How Much Does It Cost to Publish an Ebook: A Professional Guide

Venturing into the realm of ebook publishing provides writers with a direct path to their readers, avoiding the obstacles often encountered in traditional publishing. This approach affords greater control over artistic output, but it also comes with its own set of expenses.

From formatting and design to the nuances of marketing, understanding these expenses is crucial for anyone stepping into the ebook world. Whether opting for professional services or managing tasks in-house, each choice impacts the overall investment.

In this article, we will dive into the details of ebook publishing costs, providing a comprehensive guide for upcoming authors.

We are also going to discuss some modern alternative ebook creation methods that can help save time and financial resources.

Quick Overview of Costs:

Cost Category Cost Range Description
Formatting (Professional) $50 – $300 Cost for hiring a professional for ebook formatting.
Formatting (DIY Tools) Free – Varies Using free or paid DIY tools for formatting.
Cover Design (Professional) $50 – $500 Hiring a designer for a custom ebook cover.
Cover Design (DIY Tools) Free – Varies Using tools like Canva, and Adobe Spark for cover design.
ISBN Acquisition $125 – $575 per ISBN Cost for acquiring a unique ISBN number.
Distribution (Self) Minimal to Free Uploading ebook to online retailers by the author.
Distribution (Platforms) $49 – $249 (Service Fee) Using a third-party service for distribution.
Marketing (Paid) Varies Running ads on social media, and promotion websites.
Marketing (Free) Free – Minimal Utilizing social media, email marketing, and author platform.
Editing Services $0.01 – $0.05 per word Professional editing of the eBook’s content.
Proofreading Services $0.01 – $0.03 per word Checking for errors or typos in the final draft.
Legal Fees Varies Fees for copyright or legal consultations.
Writing (Hiring a Writer) $500 – $45,000 Cost for a ghostwriter or freelance writer.
Writing (Self-Writing) Cost of Time & Effort Includes editing, proofreading, and design efforts.

Disclaimer: The costs outlined in this table above are general estimates and can vary significantly based on the specific type of ebook, the resources hired for its creation, and the author’s level of creativity and resourcefulness.

Understanding Ebook Publishing

Publishing an ebook has become a popular way for authors to get their work out to the public.

Unlike traditional publishing, ebook publishing allows authors to bypass the gatekeepers of the publishing industry and have more control over their work.

Before publishing an ebook, it’s important to understand the process and the associated costs. The cost of publishing an ebook varies depending on several factors, such as formatting, cover design, editing, and marketing.

One cost that authors need to consider is the cost of formatting an ebook. Formatting an ebook involves converting the manuscript into a format that can be read on an ebook reader.

This can be done using free tools or by hiring a professional formatter. While free tools are available, they may not produce the best results, and authors may need to spend time learning how to use them. Hiring a professional formatter can cost anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on the complexity of the book’s layout.

Another cost to consider is the cost of cover design. A book’s cover is the first thing that readers see, and it’s important to make a good first impression.

Authors can design their own covers using free tools, or hire a professional designer. A professional cover designer can cost anywhere from $50 to $500, depending on the complexity of the design.

Finally, authors need to consider the cost of marketing their ebooks. While ebooks can be published for free, getting the word out about the book can be a challenge.

Authors can promote their books on social media, through book review sites, or by running ads. The cost of marketing can vary widely, depending on the author’s goals and the methods used.

The Ebook Writing Costs:

The Ebook Writing Costs

The cost of ebook writing can vary depending on which writing route you will take.

Hiring a Writer

For those who do not have the time or skills to write their own ebook, hiring a writer is a viable option. The cost of hiring a writer varies depending on their experience, the length of the ebook, and the complexity of the topic.

According to Author Imprints, hiring a ghostwriter can cost around $1.25 per word. For a 36,000-word ebook, this would cost $45,000.

However, there are other options available such as hiring a freelance writer, which can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for a 50,000-word ebook, according to Kindlepreneur.

Self-Writing Costs

Self-writing an ebook is a cost-effective option for those who have the time and skills to do so. However, there are still costs associated with self-writing. These include:

  • Editing and Proofreading: It is important to have an editor and proofreader review the ebook to ensure it is error-free and polished. The cost of editing and proofreading services varies depending on the length of the ebook and the level of editing required. For instance, professional ebook editing company BookBaby charges $20 per page for editing and proofreading.
  • Book Cover Design: A professional book cover design can make a significant impact on the success of an ebook. The cost of book cover design varies depending on the designer and the complexity of the design. According to, the cost of a book cover design can range from $200 to $1,500. For example, book publishing company charges $497 for a custom ebook cover design.
  • Formatting: Formatting an ebook for different devices can be time-consuming and requires technical skills. The cost of formatting an ebook varies depending on the complexity of the design. According to Author Imprints, the cost of formatting an ebook can range from $200 to $1,500.

