DIY in every sense of the word

The next conundrum I’m facing is using Adobe InDesign to set up my novel ready for print. Apart from Acrobat, the only Adobe program I’ve used is a very early version of photoshop about 20 years ago (omg I feel old).

Although I wrote this novel for myself and my love of writing, it would be remiss of me to say that money isn’t a motivator. I live in Sydney, life is expensive here. I don’t have a lot of it.

I have come to notice a lot of costs involved with self publishing, so I am endeavoring to do as many of the production jobs myself. So that brings me back to the title of today’s post. So how am I going to get this book published while spending as little on it as possible, without compromising the quality?

One of the perks of being a uni student means that I get some great discounts on software. RRP for Adobe InDesign subscription is $29.99 a month, and Creative Suite $71.99. As a student, I get Creative Suite for $21.99 a month. That’s a saving already, and I can cancel at any time.

ISBN is $44 for one, of $88 for 10. Since we need a separate ISBN for each different release (paperback, ebook, hardback), it makes sense to buy 10, especially at this stage as I am looking at a trilogy.

ABN is free. It is required in Australia as being an author is considered a business.

Cover design will be tricky, as I am loudy when it comes to graphic design. I could pay $100-300 for one to be made on Fiverr. Or I could ask my ex who works in the industry. Or I can ask around my friends and see if they can make me one for $50-100. I want to have a lot of say in this step, and I have a vague idea of what I’d like.

I’m thinking I’d like a pencilled caricature of a cat that is in the story on the back of the front cover (in memory of one of my childhood cats). I have an artist friend who would probably love to do this for a reasonable price. There are also a few small embellishments that I’d like added, so I’ll need help there.

Apart from that, it looks like I’ll be learning InDesign. I have already figured out drop caps, making the document print ready, and figured out how to add my fonts. But that is as far as I’ve gotten, I have no idea how to add images yet.

One of the advantages of my degree in library science, is I know where to look for help. I found one of the inner libraries that is hosting InDesign classes. So I think I’m already feeling sick and need to have next Monday arvo off work….

Book layouts and covers are the two biggest expenses after professional editing. Editing will cost me approx $350 and includes proofreading buy this editor.

  • Editing $350
  • Book layout (InDesign) $22-66
  • Cover design $50-100
  • IngramSpark listing fee $49
  • Graphics help $25-50
  • ISBN $88

So I can get this done for roughly $600 or less. If I had to pay for people to do these for me, I’d be looking at around $1000 or more.

Why do I care so much about price if I’ll be making money from my book? Each dollar I spend, translates to more copies of the book I need to sell to break even and turn a profit. If I retail at $16.99, take out print costs and fees, I’m looking at approx $10 or less per book. So I need to sell 60 books before I start making money, compared to 100.

Remember that being an author means being a business. As much as we want to get our stories out there, we still need to be sensible and cost efficient.

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