I spent $200,000 on self-publishing

No I didn’t.

digital-self-publishingBut according to a recent article in The Guardian, everyone must THINK I’ve spent that much, because each of my 30-odd titles must have cost $6,000 to self-publish. The article lists editing, cover design, buying reviews and sending out physical review copies as the major expenses. It leaves out formatting, which is just one if its flaws. You can read it via the link below.

I have self-published 30 books now. There’s:

  • two novels,
  • a whole bunch of novellas and serials,
  • various compilations of novellas and serials,
  • a cricket humour series, and
  • a series of parody life tips.

Do the maths and round up a bit. Check out the catalog here.

I guess $6,000 is nothing compared to the time real “cost” of the time you spent writing your book, be it long or short. But it’s a lot of cash, and a complete nonsense. I’ve got most (but not all) of my books to market for no financial outlay.

Here’s some money saving tips:

Use the right tools. This is a golden rule.  Write your book using Scrivener. It costs about $45. When you’ve written, edited, proofread and slaved over it, you click a button and it makes a beautiful ebook file to upload for kindle, nook, etc.  If you’re patient, it will even do a print-ready file for a paperback as well.

Work collaboratively. I work with a number of different writers, either as co-authors or as just an “extra pair of eyes” looking over a story. “Is this story worth telling?” is a question that needs to be asked – ALWAYS – don’t forget to ask it. When the answer is “No”, drop it like a hot potato.

Ask Friends. Friends who know what they’re doing, of course.  I designed the cover for The Queensberry Rule, but I knew it wasn’t right. A friend who does some design work looked at it and told me in two minutes what was wrong, and the ten minutes I spend fixing it transformed it from OK to fantastic.  My friend would never have agreed to design the cover if I’d asked her to do that.

Engage readers. I’ve got a few readers who (mostly) like my work, and they love proofreading, testing, and commenting on new stories. They feel privileged to be part of the process, and they make a huge difference in the development of projects. I have two novels in planning which wouldn’t exist without the feedback of readers. Listen to them!

Use the barter economy. I’ve got a few contacts who each other, mainly with proofreading. It takes time, but we get to read each other’s work.

Read Aloud. This takes time, but if you want to find mistakes, and get a sense of how your language sounds, you’ll find more things to fix than you wanted to by reading your last draft out aloud.


I did spent some money on my first book – to have it edited, and for a crowd-sourcing website to do a cover. The editing investment was worth it as far as me growing as a writer goes – but not “worth it” in terms of the financial return of that particular book. Across the whole portfolio, of course, it makes much more sense.

There’s only one way to write a best seller – and that’s to start writing the books that come BEFORE it straight away – without being put off by vested interests who keep trying to keep the gates closed by saying things like it’s going to cost an arm and a leg to self-publish, or that writing like Hemingway is what is needed to “succeed”.

You can read the Guardian article here.

More usefully, you could read/listen to:

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