The cost of writing and publishing an ebook can vary depending on the route taken. Hiring a writer can be expensive, but it ensures a polished and professional product. Self-writing an ebook can save money, but it requires time and effort.

Discover: 101 Ebook Writing Ideas

Ebook Formatting Costs

When it comes to formatting an ebook, authors have two options: hiring a professional formatting service or using DIY formatting tools.

Professional Formatting Services

Professional formatting services can be expensive, but they can also ensure that your ebook looks professional and is compatible with various devices and platforms.

The cost of professional formatting services can range from $100 to $500, depending on the complexity of the ebook and the level of customization required. Some popular professional formatting services include the already mentioned Ebook Launch and BookBaby.

DIY Formatting Tools

DIY formatting tools can be a more affordable option for authors who are comfortable with technology and have the time to learn how to format an ebook themselves.

There are several free and paid DIY formatting tools available, such as Calibre, Draft2Digital, and Reedsy. While DIY formatting tools can save authors money, they can also be time-consuming and may not produce the same level of quality as professional formatting services.

Cover Design Costs

ebook Cover Design Costs

When it comes to designing an eye-catching cover for your ebook, you have two options: hiring a professional designer or using DIY design tools.

Professional Design Services

If you’re looking for a professional and polished look, hiring a designer is the way to go. Professional designers can create a custom cover that perfectly captures the essence of your book.

However, this option can be expensive. According to Self Publishing School, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1,500 for a professional cover design. The cost varies based on the designer’s experience, the complexity of the design, and the number of revisions you request.

DIY Design Tools

If you’re on a tight budget, DIY design tools are a great option. Many websites offer easy-to-use tools that allow you to design your own cover.

Some popular options include Canva, Adobe Spark, and BookBrush. These tools offer a variety of templates and design elements to help you create a professional-looking cover. The cost of using these tools varies, but many offer a free version with limited features, as well as paid plans with more advanced options.

Learn: How To Design an Ebook Cover

ISBN Acquisition Costs

Acquiring an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is an essential step in publishing an eBook. An ISBN is a unique identifier that distinguishes a book from other publications and is required by most retailers.

The cost of acquiring an ISBN varies depending on the country and the number of ISBNs purchased. In the United States, Bowker is the official ISBN agency, and they offer a single ISBN for $125, 10 ISBNs for $295, or 100 ISBNs for $575.

It’s worth noting that some eBook publishing platforms, such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, provide free ISBNs to authors who publish through their platform. However, using a free ISBN may limit the author’s ability to distribute their eBook through other retailers.

Distribution Costs

Publishing an ebook requires some distribution costs. The way the ebook is distributed affects the cost and royalties received by the author.

There are two main ways to distribute an ebook: self-distribution and distribution through platforms.

Self-Distribution Costs

Self-distribution involves the author uploading the ebook to online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iBooks.

The cost of self-distribution is minimal, with most retailers offering free publishing services. However, the author is responsible for marketing the ebook and promoting it to potential readers.

This can be done through social media, book blogs, and other online channels.

Distribution Through Platforms

Distribution through platforms involves using a third-party distributor to distribute the ebook to multiple retailers.

This can save time and effort for the author, as the distributor takes care of the formatting, distribution, and marketing of the ebook.

However, this comes at a cost. The distributor usually takes a percentage of the royalties earned by the author, ranging from 10% to 30%.

Some popular ebook distribution platforms include Draft2Digital, Smashwords, and BookBaby. These platforms charge a fee for their services, ranging from $49 to $249. The fee depends on the services offered, such as formatting, cover design, and marketing.

Marketing and Promotion Costs

ebook Marketing and Promotion Costs

Marketing and promotion costs for an ebook can vary greatly depending on the strategies used.

Authors should consider using a combination of paid and free marketing strategies to increase the visibility of their ebook and attract potential readers.

Paid Marketing Strategies

Marketing and promotion play a crucial role in the success of an ebook. Paid marketing strategies can help to increase the visibility of an ebook and attract potential readers. There are several paid marketing strategies that an author can use to promote their ebook.

