): We have a good partnership. We never argue. This is kind of funny. Yeah, that's true. Yeah. But actually something else I wanted to mention, a funny thing that also took place over the weekend was am. It was a movie that I watched, but not like a normal movie. This was only two minutes long. And, uh, the title of this movie was Pam spy vs six pack boy.
Yeah. This was, uh, this is my two sons. So they spent like five, four or five hours yesterday and recording this movie that they made. They spent four or five hours recording and editing it into a two minute movie. So the spend almost all day doing it. Uh, and uh, so it was my youngest son, he played the role of pants by, which was the super hero. And then he also played the role a six pack boy, which was the super villain. Although I know that this usually, it's not very charming to hear about other people's kids and what they're doing.
But, but it was quite funny because like a minute into the movie, well that's half the movie, but then we saw the reason why he was called camp S boy because his pants fell off right when he was fighting the villain. Yeah, I was, I dunno. It was just so funny. Adorable. And yeah, I don't even have kids. So I definitely lived through yours. But it's adorable in it. And from a practical point of view, it kept them busy all day. This is like win-win.
Yeah. That they spend all day. And at some point my wife went down to to the rooms and asked her, Hey, do you guys want to play a board game with, with me and dad? And they were like, well, we don't have time right now. We're just doing this movie. I was like, okay. But it seems like, yeah. Well, but I think it was a tragedy that movie because it actually ended with pants boy being taking away in handcuffs while while they're willing was sitting there eating popcorn that was out of movie.
Well, I think they're gonna have to work on a sequel. That's all there is to it. Yeah. Maybe. Maybe. Oh, I think it might win like a YouTube reward. You might have to show that one. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I usually try not to share videos live with my kids and whatnot, but uh, but it was, it was quite funny. But, and again, usually parents feel that their own kids are much more funny than other people find their kids. So maybe it's just me finding it funny as it sounds.
Adorable. That's great. How about you? Oh well, nothing quite as much fun. But uh, Kevin progress has been made that we actually have windows and door and for the first time ever we are heating the room that we've added on to this cabin. So you can like work in there with like without major coats and gloves and stuff on. And actually I just did the flooring today, so it's starting to look like a real room. Nice.
Yeah. How much work do I have left to do there? Um, well installation will be exciting. That's hopefully coming tomorrow and the next day. And then it's really doing the interior walls and my husband happens to be an electrical, he did am technical high school, so he's an electrician, electrical apprentice. So he's been doing the wiring. Um, I do all the woodworking. He does the wiring, so it's kind of fun that way. So he's put the new panel in and all the electrical outlets. So you know, it, it doesn't sound to me, it's like we're past the big, you know, no more heavy lifting.
It's like some interior paneling. And then of course the outside am vinyl. Actually, we're not doing vital, we're doing Cedar shakes, am, all of that. It's still a little bit of work, but I'm also at the point where I'm like, it is March. And I made a promise to myself that come March 1st, the cabin could not be my entire life building this thing. So it's only half days now, only in the morning. And then the afternoon I have like, you know, this whole writing job thing that we do together. Yeah.
So, uh, now doing half days, so it's still gonna take a little bit of time, but it's going really, really well and I can't wait til we're putting in the shelves for the kitchen area and it's, it's coming soon. Right. Do you need to do painting and stuff like that as well? Um, it's mostly a wood interior, but I do want to do something other than wood on wood, on wood Brown. So I think I'm going to maybe do a little bit of color in the kitchen area because I like kitchens. They're like one of my favorite rooms in the house, so it'll have to be kind of fun. Don't you just, uh, check, decorate the walls with printouts, offenses, you maps.
That's actually a pretty good idea. Do a de Copan. Yeah. Mm. Yeah. That's something to think about. That advice is completely free. Oh, thank you. It could be, yeah. Could be done. If you could do that. Then you have to send me pictures. I, I have to get permission since it's not technically my cabin, but I think they could go for it. Right. Oh, week on the internet with the amwritingfantasy.
Podcast so before I have something else to share from internet this week, then, uh, I just want to get the most important thing out of the way first.
