Writing Life
Diona L. Reeves  

Self-Publishing Expenses Can Add Up

Here's one option to streamline costs

You’ve decided to self-publish. Congratulations! That decision is but one of many you will face as you move from draft to publication.

If you’ve done your research, you know the potential expenses that await… From business formation to cover design, proofing, and typesetting.

But are you aware that publishing platforms like IngramSpark® charge you to upload and edit your files? By comparison, uploads and edits to Amazon KDP are free.

I considered bypassing IngramSpark as part of my launch strategy. Until I found a way to minimize the fees.

I love the simplicity of Amazon’s KDP portal, but it was also important to me to get my book in front of as many readers as possible. That’s where IngramSpark and its large distribution network come in. Unfortunately, the use of this service comes at a price.

IngramSpark sometimes runs promos that offset this cost, but what if you find a formatting issue, typo, or design inconsistency in your proof? If you’re like me, you don’t have the benefit of a production house to confirm all the tiny details before publication, and for the first book in particular, there could be unexpected issues to address.

You may also want to make changes for promotional purposes, such as updating your bio or advertising a forthcoming release. At $25 a pop, it’s easy to see how the costs for this service could add up quickly.

My way of mitigating this risk? I joined the Alliance of Independent Authors. It’s not free, but the annual membership cost is preferable to paying for each change.

At $119 per year, I am not only part of a community of other indie authors, but I also get a code each month for five uploads to IngramSpark. I can use this for a new print-on-demand book, e-book, or to upload edits to existing publications.

Naturally, I hope I’ve spent enough time on my book to limit the need for edits once it’s submitted, but even the best in the business miss stuff or encounter technical issues. Instead of an unlimited expense hanging out there, I’ve capped my costs at just over $100 for the year. This allows me to release my second book this year without worrying about the added fees.

And the savings on IngramSpark are not the only benefit. Membership includes discounts on other services like design, editing, and typesetting. You also have a place to share your work and seek advice on contracts and other issues you’ll face as a self-published author.

If you are considering self-publishing and want to keep your costs to a minimum, an annual membership with the Alliance of Independent Authors could be beneficial. You have 30 days after sign-up to try it out, but you cannot access the IngramSpark codes unless you waive this trial. You can, however, immediately access their database of designers and other professionals.

Pending any technical issues with the uploaded files, my first novel will be available through IngramSpark, Amazon KDP, and several other sites this month. As excited as I am about this milestone, it’s not the only positive takeaway. As I wrap up the next book, I can spend more energy on the writing itself and less on the decision about where to publish.

This article also appears on Medium.

Diona L. Reeves

The Prescott Diaries

Available now!

Learn more