How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book in 2020?

Perhaps, every writer’s dream is to get their works published. Thanks to self-publishing, many authors, including yourself, now have a way to publish their works without the hassle of writing a proposal to a literary agent.

How much you’ll spend on publishing a book will depend on how much you’re willing to invest in its quality. Remember that quality sells. If you go cheap, you may end up with a book that won’t sell well.

We’ve broken down the cost to publish your book so that you’ll have an idea how much to save.


Before you publish, the manuscript must go through a series of edits first. Here are the different levels of editing.

  • Developmental editing ($3,600 – $6,000). A developmental editor will look into the entire story development and organization and spot mistakes. They’ll fix the manuscript paragraph by paragraph, scene by scene, and chapter by chapter.
  • Copy editing ($600 0 $3,000). Copy editors focus on technical errors such as verb tenses, the subject-verb agreement, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Proofreading ($600 – $1,800). Proofreading is the final checking of the manuscript. The proofreader is responsible for correcting any remaining technical errors.

Cover design

According to Rocking Book Covers, a company that provides self-publishing authors with cover designs, cover designs can range from $5 to $4,000.

  • The low-end that can work ($5 – $200). Designers here are either very raw or are just starting to build up their portfolio.
  • The middle ($250 – $600). This price range offers the best value-for-price, Rocking Book says. Designers here are fairly experienced.
  • Highest-end ($1000 and above). This is the common rate range for cover designers working with bigger publishing companies.

publishing a book


Premium materials mean more expensive production costs. For example, a small paperback children’s book will be cheaper to produce than a 500-page novel with a full-colour interior and a dust jacket.

When it comes to printing, there are factors publishers consider:

  • Format. The book format refers to the type of book (paperback or hardcover) and the interior colour (standard colour, black and white, or premium colour). Premium colour printing uses a digital colour print engine technology or laser printing that offers superior colour quality. It comes, however, with a higher price tag. Standard colour printing is the more economical choice. It uses inkjet technology, which is best for printing books with fewer images.
  • Page count. The more words the manuscript has, the more pages it will require.
  • Trim size. The trim size dictates how many words can be fit on a page and, therefore, how many pages your book will have.
  • Paperweight. This refers to the thickness of the book’s interior paper stock. The 50# paper is a standard weight, best for black-and-white or standard colour printing. Meanwhile, the 70# paper is thicker, making it a better option for colour interiors.

So if we’re going to use the Mill City Press’s calculator, the estimated cost of a 250-page, B&W paperback, 5 x 8-inch trim, softcover book will be $4.60.

Now go and make your dream of publishing your own book a reality! Remember to spend what you can to make your book as high-quality as possible.

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