You may be surprised to know that many people I meet with who have an interest in writing a book aren’t aware of the costs involved. They believe they simply need to belt out their best-selling book and it will start bringing in royalty checks. Of course, that is an over-simplified statement, but is still somewhere within the recesses of most first-time authors’ minds.
The Costs to Writing a Fiction Book or Memoir
I address this topic in more detail in my e-book: How to Write Your Book: A Short Guide for First Time Authors. I want to quickly cover some basics here you, which may or may not apply to your specific
Learning. Many writers, especially those in the fiction and memoir categories, tend to take classes, workshops, retreats, online courses, and more. They are working to build their skill set. Learning is a life-long process and those who see writing as a primary hobby or career direction should be consistently adding to their knowledge base.
Coaching. Many non-fiction writers see writing as a secondary function to their careers and will use a coach to keep them on track towards specific goals. As a short-term strategy to complete a book, a coach is ideal for feedback/critique/editing and accountability for all authors. But, for fiction and memoir writers I’d suggest group coaching as a long-term strategy.
Ghostwriting. Ghostwriting is an optional solution for getting a book written – you basically hire a writer to write a book and you put your name on it. This is an ideal option for fiction and memoir writers where English is a second language or when they are lacking necessary writing skills due to a cognitive or intellectual disability.
Sometimes, a hybrid of coaching and ghostwriting can be used as well. This creates a collaborative effort between the writer and the author-to-be which allows for a greater skill set, less need for content to already exist, and usually at a lower cost.
Project Management. A project manager or assistant may be used to help an author with a variety of tasks around the production and distribution of their book. These tasks can include finding vendors for editing, cover design, layout, publishing, reviews, contests, distribution channels, book signings, author events, media/PR, marketing options, and more. Not only would you pay for the support staff, but there would be costs associated with any of the options you employ.
Your Required Completion Team. I consider the following to be requirements of publishing:
Editor. You will be given a price quote up-front but expect to spend a few thousand dollars on editing, depending on the condition of your manuscript (whether or not you used a writing coach) and the length. The editing process is usually several weeks to several months. Expect a developmental editor (not needed if you use a coach), line editor and proofreader.
Cover Designer. Again, you will be quoted up-front, usually a flat fee, for this graphic design work. Be sure you understand what is and isn’t included, such as ISBN, number of changes, number of options, etc. The cover design is usually only a week long process as long as you have all the elements together. (These elements can include the back of the book blurb, author photo, publishing logo, etc.) You will need a cover for both your print book (includes front, spine and back), as well as an e-book cover (front only).
Interior Designer. This person formats your book for printing to prevent misalignment issues when it goes to print. They also help with fonts, widow/orphan protection (random words or alone on a page), indenting, pagination and more. Like the cover, you will need one for print and a separate one for an e-book. Your e-book may or may not have other changes such as table of contents, link-able content, and back cover information being formatted into the content.
Need more info on the costs to writing a fiction book or memoir?
I’d love to hear more about what you are working on, and what kind of help you may want or need to get your book finished and/or published. If you want to learn more about the costs to writing a book, let’s chat about your specific book and I can point you in the right direction.