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The Roundabout Blog

Profits, Costs, and Goals: The Publishing Price Tag

Whether publishing a book is one of your business objectives or bucket list items, cost can be a factor in realizing your goal of becoming an author. Cost is variable; just like there’s no book that will suit every reader, there’s no one-size-fits-all publishing price. The good news is, once you’ve identified your variables, you can start discovering what your costs may be.

Determine Your Profit Goals

When determining how much you’re willing to spend in the publishing process, it’s important to look at the profit you want your book to bring. That profit directly depends on how well your book sells. How well your book sells depends on its quality. That’s why professional editing, design, printing, and distribution services are the key to your book’s success.

Publishing Models (Paying To Be Published vs. Being Chosen To Be Published)

Vanity models for hobby projects can typically allow you to publish for less than $7,000 (and ebooks can be published online for nearly nothing). However most authors can expect to see less than a $1,000 return as vanity models usually only result in a few hundred copies sold. Vanity models don’t cover the cost of printing large quantities of your book, so expect to get only 20 advance reader copies (ARC) to get you started.

Traditional publishing comes at little-to-no-cost to the author, though traditional publishing success usually relies on acquiring an agent (who generally takes 15% of the author’s royalties and profits) and being selected by a publisher. Once a contract is signed with a traditional publishing house, the author has essentially sold the rights to and profits of the book to the publisher. In the end, this usually leaves the author 5-15% of the profits in royalties in return and very little control over the published book.

The Redbrush Model (You Are the Publisher)

When you work with a publishing service provider like Redbrush, you’re not paying to have your book published as with a vanity model, or selling the publishing rights as in a traditional model. Redbrush writers are the publishers of their books. As a result, when you publish with Redbrush, not only do you own all the rights to and profit from your book, the publishing costs may be tax deductible as part of your business venture.*

Publishing Costs—A Redbrush Example**

Take for an example the cost of working with Redbrush to produce a 256-page, 85,000-word book that retails at $14.95.

Publishing Costs
ISBN Cost: $295
Editing Services: $2,975
Design Services: $700
Advanced Reader Copy Printing (ARCs): $1,500
Printing Services: $4,000 (Quantity of 1,000)
Advanced Distribution Services: $900
Total: $10,370

Potential Book Sales
1,000 Books x $14.95 Suggested Retail Price = $14,950

Book Sales Profit
$14,580 based on sales of 1000 books - $10,370 = $4,580

Deducting and Distributing

With Redbrush, it’s possible to publish your book and make a profit that’s greater than what you would in other publishing models. Just as your cost is determined by your publishing model, your profits will depend on your distribution method. Redbrush encourages its authors to sell their book directly whenever possible to maximize their book profits. When books are being sold by a retailer, half or more of that profit will go to the store and not the author.

Summing Up the Sums

It’s important to keep in mind that your costs will depend on your goals and your methods–and your book’s own specifications. The goals one author has for a business book are different than the goals another author has for a family genealogy, and their publishing costs will differ accordingly.

Does Redbrush sound right for you? Take our self quiz here, or call us at 855.379.6218 for a free consultation.

*Please consult with your accountant or CPA on all tax advice.

**Though each book’s specifications will vary, we’ve done our best to offer an example of average parameters. Let Redbrush help determine the appropriate costs for your project.