A close look at my self-publishing budget for the first 6 months.

I thought I’d take a good look at how much I’ve invested so far on my self-publishing adventure. Keeping in mind that I’m currently working on two projects, have published one (with Holly), and have two others that I’ll be self-publishing under a pen name in the next week or so (a book of short stories, and a longer work that I mentioned in a previous post), I feel like I haven’t gone too far overboard in terms of my budget. There are tons of options in the indie-publishing world when it comes to paying for services and assistance, and there is certainly the option to go it alone and do it all yourself to keep the overhead as low as possible. Most conventional wisdom argues for putting some money into your work so that it’s as professional as possible, and I chose formatting and cover design as the two areas that I really wanted to invest in off the top. Here’s a realistic breakdown of what it’s been like for me to get things off the ground in the first six months:

WordPress domain/web address: $26.00 (to get a blog set up and get a website address)

WordPress premium theme: $75.00 (I didn’t find a free WordPress theme that I liked as much as this one, so I purchased it to spruce up my blog)

Book cover design: $365 (this includes $245 for cover design for the first two books in the series that Holly and I are working on, and the other $120 was for the purchase of three pre-made covers that I bought before finding the cover designer that Holly and I are using–those covers are being used for the things I write on my own)

Professional formatting: $159.80 ($79.90 was to format Iris for publication on both Smashwords and Kindle, $29.95 was to format my book of short stories for Kindle only, and $49.95 went to formatting my other YA novel for Kindle only)

Various books on self-publishing: $33.95

Scrivener (a writing program that helps with layout, outlining, and general formatting): $44.99

Grand total spent since February 2015: $704.74

I’ve sold just a handful of books via Smashwords, with the bulk of sales through Amazon (which I expected). I had the exciting experience of receiving my first direct deposit through Amazon at the end of July, but because of the way that Amazon does their payments, it was only for sales made during a small window of time. So (drumroll please), my first royalty check was for three dollars and forty-eight cents! *rainbow-colored confetti falls from the sky* Actually, it was pretty cool to make money of any kind, and because I’ve sold more books over the summer, I know that when Amazon pays out on that time frame, there will be more coming my way. Right now I’m honestly looking at this as a fun hobby, and as something that I plan to keep chipping away at long-term, so the investment really doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve spent more money on things that have been far less fulfilling than this, so I don’t mind at all that I’ve shelled out for something with no guarantee of a return on my investment.

With summer ending, I don’t feel like I’ll have as much time and energy to devote to writing, but I fully intend to keep working on the projects that I currently have going. This has been far too rewarding on a personal level to let it fall by the wayside, but it’s going to take some serious planning and time-management to fit it in around my day job when school starts again. In fact, it’s been so enjoyable for me that I’m planning on incorporating a lot of creative writing with my juniors and seniors (sorry, future students–you will be writing this year!), which will hopefully keep me focused on my own work. I hate to think of the summer ending, but teachers go back in two weeks, so it’s time to wrap up some projects and look ahead to early fall mornings, grading papers in the evenings, homework with my middle-schooler, and crockpot dinners before swim practice (with writing squeezed in there somewhere!)

Bring on the fall–I’m ready for it!

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