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Self-publishing is when an author produces, refines and promotes their book all on their own, without a publisher of any kind doing the work. That means we pay for the aforementioned right out of our own bank accounts.

With that in mind, it is wise to include self-publishing to our budget and project a savings goals if we decide self-publishing is the best way for us to release our book(s).

I’m almost obsessed with budgeting and have been for many years. I monitor ever dollar I make or spend, which I think is a good thing because it helps me to be fiscally responsible and not run into financial problems too often. So when it comes to saving up for releasing my next book, I am as mindful of my self-publishing column in my budget spreadsheet as all the other columns.

Click here for original image on Flickr

Click here for original image on Flickr

So, I am here to give you my advice on how to set and achieve the financial goals needed for your book. Some of this may seem obvious to some, but I figured it would be good to share with those who are exploring this kind of option.

Like all budgets, make a list of what you need in order to get what you want. Self-publishing your book makes you an entrepreneur. You alone are responsible to sell your book. So what do you need?

1) First and foremost, an editor: No matter how good or polished you think your book is, it still needs an editor. Find one that has a good reputation and won’t take your money and do lousy job. You would also have to find someone who charges what you are willing to spend. If you are willing to spend $1000, go for it. If your limit is $500, go for that. There are editors who are charging reasonable rates, so no need to go bankrupt.

2) A graphic designer: Unless you are really talented in making cover designs, do not do this yourself. Readers know a lousy cover job and since your cover is your biggest marketing tactic, do not fail here. Again, find a designer whose rates are good enough for you. You might even find one who charges $100. Just do your research and make sure that person does a good job and your money would be well spent.

3) Copyrighting: Make sure you get your work copyrighted. It cost me $135 and its worth it. You wouldn’t want anyone stealing your work. If by chance you find your book somewhere with someone else’s name on it and they’re making money off your product, with a copyright, you will more easily get to sue them like mad.

4) Promotions: Now this is where the money part gets more open. The question here is what are you willing to do to spread the word about your book, and are you willing to pay anything? I made the mistake of paying others to help promote my book  and learned it may not help much. So do your research. You would probably need to pay for a blog tour, and that would depend on who you use and how many days you want. You may want to hire someone to make a book trailer. You may want to use an ad somewhere. Think about how you want to reach your target audience and then decide if you want to spend the money doing it.

Now here’s another question that is on your mind: how do you get the money to pay for all this? If you’ve self-published before, you can gear your royalties toward the next book. You can set aside a few bucks per paycheck. Or you find other ways, such as side writing jobs, tutoring jobs or even selling your old stuff on eBay. If you are committed to self-publishing your work, you will be committed to financing it.