Jesper (8m 21s): And that is of course to thank all of our new patron supporters. Yes. I have a long list of names here. Oh, excellent. And, uh, maybe before I do this, uh, I'm sorry if I put your, any of your names. It's really not, it's not on purpose if I do, but uh, but here it goes. So thank you to E M the Ross Bernie virus. I think Hannah's Hannah's horribly sooner.
Andrew Davis arrest moose Garrett. They key the DKI or something like that. I think it's German. Yeah. Matthew Philips, Roger Walker, Colleen Baldwin, Brandon harden, Craig Sanders, Eric and Linda lecture. Thank you so much everybody for joining us.
Autumn (9m 16s): Patron. Thank yes. Loved seeing all of our new patrons and uh, can't wait to meet them and talk about what they're writing and just, you know, see what their questions and stuff are when they interact on the mini Petri on post. We put up every single week. So welcome. Welcome to the podcast and welcome to patriarchy. Yeah.
Jesper (9m 36s): And for the rest of you, check the link in the show notes. We are keeping the podcast ad free because we feel that that makes for a much better listen. So, uh, but do keep in mind that we do rely on the patron supporters to justify the time we spent recording this or so please consider becoming one of our backers. It really makes such a
Autumn (9m 56s): difference to us. Yeah. And even if it just starts at a dollar a month, I that's not that bad and we really do appreciate it.
Jesper (10m 4s): Yeah. So link in the show notes. But the other thing I wanted to mention as well, uh, was that in the amwritingfantasy Facebook group, uh, Nina posted something that I really wanted to share my reflections on. Oh, OK. and, uh, what you can of course pits in here too. Autumn Oh, absolutely. Very welcome to do so well is because Nina is a dangerous Arthur
Autumn (10m 29s): like me. And, uh,
Jesper (10m 32s): she posted a question that I think is really relevant because she was wondering if she should write in Danish or in English.
Autumn (10m 40s): And, uh,
Jesper (10m 41s): I thought I would bring this up here because many of our of our listeners aren't native English speakers. So in this case it's about Danish versus English of course, but you can just substitute Danish with any other language that might be your native language. For for the listener here. Right. So, um, in the post Nina points out herself that the Danish market is small. Um, but she's also speculating that there is less competition. So of course you could have a point there. Yeah, you can get that pretty quick.
Yeah. And she also says that, um, she does not want to find a publisher. She wants to become an indie author. Uh, so here in lies the question, should she write the book in Danish and then get it translated afterwards or should she write in English from
Autumn (11m 30s): they get go. Right. So I don't know if you want to share your thoughts on why I should I do mine first. I was gonna say, I think my thoughts are going to be tainted because I know you write in English and I kind of think I know why. So I'm gonna let you go ahead and go first and I'll see if I have something to add. Since I am a native English speaker. So I kinda had an easy yeah, I, I mean when
Jesper (11m 55s): there was a few things here, right? So if you, if she was, if Nina had said in her post that I'm looking to be traditionally published, then she could easily write in Danish. I think if she was looking to find a Danish publisher who will get her book into all the national bookstores here in Denmark and they will take care if it sells enough, they'll take care of translation and putting it into other countries and all of that stuff. Then I think if, if she wants to write in Danish and issue feels like this is uh, this is what I prefer, then go for it.
Um, but once you saying in her post that she wants to be a self published author, she wants to use the online platforms like Amazon and so forth. Then I think, and again here you can substitute Danish for any other language, but I think you need to do to do the bit of market research and, and see how big is the market really when you're looking at, for example, from Amazon's perspective, uh, if you put a Danish things, uh, titled and, and written book up on Amazon, how many people are actually buying that as an ebook from Amazon?
And I think you will find that the Danish market is, is very, very tiny. You know, even even ebook reading is not that spread out here in the Nordics or penetrated in the Nordic market as you might think. Uh, many people do not buy from Amazon. Uh, if you're looking at like average Joe, you know, in, in Denmark. Um, so in that case I would say then you a thousand times better off writing in English, uh, because the translation is expensive as well.
So if even if you write it in a Danish and then wants to translate it, it, that's going to be quite expensive to do afterwards. So yeah, I would think right in English, uh, that's, that's why I did it because I agree the Danish market is small and yes, there is less competition and yes, if you write in English and upload and non-Amazon, there's a lot of competition that is also true. But at this point of time, at least the, the amount of Danish readers going to Amazon to find a Danish book is extremist man.
