One of the last tips in my previous post, 10 Tips for Launching Your Book, was to come with a book production budget. How do you do that? Easy. A book production budget is an estimate of what it will cost to get your book published. It includes everything from the cover design, to editing, formatting, marketing, and maybe even research materials. (I’ll explain in a little bit).
What’s the purpose of determining your budget ahead of time? Three things.
- To make sure you have the money to publish a quality book
- To estimate how much the book will make over it’s lifespan (about a year, for most indie publications)
- To see how much you can spend on giveaways, ads, promos, swag etc.
Remember, an estimate is not written in stone. Costs and sales may vary from author to author depending on who you choose to contract with, your audience size, and how much you promote.
How do you calculate this budget?
First, figure out the possible “royalties.” Multiply your planned book sale price (figuring that out is a discussion for another post) by your expected royalty percentage . (How much you’re going to sell the book for is worthy of its own post). If you’re selling both ebook and paperback, you’re going to this twice. You’ll probably be getting less money for the ebook than paperback. So this will give you a best case, worst case scenario.
Then, add up all of your expenses for creating this book. This includes your editing, book cover, formatting,, giveaways prizes, ads, and materials you bought to research the book (if it was only for this book). You may notice that the really snazzy book cover you got blew all of your royalties. You will have to hustle harder to make sure you get that money back.
Then subtract the expenses from the royalties; this is an estimate of your potential profit .
Here are my recommendations for maximizing your profit:
- Make the budget ahead of time.
- Plan on doing some sort of revitalization of your book sales at 6 months, 9 months, then at the year mark post publication. We are aiming to extend the life cycle of your book.
- Be prepared to spend time and energy on selling your book. This may include doing readings and speaking at book clubs. I’ll write more about post-publication marketing in a future post.
If you’re setting your budget ahead of time, go onto the internet and search average cost of … an indie book cover and formatting, editing, etc. Use those figures in your budget.
At this point, you may get discouraged. Take a moment. Feel your feelings, and then remind yourself you’re in this for the long haul. You can revitalize sales EVERY time you publish a new book. Your income from your creative efforts doesn’t just come from one book. Eventually, you’ll have multiple books. There are also other ways to leverage your skills and creativity to earn money. This is just one part of one income stream. Income streams are the faucets, if you will, of making money. I’ll talk about this more in the future.
One of the reasons I hear indie writers say they are indie is because they want control. Coming up with a budget and taking a hard look at the business aspect of being an indie helps you have CONTROL. With CONTROL, you have FREEDOM. And freedom is what we indie creatives crave. Take your creativity FULLY into your hands and be the creative entrepreneur that you are.
Line editor Claerie Kavanaugh.
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