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How to Publish a Book for Less Than £100?



Last Updated on September 22, 2022 by Ben Oakley

Ask any published author and they may scoff at you for even considering publishing a book for less than £100.

Some authors spend upwards of £3,000 and here’s one way they spend that much.

  • Editing/proofreading: £1,000
  • Cover design: £500
  • Formatting: £500
  • Book launch: £1,000

Book launches normally fall under advertising but for first-time authors, it’s part of the process.

In fact, continuously marketing and advertising a book can run into the thousands. Which is fine if the book is selling.

Some authors are hoodwinked into vanity publishers like Austin Macauley who ask you to pay up front for the ‘privilege’ of being published. Those costs alone run upwards of £3,000.

But what if you discovered a way to publish your book for less than £100. Would you take it?

How to Publish a Book for Less Than £100?

Investing in yourself as an author

The real cost of writing comes in the hours spent writing a book.

Book one may have taken you a full four weeks to complete, working eight hours a day, five days a week.

If you’re age 22 and over, the national minimum wage is £9.50/hour (as of Sep 2022).

If you were employed in a job for four weeks, working eight hours a day, five days a week, you would earn £1,520 before any deductions.

It’s a roundabout way of saying your book needs to earn £1,520 in its lifetime to pay you for the time spent writing on it.

Writing a book in one month isn’t possible for everyone but break those hours down across a year, and the same still applies.

For example, £1,520 is the result of working 160 hours. Working on your book for one hour a day for 160 days, would be the same amount.

Of course, many writers churn out books far quicker and others far slower. The pace isn’t the topic here, it is the amount of time you spend on yourself.

Investing in yourself as an author is the first big step to understanding what you need to achieve. What comes next is your skillset.

Educating yourself and gaining knowledge

I know when I first started writing, I had no idea what an EPUB file was, or how I was ever going to output my book in that format.

Now, I could write a book on it. But I wouldn’t bore you like that, not in this post anyway!

Learning new skills as an author is one way to:

  • Save money.
  • Increase productivity.
  • Cut down on the publishing timescale.
  • Gain publishing knowledge.

Many of the skills you need to publish a book don’t involve writing at all. These include skills such as:

  • Formatting.
  • Editing.
  • Proofreading.
  • Cover design.
  • Copywriting.
  • Advertising.
  • Marketing.
  • SEO.
  • Website design.
  • Social media marketing.

By taking the time to learn these skills, you’ll not only improve production speed but also save money in the process.

Once you’ve learned the skills, the biggest outlay will be the time spent investing in yourself.

How to publish a book for less than £100?

Here’s an example of how to publish a book for less than £100 using monthly subscriptions. If you are writing full time, then producing a book a month is possible.

  • Microsoft Office 365 subscription (£5.99/month)
  • Adobe Creative Cloud Photo Suite (£19.99/month)
  • OR Pixlr (£4.99/month)
  • Book cover mock-up generator like Place-It (£11.99/month)
  • Hosting for website (£4.99/month)
  • Cloud storage (£4.99/month)
  • Free distribution accounts with KDP, Draft2Digital etc.
  • Envato Elements for all creative files* (£34.99/month)

Envato Elements includes stock photos, stock videos, music, fonts, website templates, cover mock-ups, sound effects. On average, 50,000 items are added each week.

Not convinced, check out our article on Envato Elements.

Here’s an example of how to publish a book for less than £100 using NO monthly subscriptions.

  • Free writing software like LibreOffice.
  • Pixlr free account for covers and promo images.
  • Canva free account for covers.
  • Free cover mockup generator.
  • WordPress hosting for one year (£40/year)
  • Free cloud storage.
  • Free distribution accounts with KDP, Draft2Digital etc.
  • Free stock photo sites like Pixabay or Unsplash.

The above lists do not include marketing and advertising, which if you do right can reap bigger rewards.

READ NEXT: How to Market Your Self-Published Book | 45 Steps

Here’s a checklist for publishing a book for less than £100.

  • Invest in yourself.
  • Learn new skills.
  • Practice your new skills.
  • Perfect those skills!
  • Be frugal with software subscriptions.
  • Learn where to cut corners.
  • Use free software where possible.

You don’t have to spend £3,000 to get results, you can spend less than £100.

At the end of the day, you spend on your book what you can afford. Generally, the higher price you pay, the more professional your final product will be – unless you’ve learned the skills necessary.

But even a £3,000 book might not ever recoup that outlay over its lifetime.

Many authors publish their first book using minimal to no outlay and in most cases it is acceptable.

Then, once you have a second book out, and a third, you might decide to go back and release a second edition. Either updated with all the skills you’ve learned or with the money your book has returned to you.

What’s the greatest risk to you, spending £3,000 in the hope you have a bestseller, or £100 to kickstart your publishing career?

If you’ve spent £3,000 and get £2 royalty per book, you would need to sale 1,500 copies just to break even. And only 50 copies if you’ve spent £100.

It’s easier to make back £100 than it is to recoup £3,000.

READ NEXT: How To Market Your Book Without Showing Your Face?

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!