Try to just do a search for Danish books on Amazon. You find almost nothing. And I was gonna say,
Autumn (14m 12s): when you niche down to a Danish book written a fantasy Danish book written in Danish, um, yeah, your, your topology talking a very small percentage of readers you're going to look out for. And so writing an English, um, you might be, have more competition, but you're also gonna have a lot more opportunity to find readers because it is one of the most widely used languages on the planet, whether it should be or shouldn't be. It, it just simply is.
Jesper (14m 41s): Yeah. Yeah. So, so at least I thought I would want her to share a bit of reflection on that because, uh, I found it, uh, well, first of all, she was staying, he sorta treated of course attention.
Autumn (14m 52s): Yeah. But, but I, I think it's relevant for other, other people who also, uh, not native English speakers like myself. Absolutely. And though speaking of questions and writing, I wanted to give a shout out to Susan Laken and also take up, let people know that she has ever really collaborative. Do you that I wish I could go and do, but I'm unfortunately tied up, but she right. Does a writing for life workshop, um, that she hosts. And Susan was, if you don't want to remembers, which hopefully you should.
She was a wonderful guest on our podcast that you interviewed Yesper a few months back, so she's probably don't remember the episode bumper, looked it up beforehand, so sorry. But she is actually running a fantasy and world-building retreat for writers in South Lake Tahoe, which is dropped it gorgeous area is a week long retreat or the mornings they talk about tips on how to write well and world build and characters and then the afternoon you go in, right.
And if you hit a problem like you know, everyone does, you can like raise your hand or go over and ask one of these three bestselling authors that are one of the hosts of the workshops. So that's going on for the whole week and we're going to have a link to that in our show notes so you can go check it out. She says that fills up very quickly. But she, we wanted to give a shout out because she was such a wonderful guests, did some great tips for us. And, uh, I think she's an awesome teacher and she's got some other great woman, Catherine brand camp and Rachel star Thompson are the other two authors who are going to be hosting it and teaching at the retreat.
So if anyone's looking yeah, looking to get away from the family or I guess you could possibly S as you can get a double room. So if you want to take the family boy you want to get away and just write for a week and do some fantasy writing this might be the place for you run Forrest run for us. Um, remind me, this is the one where it's an affiliate link, is that right? I believe it is, but uh, it might not be, I'll have to check. We do have an affiliate link with her, but I'm not sure if it goes to this one or not.
So there's a chance this might get us some money, but there's a chance it doesn't, so it might not, but anyway, Joe's just a full transparency here that it might be an affiliate link. So we might earn a few, a few dollars if you buy a on, um, uh, by our link here. But of course we are mentioning it because we have talked to Susanna, we know her and we know she's doing good things. So check it out if that's something for you
Narrator (17m 38s): and onto today's stuff,
Autumn (17m 41s): how much does it cost to produce a novel ton of time of course. And a willpower. Yes. It was to say, I think this is am possibly less frightening than figuring out how much you get paid per hour for writing a novel. That's something you should never ever calculate. Just do um, not because you're going to be rich unless you happen to be Neil Gaiman, J K Rowling's or George RR Martin.
Yeah, I actually,
Jesper (18m 14s): do you remember when I was first starting out? This was actually one of the questions I was asking myself and I, I remember looking up different YouTube videos from different authors talking about this stuff. And the more I search, the more varied answers I got to them. I think that's it's, yeah, it's just like with all the content that is out there in this day and age on the internet, that's unfortunately something you just have to navigate. So I guess we can just say the same thing applies here, right? I mean we can only, we can share how we view things here and, and from our personal experience how much we are paying to produce novels, but I'm sure you can find, contradicted her into brumation out there if you start searching for it.
So, uh, yeah, you'll just have to make up your own mind who you're listening to I guess.
