November 17, 2014

Spend Those Greenbacks Wisely And You'll Never Be Disappointed Again

I thought for today, I would share my unique experiences/viewpoint on the wonderful world of self-publishing. I say unique because I'm one of those rare breeds that have accomplished the publishing trifecta: published through normal means, published through vanity, and published through an indie platform.

We'll completely skip being published through normal means because the cost of doing so is basically zero if you don't have an agent, 15% if you do, and go right to the other two-thirds of the trifecta.

Being published through a vanity is a basically a case of not spending your greenbacks wisely, because let's face, shelling out dollars to someone to publish your book as is, repeat as is, is stupid. I should know, because I did it myself, and it took me about three years to recover from the financial hit. The only silver lining out of being published via a vanity publisher is that the books you wind up buying can be used to set up shop as a boutique store (i.e. Books By G.B. Miller) and thus file a Schedule C on your federal taxes. For those of you who are wondering about the financial hit, overall it cost me somewhere in the general neighborhood of $2300.

Now, being published by an indie platform, which in my case is both Smashwords and CreateSpace/Amazon. In each particular case, the greenbacks that were spent, were spent wisely.

Case #1:
The total outlay of funds for self-publishing my short story trilogy was less than $10. No money was spent on editing nor was money spent on formatting. Money was spent on the picture (IStock) and the cost of formatting pic as a e-book cover was given gratis. The one perpetual fixed cost is the royalty share that is given to Smashwords whenever a copy is bought.

Case #2

The total outlay of funds for re-releasing my commercial debut in both formats is approximately $265. No greenbacks were spent on editing as it was already professionally edited when it was originally released under a different title. The greenbacks were spent elsewhere:

1} $50 for formatting the e-book version.
2} $120 for formatting the print version.
3} $75 for both covers.
4} $15 for copy of book & postage to contest winner for the new title of the book.

So as you can see, the greenbacks were spent where they were supposed to be spent: formatting and graphic design. And just like with the previous title, the only fixed expenditure will be the royalty split between myself and indie platforms, which in this case is Smashwords and CreateSpace/Amazon.

$265 versus $2300.

Now, unless you work for the guv'ment on any particular level, spending $265 on a product makes hell of lot more sense that spending $2300 on the exact same product. Don't you think?

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Good advice! I have no ambitions to be published by any methods. Blogging cat LOLs is enough gratification for me.

  2. Meanwhile, we format our own stuff and are both adept artists/photographers, so our total cost for book production will always remain zero. It's true, though, with Amazon/Smashwords at least offering the chance to publish for free, there's never a reason for an author to spend thousands of their own dollars to publish something. I can't imagine doing that, knowing I'd have to sell at least, what, 500 copies just to break even?

  3. You spent wisely the second time around.
    If you want to save even more money on formatting, I know a few people who charge even less.

  4. Thanks for that insight. Really appreciated.

    Greetings from London.

  5. This is useful info. Thanks! If only we could write our books and let someone else do the other stuff.


  6. Debra: And it's a fine one indeed. :D

    ABFtS: Or more. It's great though to have a perpetual production monetary cost of zero, although I'm sure the non-monetary cost (i.e. time and actual work) is quite high, so to speak.

    Alex: That is always food for thought.

    It was a very costly lesson to learn and one I do not wish to repeat again.

    ACIL: You're more than welcome and I'm always glad to offer a precautionary tale when I can.

    T: Then things would be truly inexpensive, to say the least. :D

  7. I think it is very cool how self-publishing has come along the past few years. As much crap as there is on the internet, there is some glitter, too.

  8. Excellent education on a lot of unasked but contemplated questions. Thanks!

  9. Wow, that WAS expensive... Lucky you recovered n still have a place to live, n food! Better luck with the latest projects! Be in the Black!

  10. Snaggle: It definitely was, and I'll definitely be in the black with this latest project in no time at all.

  11. Online self-publishing is definitely a bargain. I've been known to complain that adding technology to a situation only serves to create more complicated problems, but in this case I think it's actually a real improvement.

  12. S.R.: POD technology has changed the way things are done when it comes to publishing. No longer do you need to pay someone to publish your book nor do you need to purchase an "x" amount of copies of your book in order to do so.


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