One of the most common paid marketing strategies is running ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

These platforms offer targeted advertising options that can help authors reach their ideal audience. The cost of running ads on social media platforms varies depending on the platform, the target audience, and the duration of the ad campaign.

Another paid marketing strategy is using book promotion websites. These websites promote ebooks to their subscribers and followers, and some of them offer paid promotion options. The cost of using book promotion websites varies depending on the website and the promotion option chosen.

Free Marketing Strategies

In addition to paid marketing strategies, there are several free marketing strategies that an author can use to promote their ebook. These strategies can be just as effective as paid strategies, but they require more time and effort.

One of the most effective free marketing strategies is building an author platform. An author platform includes a website, blog, and social media profiles. By building an author platform, an author can attract potential readers and build a loyal following.

Another free marketing strategy (or almost free) is using email marketing. Email marketing involves building an email list of potential readers and sending them regular newsletters and updates about the author’s ebook. This strategy can help authors build a relationship with their readers and increase the chances of their ebook being shared with others.

Additional Potential Costs

When publishing an ebook, there are additional potential costs to consider beyond the initial publishing expenses. These costs can vary depending on the author’s needs and the book’s complexity.

In this section, we will explore three of the most common additional costs: editing services, proofreading services, and legal fees.

Editing Services

Editing is a crucial step in the ebook publishing process. An editor can help improve the book’s overall quality by fixing grammatical errors, improving sentence structure, and ensuring consistency in tone and style.

Many authors opt to hire a professional editor, which can cost anywhere from $0.01 to $0.05 per word, depending on the level of editing required.

Proofreading Services

Proofreading is the final step in the editing process and involves checking for any errors or typos that may have been missed. While some authors may choose to proofread their own work, many opt to hire a professional proofreader to ensure that their ebook is error-free. Proofreading services typically cost between $0.01 and $0.03 per word.

Legal Fees

Authors may also incur legal fees when publishing an ebook. For example, if an author is using copyrighted material in their book, they may need to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Additionally, authors may need to register their copyright or obtain an ISBN number. Legal fees can vary widely depending on the author’s needs and the complexity of the legal issues involved.

It is recommended that authors consult with a legal professional to determine the specific legal requirements for their ebook and to obtain an estimate of the associated costs.

Alternative Ways To Create Ebooks:

Besides traditional ebook creation methods, there are a few shortcuts you can take to speed up the entire process and save a lot of money.

Using AI To Writer Ebooks

Leveraging AI technology for ebook creation offers a quick and cost-effective solution.

AI writing tools like Sudowrite and Novel AI, designed for creative writing, or Jasper for more general content, can generate high-quality drafts rapidly.

These tools employ advanced machine learning algorithms to produce content that aligns with the author’s input. The major advantages of using AI include its incredible speed and cost-effectiveness.

However, it’s important to note that while AI can provide a strong starting point, its outputs may still require human oversight for nuances of style and content accuracy.

The content might lack a personal touch or depth that only a human writer can bring, necessitating some degree of editing and refinement.

Explore the best free AI book writing tools

Using Done-For-You (PLR) Ebooks

Another approach is using PLR (Private Label Rights) ebooks, which provide a solid starting point for content creation. PLR ebooks are often short and can be modified and expanded upon to suit specific needs.

They offer a quick way to jumpstart the ebook creation process, especially useful for authors looking to cover trending topics or produce content rapidly.

The main advantage here is time efficiency, authors can quickly adapt existing works instead of starting from scratch.

However, it’s important to be mindful of the potential drawbacks. The quality of PLR content can be varied, and since these materials are not unique, there’s a risk of encountering similar content elsewhere.

Authors should focus on significantly customizing and enriching the PLR material to ensure originality and to align the content with their unique voice and brand.

Check out the best sites to get PLR ebooks


In conclusion, publishing an eBook can be a cost-effective way to get your work out to a wide audience. The total cost of publishing an eBook varies depending on the quality of the final product and the amount of marketing you do.

If you are on a tight budget, you can get away with paying as little as $5 per hour for an inexperienced editor, but you may have to accept less-than-perfect work. However, if you want a high-quality final product, you should expect to pay between $10 and $15 per hour for an experienced editor.

Additionally, the cost of self-publishing changes with different genres. For instance, publishing a romance novel may cost more than publishing a non-fiction book. Therefore, it is essential to research the market and understand the costs involved before embarking on the publishing journey.