Autumn (19m 1s): Yes. I suppose I, I thought we were going to say this is the end all be all. This is the answer you're looking for, but no, it is very true that I do. There are lots of ways of looking at this and some of these things, um, you know, everyone's different. How you're right is different. Uh, the resources you might have at your disposal. Maybe being a mom is a bestselling editor, and in that case, you know you're, what you're going to end up charging or for editing might be a lot different than what we're going to list out here. So you don't know. Yeah,
Jesper (19m 29s): I think we, we're trying to here at least to shoot for, for some sort of middle ground averages on what things costs. You can always find something cheaper and maybe the quality is also not to, yeah, maybe I was gonna say a nasty word there, but, uh, maybe the quality is not very good then. But you can also sometimes find something that is much more expensive that we're going to share here. And usually at least if it comes to editing, usually price and quality goes hand in hand, but not always.
You can also sometimes pay quite a lot of money for somebody who is not really that good. So, but that's a different topic. We actually talked about editing in episode 60. Am so you can go back and listen to that one. In if you want all the details. I think we're just gonna stick to cost with this episode.
Autumn (20m 20s): Yes. And I think going on with the expense too, I think there's always a point of diminishing returns where you can pay more, but you're, what you're getting for that little bit of more better quality is probably less than the lower area where you pay $100 more and you get a huge improvement over something that was half the cost. So yeah, we'll keep that in mind. So there's always a point where you're paying lots and lots and lots for only a little bit better than something that's slightly cheaper.
So I think we're going to be a good point. Yes, we're gonna we're going to go for that middle of the road where it's a solid, this was something you're going to help you and, and this is about what you should reasonably expect to spend if you are looking for quality service. Yeah.
Jesper (21m 7s): Okay. So do we want to start out with the editing? We already sort of touched upon that.
Autumn (21m 11s): I guess. So I was going to say, how far in do you want to go? I mean, technically you could say everything from what you're writing on is an expense to the program you're writing in as an expense. But are we going to get that particular, we're going to assume people already have a, some kind of device to write on or a piece of paper and a pencil.
Jesper (21m 32s): Yes. I think my assumption was at least people already have a computer and they at least, I mean, if they want to invest in, in Scribner like we talked about in the past episode, I mean Scribner cost almost nothing. What is it like 30 $40 or something,
Autumn (21m 48s): five. And it gets up to now it's very little and totally worth it.
Jesper (21m 53s): But yeah, so, so that all or you can always just use the Microsoft word or paint pages if you on the Mac or whatever, you know. So I'm assuming that people have a computer that they can write on, right? So this is more like producing a not a novel. What does that cost, uh, providing you have a computer to write on?
Autumn (22m 12s): Yes, I remember. I, I might not do as much research before we get on the podcast, but I'm very detailed oriented. So I had a, I had to find out what the ground level was. Yes.
Jesper (22m 24s): All right. So, well and so at least. Okay, so ground level, the topics I have here is editing, cover design, formatting, blip, writing, copyright. That's sort of the topics that I have. And maybe you have some other ones as well. That sounds good
Autumn (22m 40s): about what I was thinking as well. So those are, those are truly no matter what the expenses. So basically we're going to say that you were skipping like writing courses am help coaching. We're going to say basically that you have written at least a manuscript and how do you take that and produce a novel and how much does that cost? Does that sound about right?
Jesper (23m 2s): Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I'm not, yeah, we're not talking about the cost of acquiring a computer or taking a course about how to write and all that, but so it is more like, okay, you have your, you're, you're S, you want to write a novel and you want to know how much is this gonna cost me? So of course that means that as well, that we are factoring editing costs, which is before you've done with the novel. Right. So, so how much, how much this guy just going to cost me to produce the thing? Yes. I'm providing, I either I have a computer and either I have not, uh, Oh, I have already attended any maybe writing courses or whatever I wanna do.
But that's sort of beside the point. Yeah.
Autumn (23m 43s): You've listened to all of our podcasts and you're already expert,
Jesper (23m 46s): but, well, let's say we're going to have we got,
Autumn (23m 53s): yeah. Yeah. All right, so we're gonna, we're going to start, the education part is really important, really is, it really is, but we're going to assume, okay, you made it through that and we're going to assume you made it through. You know, you've got, you're getting some worth novel. So what it's going to really take to take that rough draft, turn it into something worthy of being read by a widely published audience and you know, yeah. How old is get out there on the world polished and perfect. Well as perfect as it can be, let's go for it. So editing is a good place to start. I agree. Let's start with that because if you can get through editing you, you're never going to get to the next step anyway.
