What Are the Costs of Promoting A Book?

What are the costs of promoting a book?

Are you stuck wondering how much to budget for promoting and marketing your book? You’re not alone. Just looking around the internet at ways to do book promotion, it seems you could feasilby spend hundreds of dollars every month. But don’t be fooled – you  don’t have to spend a fortune marketing your book

Since here are so many ways to promote a book judging the cost is difficult. For the sake of this article, I will focus on the costs of what I believe are the most effective book promotion techniques.

Effective Book Promotion

The best ways also happen to be the least expensive if you can do the work yourself. The techniques I recommend are:

  1. Writing articles / blog posts
  2. Video
  3. Press release
  4. Social media

You’re probably not surprised by any of those. Yet, most authors look right past those methods and search instead for the ‘new’ easy way to sell thousands of books. The reality is that those hot new methods are expensive and the results are far from stellar for most people.

Why are these the methods I recommend? First, because the work. Second, because they are cost effective. Third, because they tend to stick around on the internet and work for you week after week, month after month, year after year. You simply have to do the work once and then you have a perpetual book promotion piece doing work for you for years to come.

What Is Required to Support Your Book Promotion

Using the methods outlined above as the guide for what to do I want to talk about the infrastructure you need to put those in action.

Probably the most important tool in your toolbox is a website. You can post articles, blog posts, videos, audios, and even link your social media to a website. Without getting off on a tangent here, I will say that your best off with an author website over a book website. One author can produce many books and why not leverage the traffic from your last series of book promotions to launch your next book?

The other methods don’t require the same infrastructure like a website does. However, you may find that you want professionally designed graphics for your website and other social media presences.

How Much You Can Expect to Pay

For a website you need a domain name (the address of your site) and web hosting. Plan to use WordPress for the site – which is free.

Cost for the site: $10 / year for domain; $10 / month for hosting.

Video is something you can do for free or you can expect to pay for. If you want video but don’t have the budget for it, consider using YouTube’s own video creation tools. All you have to do is log in to your Google account and set up a Channel for your videos (you can have many channels). Inside the Channel page, you’ll see options for recording slide show videos with your narrating or with a musical background.

Of course, you can pay to have video done for you. For book promotion, I do not recommend spending more than $150 on a video. You will see offers that cost as much as $3,500. You don’t need a television quality commercial. Instead, you just need to reach those people that are consuming their content through video instead of reading.

Cost: Free to $150 per video

A press release is one of the most effective tools besides your website. I place it in this list after video because many press release services will let you include a video (or link to your video trailer) in the document. The difference in cost between press release services largely has to do with the list of media contacts they have and who they will send your release to. Basically, the more you pay, the more media outlets will see your release. It is questionable whether you really get more from a book promotion standpoint for paying for a more expensive press release service.

Cost: $30 (Webwire) to $300 (PRWeb)

Social media shouldn’t cost you anything unless you want to pay to have some professionally designed graphics for your backgrounds and headers. Having a professional look is a good idea. But if you are tight on funds, try Fiverr for your design work.

Cost: Free to $100 for design work

The last cost I want to discuss is outsourcing. Not everyone has the time or desire to write articles, blog posts, and social media posts. You may be in that boat too. Don’t worry, it does not mean you will be unable to promote your book. Instead, you should plan to pay someone else to do it for you.

Cost: Articles / blog posts $60 – 100 / month for 4 – 5 articles

Social media: $50 – 75 / month for 20 + social media posts


There are dozens of ways to promote your book but if you focus your work on the core techniques of writing content for articles, blog posts, creating videos, doing a press release, and using social media, you effectively promote your book without spending a fortune.


Is Createspace Really Free?

Is Createspace really free?

I can tell you – but let me give you a few caveats first.

First, I like technology stuff and I am pretty good with Microsoft Word and websites and internet stuff.

Second, I am a bit of a do-it-yourselfer. I don’t mind giving tasks away, but I do like to know how to do it myself first so that I have some background on exactly what I should expect from people who do work for me.

Lastly, I absolutely want to produce a top quality book (or product, or whatever), but one of my great teachers in business taught me that you have to “ship”. Meaning, you have to put a date out there and then work as hard as you can to get whatever you are working on as good as it can be before that date. Then get it out there. Plan on doing a revision, or plan on looking back at your work and wishing you had done things differently.

But don’t let your quest  for perfection get in the way of getting done.

