If I had 10p every time I was asked this question, I wouldn’t need to work!
The answer’s simple: it depends.
There are a few factors that make answering this question tricky, so here are the main factors that determine the cost:*
- Number of words
- How well you write
- What stage you’re at with your book
- If you have an idea for a cover
- Any elements you may already have for the cover (e.g. pictures, photographs, paintings or sketches)
Number of words
This is the main cost factor.
The more words in the book, the more it’ll cost to produce. This is not only in terms of the time side of things but also for typesetting, page count and printing.
How well you write
This will also impact the cost of the copy-edit. If you write proficiently and your book has gone through several self-edits and/or beta readers, then this will have a knock-on effect for your quote. The better it is before the copy-editor gets to work, the less it’ll cost for the copy-edit.
What stage you’re at with your book
As stated previously, if you’ve gone through a rigorous self-edit, had beta readers and got your draft in the best possible shape (including making sure any speech is punctuated and formatted correctly), this will also be reflected in your quote.
If you have an idea for your cover
Getting your cover right is critical for helping your book to sell. Unfortunately, people really do judge a book by its cover, so if you already have a good idea for a cover or any specific image in mind, then this will help with the cover design. The typesetter or cover designer will then pull these ideas into a professional-looking product.
Any elements you already have for the cover
Something else that can add a further cost to your project is using images or stock photography. So if you have any that are suitable (and by that I mean in the right orientation and at the right size [dpi]), then this will help to keep costs down.
Okay, now you know what the various elements are that contribute to cost, so let’s look at what they could be.
This is where a copy-editor looks at your sentence structure, your tenses and general readability. This is also the most expensive part. Expect to pay from £13 per 1,000 words.
This is where the proofreader reads your book after it’s been laid out and picks up any remaining spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes. Expect to pay from £9 per 1,000 words.
This is where your book’s laid out in proper book format, with the correct margins, ready for either print or uploading to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
Expect to pay from £375 (for up to 50k words) and as much as £850 (if around 100k words), but usually this is dependent on the final word count.
As discussed previously, this does depend on the brief and whether images are supplied. Expect to pay from £195.
This estimate is so difficult to gauge as it really depends on how many pages your book will have, what size you require it to be and how many you want. I can’t give a ballpark figure for this. Amazon KDP’s free – as in, there’s no upfront cost – but it does take 60% of the cover price in commission, plus a printing fee.
KDP and Amazon
You may wish to publish your book through KDP Amazon POD (Print on demand) – this will require you to set up a KDP account. If you do this yourself, it’s free. You will need to have all of your files exported to the KDP guidelines.
KDP upload service
I offer a KDP upload service and account creation. This is £89 and it’s done over Zoom.
If you want your book converted into a Kindle version, then allow 50p per finished typeset page.
As you can see, there are many factors that determine the cost of editing and typesetting a book. The most accurate way to calculate this is for you to send me a sample of your work, with any ideas for your cover, and then wait for a tailored quote.
Something else to bear in mind is time. Editing and typesetting a book isn’t a quick process, and to make sure it’s done properly, expected to allow at least four months from submission for this to be completed.
Do get in touch if you have any questions or if you need help with editing or typesetting your manuscript.
* This article assumes that you’re getting a copy-edit, a proofread and typesetting for you book. This includes a full cover, with pic and ISBN, so you can sell it online.
The prices quoted in this article are all the minimum they’re from and can vary depending on the writer’s ability. They’re also based on the editors The Book Refinery works with. Other editors may cost more or less, depending on their own pricing structure.