So let's go there.
Jesper (24m 30s): No, no, that's actually true. But uh, yeah, so maybe just to summarize what, what we said in terms of cost from episode 60 so if we are looking at an edit that includes a developmental edit, we talked about that in episode 60 so go back there and listen if, if you want the details. But if we including that into the cost, then as we sat on that episode, you can probably expect to pay something like five to $7,000 for the editing stages and that, that means developmental edit, copy editing, proofreading the whole lot.
You know, all of it. Maybe five to seven grand. Um, yeah, that feels about right. If anyone hears something typing, we
Autumn (25m 15s): going to try live math. We already joked about this being an impossibility. I am keeping notes about how much we save for everything. So excuse any typing.
Jesper (25m 24s): So let's say five to seven grand for that. Uh, and then we also have a different variation where we could say maybe you don't need a developmental edit. So if you written some novels already or you've taken some courses or something that that means that you have a grasp of bout how to structure the novel already. So if we exclude the developmental edit, which is by far the most expensive one, and you can probably bring the cost down to somewhere between 1500 to 3,500, somewhere in between there.
Autumn (25m 56s): All right, that sounds very reasonable. And about, yeah, the going rate for a really good professional proof edit and making sure the grammar, all those are correct. Definitely in that ballpark too. Okay. So no disagreements so fun though. No, I've, well do those are good, I think. I do think there's sometimes if you are in with an editor for a long time, you might be able to get away with cheaper. But again, maybe you'd have to have a deal and maybe got in at someone's early rates or something, but we're going to say, yeah, 1500 that's a good rate for what it costs to get a good edit these days, especially on something as long as a fantasy novel a thousand words, 100,000 words to 150,000 and making sure they've gone over it a couple times, they're not just using Grammarly.
Yeah. This is not cheap.
Jesper (26m 48s): No indeed. Um, but of course you ask as we just, as you can see that the difference between five to seven K two 1500 to 3,500, that it's a huge, I mean, the developmental edit is so expensive. It's, it's insane. It is insane.
Autumn (27m 3s): And I do think a lot of people do, a little novelists, authors look at the cost of edits and go, Oh my goodness. And it is probably one of the biggest upfront costs before you ever publish. Yeah, for sure. But it's what you need. You do not want those early reviews. All saying, Oh my gosh, I couldn't get through it. There was an edit, you know, errors on every single page. There's going to be an error somewhere in your novel. No matter how much you pay, I can guarantee it. I've seen it in published novels put out by, you know, the really big publishers. I've still found errors on paperbacks and hardbacks.
It happens. It does happen,
Jesper (27m 39s): but I can't, can I just say something a bit self-serving here as well? Because if you're comparing those two numbers we just talked about, let, let's go with the cheaper numbers. Even. So let's say five K versus 1500 K. so what if you just took a writing cost like the one we have, for example, for $600 and then you just saved yourself, what is it like three and a half thousand dollars between 1500 and 50,000 right? So you can save $3,500 versus spending 600 so, but I don't know.
For me that's no bueno.
Autumn (28m 16s): $600 and you'll never hopefully has to pay for development at, uh, again. So you're saving thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars. If you take a course and learn how to do this,
Jesper (28m 28s): it's huge. I mean, at the end of the day, you don't have to take our cross, but my point is just that if you, if you spend some money on learning things by taking some good courses, you connected to save yourself a ton of money and it's well worth the money to take a course and instead of shelling out lunch lesson of money on developmental edits. But that's just my point of view. But make up your mind for that. Again, you're putting in his time. It's worth it. Yeah. Okay. So, so by far the biggest expense that's editing the next big expense and probably the only other big expense you ha you're going to have is to cover.
Um, but as you are our covid designer or and you also the expert on this or what would you say in terms of costs and prices?
