Self Publishing

How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Cookbook – Book Production Cost Summary (Part 7)


How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Cookbook – Book Production Cost Summary (Part 7)

When I created the budget for the High Cookery book, I considered three cost components:

Book Production – these are your fixed costs. It is the sum of expenses that get you from idea to print and/or digital. Inside this expense item, you’ll have the cost of ingredients, imagery, design, editing, and proofreading.

Inventory – this is your variable (per book) cost and it’s obviously only relevant to those of you who choose to offer printed copies of your book. Within this expense item, I add all the costs related to the creation, handling, and shipping of inventory. Other than the payment for the printing facility you should also expect import costs (if you print overseas), storage, insurance and shipping, and handling.

Business – the most ambiguous cost item of them all since it’ll guzzle up hungrily as much money as you have to spend. This item combines your marketing, operations, and distribution costs. These expenses should not be ignored when you plan your book and you’ll do best to plan ahead for that. I’ve heard of too many stories where authors only envisioned the costs of product creation and found themselves standing with a beautiful book and no real money to market it. Trust me you don’t want to be there…

As part of my decision to be extremely transparent when it relates to the story behind the High Cookery story, I’ve added this table below. The table specifies all the book production costs as detailed in the previous blog posts.

As you can see the overall book production cost came to $35,890. I honestly have no idea whether this is an exaggeratedly high price or whether I struck a bargain. That said, at least you have a data point for your reference.

This is the number to ‘beat’ in a sense. If I end up making $5 of net profit before tax (after the cost of inventory and marketing) it’ll mean I need to sell at least 7,178 books ($35,890 / $5) in order to break even. If I’m able to increase my profit margin this number will naturally go down. I will share my thought process regarding the pricing of the High Cookery book in a later blog post.

Looking at this table I definitely think I could have found more efficient ways to reduce the overall production costs. However as I was backpacking the world while creating this book, much of the work was done remotely and I felt I needed top-notch professionals whom I can trust blindly.

In the spirit of sharing the love if any of you readers are self-published authors, I encourage you to help your fellow writers and share your numbers as well so that we can all learn. I wholeheartedly invite guest posts on this matter. Please contact me if you’re interested.