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Opening Quote  

For the last quote of the last chapter in the book, I selected a classic: It's a Wonderful Life (1946). No man is a failure who has friends.

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Cost of Writing a Book

Many people wonder how much it costs to write and self-publish a book. Obviously, that may vary from book to book. It also depends on your own skills: what do you outsource; what do you do yourself? In any case, this is what I spent (taxes included where applicable):

Phase Work Detail Original price Price in Euro
Development phase Developmental Editor I didn't hire one, but I consider hiring one the next time I write a book.
Writing I did all the writing myself.
Reviewing All my reviewers read the book on a voluntary basis while I was writing it.
Finding a literary agent / publisher I tried doing this on my own, but I failed; no one was interested in publishing my book. It's their loss.
Production Phase Copy Editor $1,150.00 €958.00
Legal review   €3.201,66
Photographer Photo shoot   €150.00
Post-processing   €50.00
Production Title, subtitle, blurb, quotes review £50.00 €55.00
Cover design £50.00 €55.00
Typesetting print and eBook £800.00 €927.00
Proofreading £850.00 €985.00
Marketing Website I created my own website
Social Media I'm doing my own social media campaign
E-mail campaign I did my own email-campaign
Printing Proofread copies hardcover (2 copies + shipping)   €60.44
paperback (1 copy + shipping)   €12.97
Submitting for publication I submitted the book on the Global Retail Network, Amazon KDP, Kobo, and Draft2Digital myself
Author copies Hardcover (50 copies + shipping + import taxes)   €599.76
Paperback (50 copies + shipping)   €305.55
Distribution Package material (50 boxes)   €20.99
Stamps (enough for sending 16 books in Belgium)   €198.00

That's an investment of about 7,500 euro (about $9,000), of which the biggest cost was the legal review—I'm sure not everyone will need such a review, but given the topics I discuss I wanted a lawyer to vet the text. To break even, I have to sell about 1,500 and 2,000 copies. The revenue per copy depends on different factors: the version (eBook, paperback, hardcover), the channel (Global Retail, Amazon, Kobo, Draft2Digital), and the region (for instance, Amazon grants a 70% royalty on eBooks in some regions, but only 35% in other regions). I don't have any sales results yet, but I'll publish them on my personal blog after the book has been out for a month or so.

Publishing a book isn't always that expensive. I self-published another book in Dutch, Gebeten, doing all the work myself:

Phase Work Detail Price in Euro
Development phase Development & writing I developed and wrote the book on my own.
Reviewing All my reviewers read the book on a voluntary basis while I was writing it.
Production Phase Legal review This was done pro bono by the lawyer we engaged to sue a shareholder
Photographer I used photos from my private collection
Production I created the PDF myself using Word and the eBook using Calibre
Marketing Website I didn't create a website for the book
Social Media / email campaign I didn't do much effort to promote the book
Printing Proofread copy 1 copy €33.00
50 copies April 2020 €518.14
50 copies May 2020 €518.14
50 copies May 2020 €518.14
50 copies June 2020 €519.84
10 copies May 2021 €176.96
Distribution As the book was in Dutch, and my audience was limited to Belgium (Flanders) and The Netherlands, I decided to handle the distribution myself. I took all the orders, prepared the packages, and brought them to the postal office.
Package material €61.17
Stamps / shipping €847.69

That's about €3,200 euro ($3,840) for 210 books. I sold books for a net amount of about €4,200 euro ($5,050). In other words: I made a profit of €1,000 euro ($1,200) with Gebeten.

Book Quotes  

  • After reading the Dutch version of this book, many readers asked me, “If you could do everything over, are there things that you would do differently?” I don’t have to think twice about an answer. Of course, I would!
  • Then again, the journey might have been less exciting. Without the obstacles and setbacks Ingeborg and I had to overcome, our success might not have been as satisfying.
  • We have made mistakes and bad things happened to us. We did some things right and good things happened to us. There wasn’t always a clear cause and effect relationship between doing well and being rewarded, nor between the errors we made and the less pleasant episodes in our lives. We did the best we could, and when we look back, the balance is positive. We have no regrets.

Soundtrack for this Chapter  

I listen to music, but my taste in music is questionable. I've selected a handful of songs for every chapters. Sometimes, there's a link to the chapter, sometimes I just like the song.

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