Autumn (29m 15s): Well it will be depending on if you need a paper bag wrap or if you're just getting an ebook cover. I do recommend if you think you're going to do a paper back, just go ahead and get the whole paper back one done because then you can use the, the full image for advertising, which is fantastic. So for a paper paperback wrap, you can go to, there's a ton of Facebook groups and cover art groups that are going on that are doing pre maids. Even with a little bit of commissioner work, some tweaks that can get you a cover for as little, uh, individual cover, not a paper rap can be as cheap as 50 bucks to up to 150 for just the ebook cover and paperback wraps can go from three to probably 800 depending on what you want to put in there and how individualistic and how much hand painting you need to do.
But it's, to me, it's a lot, but it's not that much because you're getting something that is literally the first impression of your urban novel and also represents your novel all. All your months of work, all the expense that you've put into your blood, sweat and tears is going to be condensed into one image and you better love it and you better make it marketable. So you're going to want to pay for this one.
Jesper (30m 31s): Yeah, the, the covid is insanely important. Um, and and so with the cover designer that you're choosing, uh, that they know what they're doing because one, it's not really about being a graphic designer because that's not even good enough. It has to be somebody who, uh, used to doing book covers and thumbnail covers for Amazon and stuff like that so they know what is working, what do you need to put on that cover to make it convert into book sales. So it is insanely important. And even just doing the market research for your niche, John rhe it's either whether someone does fantasy or is doing paranormal romance, the covers change hugely and you want to fit in.
But you also want to say stand
Autumn (31m 14s): out in a wonderful way. It's, it's tough but it's part of why I love it. It's a challenge. I like challenges, but it is definitely, you don't want to just go in there. Um, if you don't know what to look for in a cover, don't just go into a group and randomly choose a cover that looks okay. I see some horrible font issues where I could do a whole podcast on fonts alone. So we're not going there. I'm a total fund addict. I admit it. I'm not seeking help. I refuse to get help.
I drink tea and I'm a fantastic and I am proud of both. So that's the word goes. Oh. So yeah, my, I'm going to say paperback rep. go with a paperback rap. If you most you want to do a paper back, they're not that hard to format. Um, and we'll be talking about formatting in a few minutes, but go with a price for a formatting for a paperback wrap or book cover for paperback wrap. And I'd say three to $800 of 500 as a solid middle of the way that you will get a probably a very, very nice cover by someone who knows what they're doing.
And honestly, that price has come down a lot, uh, over the years because there's a lot more people out there doing it. And again though now you have to sit just like with edits, you have to sift through a lot of people who put out their shingle and say they know what they're doing and might not know what they're doing. So keep that in mind.
Jesper (32m 35s): Uh, it's, it's, it's a bit tough one. Uh, I would also have said 500 is probably where I would aim. Um, but especially with covers as difficult as well because you can also swing the other into the other direction with the pendulum here because there are some cover designers who chats like $1,500 for a cover and, or even more sometimes, but, and no doubt that by far most of these artists who are able to, um, to chat this message because they are really, really good at what they're doing.
But I still have this am point of view that spending $1,000 extra on the cover, I mean you, you can find really good artists that will do a cover for $500 and I'm not sure that, I dunno, I'm just not convinced that the return of investment is worth to shell out three times as much. So, but yeah, I don't know. Mileage may vary but, but I'm just a bit more on the cautious side when it comes to cost on cover design is it is insanely important like we said, but is it worth paying three times as much as you have to pay to get that just a bit better cover designer to do it?
Fi I, I don't think so. But that's up to you do that. No, I don't think so. And there's some, let's settle on $500 for this one, right? 500 sounds good. And I was going to say one of my favorite cover artists and he does a lot more grim dark. So I don't ever, I probably will never buy one of his covers, but I'm like a fan total fan girl. I've talked with them and gotten tips from a J Calloway. He is amazing. Facebook group. He does a pre meet every week and to buy his premiums are usually 150, and to commission him as like 600 bucks.
And there you go. Yeah, that's a really solid price. I keep telling him he's way too cheap for what he does, but he's happy with it. So there you go. Hmm. Hmm. Yeah. Okay. So book formatting. So of course, uh, once you are done with all this stuff and you're ready to get into the publishing stuff, you also need to format the book. So it looks really good on, uh, as an ebook. And, uh, we've talked about this before to be honest. I mean, you can get vellum, I think that's $200.