Okay, so those are the caveats and I hope they will help set the stage for my cost analysis of self publishing with Createspace.

Let me just start by giving you a number (in USD) and then I will work backwards to show you how I arrive at the number.

Total cost: $400 – 700

That isn’t so bad, is it? Oh yes, I am assuming you are writing your own book. The price of having someone ghostwrite your book for you is not factored in to this cost.

Now let me start by saying that you won’t have to pay all of that up front at one time.

And Createspace is not going to charge you a penny to publish – let me repeat that: Createspace does not charge a thing to publish your book.

Cost breakdown:

Editorial services: plan on spending anywhere from $100 to $500 on an editor. I paid $300 to Createspace to use one of their staff editors with my first book. It was totally worth it. She was professional and gave great advice.

As an example, on a later book, I paid $150 for an edit of a less complicated, smaller book I was publishing on Kindle. On a per page basis, I paid more for edits of the second book than what I paid through Createspace. And you know what? The experience was worse.  My editor ripped out a lot of what I felt was my “voice” and replaced it with hers. Plus, there were still blatant grammar problems.


If you don’t have a good recommendation for an editor, then use one through Createspace. For the money, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Overall, plan to spend around $300 on an editor.

Book cover: The book cover is monumentally important. Or is it? I completely believe it is monumental. But, like with an editor, you don’t necessarily get what you pay for. I’m not meaning to offend designers. But I think most designers would agree that the capability of the designer is the most important factor in getting a good cover. Not the price.

With that said, I like 99designs.com as an option for getting several covers to choose from. Recommendations are a great option too. Quite frankly, I have used Fiverr.com on several occasions too. On Fiverr.com, you pay $5 for a service. Guess what, there are some people who are really good book cover designers there. And there are duds too.

 Overall, the average cost for a cover is about $100. You could get one done for $5, or you could spend $300 on 99designs.com. Or anywhere between.

Formatting: Your book has to be specially formatted for print. That means choosing a book size (6×9″, 5×8″, etc) and then getting the innner, outter, and gutter margins done right.

You have to make sure your chapters and other important pages are on “right-facing” pages. You have to make sure page numbers appear in the right place. And on and on.

This work is all stuff you can do yourself. (I even put together a whole course on it).

So my cost was time when I did my first book. Even subsequent books cost time. Formatting is time consuming work. It is not a bad idea to outsource it – especially if you are not already savvy with the inner-workings of Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages.

Overall, plan to spend about $50 on getting the formatting done.

Book marketing: With editing, a cover, and formatting, you can spend less than $500. Way less if you are a bootstrapping do-it-yourselfer.

But the one cost you absolutely cannot avoid is book marketing.

Wait, you do want your book to sell, right?

So you will need to do a press release. You should promote your book via a website and Facebook and Twitter. That means you will need a website and hosting and some nice graphics to use on all these services.

I am not great with social media. So I actually hired someone to help me with posting to Facebook and Twitter. It was money well spent. I am already balding – I don’t need to lose any additional hair through stressing out about what to say on my next tweet.

Overall, the cost up front will be around $50 with web hosting, a domain name, and social media management totaling about $100 / month. A press release will cost you a minimum of $25. If you can handle the social media stuff, then that will save you $50 / month.

Now, if you don’t have this kind of money, what do I recommend you cut?

Frankly, I would say get your cover done as cheaply as possible. And figure out how to do the formatting yourself.

Covers can be replaced down the road. But the book marketing and editing? Don’t skimp on those. An editor is going to help you get your book good. Readable. Sellable.

And book marketing is what drives people to find your book and eventually buy it.

I hope that helps!


Author Website versus Book Website

My readers have asked me what I recommend between creating author websites or book websites.

Let me explain.

As a self published author, it is generally regarded that you are 20% writer and 80% marketer. That is, if you want to:

  • make a living by writing books
  • make at least $500 per book
  • Be a full time writer/author AND pay your bills

Even authors published with the major publishing houses have to get out there and market their books. They do book tours, they sit in as guests on radio shows, and on and on.

Like it or not, you will have to do a lot of marketing too. And so this question of “author website” or “book website” is an excellent one.

For most authors, a website is the basis for building your author platform (if you need to, click on author platform to learn more about it in one of my other posts).

So, which do I recommend? Why not listen and see!

Click below to listen to the audio file where I talk for a little less than 8 minutes about my recommendation.

Author website vs Book website