By Morgan Mackey
“The Real Cost of Self-Publishing” is an ongoing blog where we ask independently published authors to break down his or her expenses, in order to give others an idea of the costs involved in creating a successful book. Today, we talk to Diann Logan, author of “The Navel Diaries: How I Lost My Belly Button and Found Myself.”
As Logan realized that she was getting older and that her sense of purpose was changing, she became inspired to write her book. If she were going through this transition, she felt, other people must be, too. Logan’s memoir tells the story of how she came to terms with her changing body and the transition to life as a mature woman.
This is Logan’s first memoir. She is working on a second, Dear Navel Diary, Are you Listening, which is expected to be released in early 2017.
The author lives in Arvada, CO, with her husband. She holds a bachelor’s degree and masters degree from the University of Colorado Denver in Communication and is also on the faculty of the Communication Department at CU Denver.
Logan has sold roughly 300 copies of her book in print and ebook formats combined since its release in July 2015. Below, she shares her breakdown of costs to publish this book. (Numbers are rounded.)
Logan worked with a local hybrid publisher (meaning a publisher authors work with, in partnership, to produce the book) who did all the content editing, copyediting, interior design and cover design.
Proof copy: $30
Before the book went to the printer, the author ordered a proof copy that showed what the book would look like when published. After reading through this copy, she and her editor found a few errors they had missed in the copyediting phase. She notes that ordering a proof copy was the best thing she did during the publishing process.
Logan used the company BookBaby to produce the print and ebook versions of her memoir. She paid a base fee of $200-300 and then paid $2.60 for each copy of the printed book, a price she and her publisher negotiated. She initially ordered 100 printed copies of the book and then an additional 100 copies. She paid separately for shipping the printed copies, which roughly cost $60-70.
She commissioned a professional to design her website. It cost $1,500 to build the site, and she pays a monthly fee of $23 to maintain the website.
In order to establish credibility for the book, Logan paid for professional reviews from BlueInk Review and Kirkus. She wanted readers to know that even though she’s a first-time author, they could take a chance on her book. Each professional review provided that opportunity, she notes. This cost between $800-$900.
Logan also paid between $50-$100 in entry fees to literary contests, which she entered to gain further validation for her book, “There’s always the chance that the book will win an award, and that would be super—it’s also a good thing for potential readers in terms of credibility. The personal reward of entering isn’t as tangible, but it’s about affirmation, letting yourself know that you and the book belong in the literary world…,” Logan said.
She also notes that she spent a large amount of time marketing her book to bookstores. The Navel Diaries is sold in various bookstores throughout the Denver metro area, including Tattered Cover, Book Bar, City Stacks, and Local Editions. Logan personally coordinated with each store and worked out a consignment price and gave each bookstore copies of her book to sell. This type of marketing didn’t cost her anything monetarily, but authors should understand, she notes, that this process is costly in its time-consuming nature.
Logan didn’t do any publicity for her book because she learned after the book was released that publicity should be done prior to the release date. For her upcoming book, she is working with a publicist prior to the book being published.
The Bottom Line: $8,430
In the end, Logan spent roughly $8,430 on independently publishing her book. After her experience, she offers this advice for others planning to self-publish:
- She recommends that writers always order a proof copy before going to press.
- Logan believes professional help makes a difference. “Don’t skimp on an editor or cover designer. You absolutely must hire a professional editor.”
- She also suggests authors hire a publicist before the book comes out.
BlueInk Review offers credible and unbiased reviews of self-published books exclusively. Visit us at www.blueinkreview.com. If you’d like to receive more blogs like this, straight to your inbox, sign up here.
Morgan Mackey is a student at University of Colorado Denver, studying Communication. She is BlueInk Review’s summer 2016 intern.