Is that right? If you're going to only for Mac users, yeah, it's a, yeah. If you're gonna get the one that also does paperbacks, it's 200 bucks. Okay. Yeah. So that's an obvious a choice. You know, it's a one time off, $200 and then you're good to go forever. Um, you can also use Scribner. We talked about that in episode 54, but it is not a very good formatting tool like rolls. So seven in episode 54. So, uh, actually when I first started out, I used a professional formatting service, uh, and I just looked it up earlier today because I couldn't remember how much I paid for it.
But back then I paid $164 for formatting of both ebook and paperback. Um, and that included some customized, the chapter headings and stuff that, uh, but this was back in 2015, 2016 so I'm not quite sure what they would chat today, but I think chances are that is probably not cheaper.
Autumn (35m 50s): Um, and I've done some formatting for folks and they were pretty, they were a really image heavy ones. And so I was formatting images and so they ended up being, you know, three to 500. But those were, you know, again, they were not a fantasy typical fantasy novel where it's put together and it's fine. But somewhere in, yeah, probably 400 if you're gonna pay for someone else to do it, you might expect up to 400 is probably not unreasonable. No. Yeah. So in that case, velum is probably a better choice if you're on a Mac.
Yes. Yeah. And so yeah, that friendly. Yeah, indeed. So what do we want to go with as a hard price here? Say vellum for 200 do you want to go for 300 assuming that? Yeah, let's, let's go for the cheap one. I'd say $200 for a villain. We keep it on the cheap side. Right? Which assuming Gil get a used Mac computer because they're wicked expensive, but otherwise this is a really cheap, a cheap option. If you can format all your own books, look at us. I mean we've done 20 over 20 between us.
Am yeah, that's a lot of money saved by only spending $200 once. Yeah.
Jesper (36m 58s): And of course then the Ninja trick here is to do Mac in the cloud. So if you're on a PC, you, you create a Mac in the cloud and then you actually have a Mac computer in the cloud. So you and you load vellum onto that one and then you can use vellum even though you're on a PC. So that's the Ninja trick.
Autumn (37m 14s): That is so amazing. Yeah.
Jesper (37m 17s): Uh, okay. So the next two ones, a is optional ones that I just included in case people want to do that. Um, so the first one is blurp writing so this is of course something you could do yourself. And uh, I have a guide book on how to write fantasy blurbs, but, but otherwise it's something you can do for yourself. But if you want some to pay some body to do it, I think you should expect to pay around $300 for a blurb
Autumn (37m 48s): if you don't want to do it done professionally. I don't think that that sounds about right. Yeah. In I mean, yeah, this is something if you can, you know, get your guidebook and that'll give you some great tips. You can get feedback and Facebook groups like our amwritingfantasy Facebook group, those are all great places to get some help. And you know, no matter what, I honestly I think sometimes tastes change and it always helps to go back and revisit earlier books to then see if you can tweak them and improve them because yeah, you pick up, you get better as you get, as you can do this more.
Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah. So I'll, I'll add a link to that guide book, uh, in the, in the description or show note she, I should say. Um, of course that's, that's less than 10 bucks. So that's, that's going to be cheap. 10 bucks versus 300 that is a pretty, in this, again, this will solve all your future book. Blurbing uh, that'll definitely is a life, a savings right there by date.
Jesper (38m 50s): So, and then the final one, that's also an optional one, but if you do want to do a copyright registration, the last time I checked, I think it costs $35. I'm not mistaken.
Autumn (39m 1s): Say it was either 25 or 35. It wasn't that expensive, surprisingly. But again, a lot of times that only protects you in certain countries, possibly not worldwide. And some places, you know, if, if you can prove that you were the first originator, you probably covered technically anyway, or at least in the countries where it wouldn't be covered, they don't care. So there's not much you can do about it anyway. Yeah.
Jesper (39m 30s): Yeah. I mean, I think for the most part why you would consider a copyright registration is, is not to go to court with somebody and fight about it would be this and that. Because at the end of the day, it's going to be difficult. International used to fight your copyright registration anyway, but the main reason why I would want to do it am would be too, I, I'm Danish, I should know, but I would get a U S copyright registration because the main thing that I wasn't concerned about is, for example, if, if, if Amazon, they run their butts once in a while across the am, across their website.
