At the turn of the year I was fully committed to a revised second edition of my first novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, but it wasn’t until the middle of April that I finally decided to move forward with the project. From the get-go, I knew I would actually have to spend money on my book second time around if it was to have any chance of attracting readers in a way the first edition failed to do. That being the case, I earmarked £2500 as my budget for getting the book published to a sufficiently high standard. This post will let you know where the money went, and if it was well spent. I hope it will be helpful to other authors thinking about going the self-published route.
DEVELOPMENTAL & COPY EDITING
I knew from the outset that having my manuscript edited by a professional would be the most significant expense in publishing the new edition of my book. Consequently, I made sure I did my due diligence when I began compiling a shortlist of editors for the task. At the top of my list was Elizabeth M. Hurst who I first contacted in early January with various questions. Her answers were reassuring, so once my revised manuscript was completed in March, I subsequently got her to do a free sample edit that persuaded me I had found the right person for the job.
Despite an unexpected delay in getting the work started, when Liz finally completed her edits I was very pleased with the job she had done. Not only that, I learned so much while reviewing her revisions it enabled me to identify the areas of my writing that can be improved upon, and I know I will become a better writer as a result. And, fortunately for me, Liz is one of those editors who charges an hourly rate rather than per word (which was a relief given I had a 150k word manuscript) so, needless to say, the £1176 I paid for the editorial polish that my book was previously lacking was definitely money well spent.
BOOK COVER ARTWORK
Once the decision was made to commit to publishing a second edition, I knew that giving The Exercise Of Vital Powers a makeover was the most pressing factor that needed to be addressed. The idea that what’s on the outside of a book is more important than what’s inside it has never made sense to me, but I reluctantly accepted I needed to ensure I had an eye-catching cover, whatever the cost.
I ended up going with Damonza.com for the task, and I’m very glad that I did so. The team were easy to work with, and very responsive to my needs. The finished product they provided was better than I was hoping for, and I can state categorically that their work has already had the desired effect. The greater interest in my book second time around is undoubtedly because of the new cover artwork, so it hasn’t been nearly as much of a struggle persuading readers to give the book a chance.
Damonza offers a handful of very cost-effective packages to choose from, and I ended up spending only £481.98 which gave me an ebook cover, a paperback cover, and the optional extra of the PSD files of the two covers. Not only was this money well spent, I consider it a bargain as I had anticipated spending considerably more than that. And, as an added bonus, for a small additional fee I can have an audiobook cover produced at a later date if and when I need it.
For whatever reason, there is an expectation that fantasy books should include maps of their settings. Because of that it was a last minute decision to pay for a couple of maps to include in my book, even though I viewed it as an unnecessary expense. I contacted cartographer, Kathryne Moody, who agreed to take on the task in the short time frame, and provided her with hand drawn sketches of my map of one region of the world my story is set in, as well as a schematic of an important location.
The job was completed within just three days, costing me £346.67. While I have no issue with the quality of the work Kate did for me, it’s hard to view the expense as money well spent. First of all, in the paperback edition of The Exercise Of Vital Powers, the two images are so small they require a magnifying glass to view in detail, meaning I need to upload them to my official website so people can see the full-sized images. Secondly, I could probably have done an adequate job of illustrating the maps myself, given time. And, finally, nothing would have been lost if I omitted the maps from book; they have no bearing on the story, whatsoever.
I decided to pay for ten paperback copies of The Exercise Of Vital Powers, to giveaway, and the printing cost of these books is £52. It goes without saying that this is very good value for money.
Although there were a few minor additional expenses (notably web hosting for my official author website, and the domain name), they weren’t directly tied to the publication of The Exercise Of Vital Powers, so I’m not including them in the final cost. In the end, having started with a budget of £2500, I spent a grand total of £2056.65 which I think is very reasonable. Admittedly, I’ve not yet recouped that investment, but the book has only been out for three weeks.
As for what I will do with the money I haven’t spent, I’m currently looking into my options in terms of advertising. Since the re-release of my book I’ve been contacted out of the blue by a number of book promoters offering their services. Obviously, I need to do my due diligence before taking anyone up on their offer.
Whether or not the outlay I made in publishing the second edition of The Exercise Of Vital Powers is reasonable or excessive can be debated. I realise that for many authors starting out in self-publishing, spending two grand to publish a book is a sizeable amount, especially when there’s little hope of making that money back quickly, or at all. But if you’re an indie author wanting to give your work the best possible chance of success, you have to be prepared to invest money into it.
That’s it for today’s post. I hope it proves helpful to those of you who are possibly considering self-publishing in the future.
Next time on lonelyboy1977: The same old, same old…all over again.
Thanks for reading,