How Much of a Budget Will You Need
to Write & Publish Your Book?

It’s hard to estimate the budget needed to write, publish, and promote a book because there are so many variables. You can invest anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000 or even more depending on your platform, budget, and intentions.

But based on my experience with 28 books to date, I can give you a general idea of what to expect.

Here are the components you’ll need to budget for:

Ghostwriting

My average client can expect to invest about $30,000 to have me write your book for you.

This is based on producing a high-quality book of between 200 and 250 pages.

My fee is based on word count, and this estimate puts your book at about 40,000 words.

Project Management

You have three primary options for publishing your book:

  1. Self-publish it yourself on a tight budget.
  2. Try to get a traditional publisher to publish it for you.
  3. Self-publish but hire me to manage the publishing process for you.

Most of my clients choose the third option. They don’t know how to manage the publishing process themselves, and getting a traditional publisher is extremely difficult.

My project management fee is an additional $2,500. This includes me shepherding your book through the entire process: editing, graphic design, interior layout, and printing.

Editing

It doesn’t matter how good your book ghostwriter is, you always want an editor (or multiple editors) to analyze your manuscript with a fresh perspective.

There are four general stages of editing: developmental, substantive, copyediting, and proofreading.

If you have me write your book for you, you’ll only need light copyediting and proofreading.

If you’re on a tight budget, you may just want to have family and friends read your manuscript. If you have a budget, you can expect to invest about $500 – $1,000 for a good editor.

Cover Design

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” may be a good saying for people, but it doesn’t work for books.

People absolutely do judge your book by its cover, and if you don’t invest in quality graphic design, you’ll send the message to potential readers that your book isn’t worth reading.

You can expect to invest anywhere from $800 to $1,200 to get a high-quality cover design for your book.

Interior Layout

Interior layout is the process of taking the raw manuscript from a Word document and formatting it for print.

This is a difficult and time-consuming process and requires a professional, experienced book designer.

You can expect to invest anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for professional interior layout.

Printing

Printing is a tough estimate to pin down because there are so many variables including trim size, page count, hardcover versus paperback, black-and-white or color, print quantity, etc.

For a hardcover book with a dust jacket, to print 1,000 copies you can expect to invest $7 or $8 per book. If you bump up the quantity to 2,500, that may go down to $5 or $6 per book.

For a paperback book, to print 1,000 copies you’ll probably be between $4 and $5 per book. At a quantity of 2,500, you may drop to $2 to $3 per book.

Total Estimated Budget

Click the tabs below to see three different estimated budget examples. Note that these examples don’t include any marketing or promotion at all, which is a whole different ballgame.

Assumptions:

  • 30,000-word book
  • 5″ x 8″ paperback, 180 pages
  • Self-publishing with me as your project manager
  • Printing 1,000 copies

Ghostwriting Fee: $25,000
Project Management Fee: $2,500
Editing: $600
Cover Design: $800
Interior Layout: $1,500
Printing: $4,000 ($4 per copy)

Total Investment: $34,400

Assumptions:

  • 40,000-word book
  • 6″ x 9″ hardcover with dust jacket, 225 pages
  • Self-publishing with me as your project manager
  • Printing 1,000 copies

Ghostwriting Fee: $30,000
Project Management Fee: $2,500
Editing: $1,000
Cover Design: $1,200
Interior Layout: $2,500
Printing: $7,000 ($7 per copy)

Total Investment: $44,200

Assumptions:

  • 55,000-word book
  • 6″ x 9″ hardcover with dust jacket, 250 pages
  • Publishing with a hybrid publisher (such as Greenleaf Book Group, with whom I’ve worked on four books), with me as your project manager
  • Printing 3,000 copies

Ghostwriting Fee: $41,250
Project Management Fee: $2,500
Editing: $5,000
Cover Design: $3,500
Interior Layout: $4,000
Compliance Package: $1,100
Printing: $11,010.00 ($3.67 per copy)

Total Investment: $68,360

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“Stephen has been more than a writer for me — he has been a partner. He captures my voice and puts it into writing in ways that I simply cannot…without him our book probably would not have become a New York Times bestseller…”

Garrett Gunderson

Founder, Wealth Factory

“Stephen is far more than a writer. He is a top-notch thinker, a dedicated learner, a sincere idealist, and a good man. This is precisely what makes him perfectly suited for writing and editing high-level, leadership-oriented content that challenges the status quo.”

Oliver DeMille

Author, Speaker, Educator, Thomas Jefferson Education

“Stephen is a man of integrity and is insightful, wise, unbelievably well-read, a good man, and talented beyond belief. He just gets it. Stephen is absolutely amazing as both a writer and as a human being.”

Michael Bunting

Executive Trainer, Speaker, Author, The Mindful Leader