Right? So let's say they catch you on, all of a sudden you get an email from Amazon saying somebody else's claiming that this book is their book. So am unless you can prove that the it is your book, we're going to shut down your account. And as an author, that's a pretty damn scary thing. It is. So that was why I would have one just so that I could just email it off to Amazon and say, here's the copyright registration. It is my book and a story. Right. So just for that, I, that's why I would do it. Um, but yeah, otherwise I'm not intending to go to court to fight people about, uh, yeah, you're going to spend a lot of time, money and effort doing that for probably no, no real benefit of gain afterwards.
But yeah, and it's funny, it's just to make sure your Amazon account is not shutdown. That's pretty important.
Autumn (40m 53s): Funny story though. I do remember once I was re-publishing, um, I think my debut, my novel born of water and they did because it is Permafree and widely available in so many places and I'm sure it's been pirated pirated. I've pulled it off of a few websites, I've gotten them shut down where it was pirated. So I, they did, Amazon actually did ask me to prove it. It was my book and I, I don't think I really, I was just more surprised and I'm like, well, of course it's mine. I've wrote it here and I did this and I added this and I just kind of did a little snippy reply and they're like, okay.
So, um, yeah, it wasn't quite as scary as you mentioned, but looking back at, and I'm like, I can't believe I was like, what are you talking about? Of course it's my book. So I think it's not that easy today to be, it was a while ago and it is a thing that can happen if you do have a book that, you know, mine's been out since 2012, it's been Permafree for a very long time. So yeah, sometimes there. I want to know what's the story with that and is it really yours?
If 30 bucks can save you that day, it might be worth it. It might be. All right. So is that every, I mean calculate all them? I did. I was going to say the only thing we didn't really throw in there is like advertising, which I think that's fair because I can change every month depending on AMS ads, but do consider that this does not include advertising and you're going to probably want to budget at least a hundred bucks, maybe a month to, you know, two three 500 whatever you can put into it. You're going to probably have advertising costs. So consider that as an author as well.
But I ended up everything we have. So without editing because that's our big variable. It is 1020 $5 so if you count an editing on the cheaper end, if you don't need a development edit, you could be paying 2,525 to 4,525 or if you do need that developmental edit and you don't want to just, you know, go buy a course and learn to do it yourself would be $6,000 and 25 cents or $26,025 or up to $8,025 so those are, you know, your ranges.
So maybe around 8,000 for everything versus what do we say? Starting a new business at 50 K this is a lot cheaper. It's not that bad. It's not that bad. And again, even the lower end, the 2,500 that is a lot, but it's also really not that bad. If you can figure out, you know, the development edit and again, you can figure out some of the student if you don't need to do the blurb because you learn how to do it or you go buy the book or you go by vellum and new format once and then you don't have to pay for any of your other formatting.
That's, you know, it's really not that bad. Oh, okay.
Jesper (43m 46s): And I, I think in most cases, if we just do like a blanket value as such, I think most people would say that the cost about three to 4,000 to produce a novel. So, um, as we, as we've laid out here, you can do it a bit cheaper
Autumn (44m 1s): and you could also do it a lot more expensive, but I mean,
Jesper (44m 5s): it is going to cost you money to produce a novel. So, so that's how it is. But, uh, yeah, I, I hope, uh, both the new writers out there got something out of this, uh, in terms of at least you get some visibility on how much it cost, but also for experienced or existing writers who already published books. Uh, maybe it gave you a bit of benchmarking and maybe you've got a bit of ideas about whether you, you will have some really good deals already or if you're paying much for some
Autumn (44m 32s): of the services that you are buying. Uh, but uh, yeah, the step was the aim, uh, to, to give a bit of perspective. Yeah. I feel like am between our partnership and having a longterm editor and the fact that I'm a graphic designer, I'm doing really well. So can I count this in my taxes now though, on what I should have spent? Yeah. I hope I'm not going to start receiving invoices from new. Fair enough. You help with advertising?
We're good? Yeah. Okay, good. Alright, so next Monday we're going to discuss a bit more about editing and this time how much you should be editing while you are writing.
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