Apologies to Oscar Wilde for butchering, “What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” (Lady Windermere’s Fan).

I’ve been reading a worthwhile series of posts by Joel Friedlander on the cost of self-publishing. If you’re starting down the path of publishing your own book you may find Joel’s perspective helpful.

My only caution is that I believe Joel’s cost estimates are extremely low, detrimentally so. Authors need to accept that sometimes if they want a job done well they must pay well.

Here are a couple of examples from Joel’s post:

  • Editing, $700-1,500. Quality of manuscript dependent, more like $3000-$5000.
  • Design, $200–500. Internal type spec and cover, $1500+.
  • Proofing, $300–400. More like $800 on a ‘standard’ trade paperback of c. 224-256pp.

This isn’t a criticism of Joel or his math. In fact, he probably has a post on the way in his evolving series addressing some of these concerns. But I have seen authors burnt badly, and regularly, by engaging so-called professionals who really don’t know what they’re doing. The author ends up paying twice, and then some.

And a tip to the wise, follow Joel on Twitter @JFbookman.