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How much does self publishing cost?

Queshire

Auror
I am considering starting a kickstarter to support a new project (technically it'd be a table top rpg, not a story, but I imagine a lot of the same things apply) however in order to properly set the goals I need to know how much various things cost, which... I don't have a clue about. I would greatly appreciate any advice you guys might have. I'm currently considering a pdf, hiring someone to do the illustrations, and physical copies as various stretch goals so any advice on the rough cost of that sort of stuff would be appreciated. Also, can you guys see any other possible cost I might be missing? Again, any advice at all would be a life saver.
 

FarmerBrown

Troubadour
Kickstarter itself has a wealth of information. Search for projects similar to yours and see what their goals were, if they succeeded/failed, what they included on their project page, their rewards etc. There is a whole page on tabletop games:

https://www.kickstarter.com/discover/categories/games/tabletop games?ref=category_modal&sort=magic

Make a list of everything you need to do to accomplish your project and figure out what you can do and what you'd need to hire out. It's a very bad idea to just guess instead of getting quotes from potential partners and printing/production companies. Keep in mind Kickstarter/Stripe will take 8-10% of the money you raise, so set your minimum goal at 110% what you NEED. Also remember shipping is expensive! Digital rewards are great to keep costs low (wallpapers, digital copies of the game...) Be clear about where the money (the other reason you need to figure out your budget ahead of time) is going.

I used Kickstarter to help me finish my first book, so I'd be happy to answer specific questions. Don't launch a project before you have everything figured out and definitely get feedback on your project page before you launch!
 

FarmerBrown

Troubadour
I was getting frustrated with my pace (going on three years) so I figured I had nothing to lose by trying Kickstarter. I included living costs for a month (I took a month unpaid leave + 2 weeks paid leave off work), costs of self-publishing, rewards, and shipping. Luckily I had a lot of support from family and friends to get the word out, otherwise I doubt I'd be successful. I have a page on my Kickstarter project on my website (linked in my signature).
 
I am considering starting a kickstarter to support a new project (technically it'd be a table top rpg, not a story, but I imagine a lot of the same things apply) however in order to properly set the goals I need to know how much various things cost, which... I don't have a clue about. I would greatly appreciate any advice you guys might have. I'm currently considering a pdf, hiring someone to do the illustrations, and physical copies as various stretch goals so any advice on the rough cost of that sort of stuff would be appreciated. Also, can you guys see any other possible cost I might be missing? Again, any advice at all would be a life saver.

For my Hollow World Kickstarter I figured I would need to invest $6,000 to get the cover artists and editors I wanted...so I asked for $3,000 (half from me, and half from readers). That being said I was using the ABSOLUTE best in the business:

  • Betsy Mitchell - for structural editing (editor-in-chief at Del Rey for over a decade)
  • Marc Simonetti - for covers - who had done my big-five French covers as well as covers for Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, George R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett and many more
  • Two copy editors - one who copy edited several New York Times Bestsellers an the other who had 2 English Master degrees and been nominated for many awards

I wouldn't suggest that kind of investment - for someone who doesn't have a following. In general I think you can budget:

  • $150 - $500 for cover art
  • $350 - $700 for copy editing

Yes, you can find more expensive and less expensive alternatives - but I've gotten very good results in the past from people charging those kind of fees. - You just have to shop around.
 

PaulineMRoss

Inkling
It costs me around $1,700 apiece for each of mine, excluding marketing. That's for standard fiction with no fancy maps or artwork. That breaks down to:

Cover design: $400
Proofreading: $1,000
ISBNs, proof copies, odds and ends: $300

I don't use a structural editor (I can't justify the enormous cost), but I have a critique group and beta readers to fill that role. I do the final formatting myself.

Having said that, it is possible to put out a self-pubbed book for zero cost BUT it takes a huge amount of time and effort to ensure that the end result is comparable in quality with the best, which it has to be to do well.

Good luck with it.
 
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