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A Guide: Prepare Financially for Your Book

A Guide: Prepare Financially for Your Book 

As a first-time author, it’s part of the process to wonder how to prepare financially for your book.

And while I’m sure you’d much rather focus on the creative process, and  the excitement of this milestone, it’s really important to prepare financially to ensure a smooth and successful publishing experience.

In this blog post, I’ll provide you with the necessary information to navigate the financial aspects of your book journey.

We’ll explore how to prepare financially for your book – whether you choose to self-publish, or work with a publisher in some capacity. And I’ll flag the optional investments you can make and the adjustments to your work and business you might need to consider. 

By understanding these financial considerations, you can confidently approach your publishing journey and make informed decisions that align with your goals.

Let’s get started!

Prepare Financially for your Book Proposal Phase

Let’s start at the beginning – when you’re brainstorming ideas and putting your book proposal together. 

This critical stage in your book journey presents an opportunity to invest in the support you need to bring your vision to life and put together a professional and competitive proposal. 

I highly recommend seeking out some level of support, and you have options!

Editor /  Book Coach

You can choose to work with an editor or a book coach to get invaluable personal guidance and expertise. These professionals can help you refine your ideas, structure your proposal, act as a sounding board, and ensure its quality. 

The benefits are thought-partnership, personalized attention and accountability–and someone to guide you through your specific challenges.

Digital Course / Group Program

Another less expensive route is to take a digital course or join a group coaching program to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to develop your book effectively.

This approach comes with teaching, and community with other writers. Some programs also offer some personalized support and attention.

When deciding how to move forward, it’s essential to remember that the financial investment in this phase should align with your specific needs and preferences. 

I recommend assessing your working style, budget, and the level of assistance you want to make an informed decision about the financial investment you’re comfortable making at this stage.

But I will share this from my experience: investing in the right support during the idea generation and book proposal phase allows you to lay a strong foundation for your book. 

The expertise, feedback, and guidance you receive can significantly enhance the quality and marketability of your work. 

But ultimately, deciding how much to invest in this phase should align with your goals, resources, and the level of support you believe will best serve your book project.

Next, let’s look at how to prepare financially for your book with different publishing models.

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You can join me for my monthly Aspiring Authors Assembly where I answer all book-related questions and share insight into what’s working now. Click here to attend (it’s free.)

Prepare Financially for Different Publishing Models

As you progress in your book journey, it’s crucial to consider the financial implications of the different publishing models available to you.

Each publishing path – self-publishing, hybrid publishing, and traditional publishing – presents unique financial considerations.

Let’s dive into these options in more detail.


Self-publishing gives you complete control over your book’s production and distribution. However, it also means taking on the financial responsibilities associated with the entire process.

Here’s what you need to consider: 

a. Editorial support costs:

When self-publishing, investing in professional editorial support is advisable to ensure your book is polished and well-received by readers. 

This can include services such as copy editing, developmental editing, and even ghostwriting. 

b. Design investments:

Unless you’re exceptionally talented at design, you’ll likely need to invest in a designer to create interior pages and create an eye-catching cover. 

The cost will vary depending on the complexity and scope of the project. 

Finding affordable options is possible, but it’s essential to prioritize quality to make a positive impression on potential readers.

c. Promotional support expenses:

When self-publishing, you’re responsible for promoting your book completely. 

If you don’t have the time to plan and execute social media management, public relations, or writing marketing materials, you may want to hire a professional. 

Additionally, you may need to invest in building a website or landing page to promote your book and collect email addresses. 

The costs for promotional support can vary widely based on your specific strategies and goals.

Hybrid publishing:

Hybrid publishing offers a middle ground between self-publishing and traditional publishing. 

With this model, you work with a publisher who provides various services, but you also contribute financially to the process.

Hybrid publishers typically offer editorial services, design assistance, distribution options, printing services and promotional support as part of their packages. 

These services can range from $20,000 to $55,000, depending on the specific services you choose to include, but you can customize the package based on your budget.

Traditional publishing:

Traditional publishing involves partnering with a publishing house that handles most aspects of publishing, including editorial work, design, distribution, and marketing. 

However, investments still need to be made, just like self-publishing and hybrid publishing.

Here’s how it breaks down.

a. Advances and payment timeline

In traditional publishing, authors are typically paid an advance against royalties. 

This advance is negotiated between the publisher and your agent, and agreed upon signing the contract. The advance is paid to you, typically, in 3 installments. The first installment is paid at contract signing, the second at acceptance of your manuscript, and the third on, or shortly, after publication day.

However, it’s important to note that the timeline for securing the contract and receiving the first advance payment can be lengthy. 

Delays can occur even after you’ve submitted your manuscript and undergone various rounds of edits. 

So, it’s crucial to prepare financially and manage your expectations in case there are potential delays in payment.

I often tell my clients that book advances cannot be seen as a replacement of your income. Meaning: don’t expect to live off of it. There are too many variables.

  1. Marketing and promotional expenses

Contrary to popular belief, authors in traditional publishing still bear significant responsibility for marketing and promotion. 

While the publisher provides support, authors are expected to contribute about 70% of the marketing efforts. 

Therefore, it’s essential to set aside a portion of your advance or budget for promotional activities, including hiring PR agencies, investing in social media campaigns, creating marketing assets, and more. 

Budgeting around $30,000 for promotional support is a common range to consider.

  1. Editorial Support

Many times, as part of your publishing contract, or after an editor has reviewed some of your writing within the manuscript, they may suggest you hire outside editorial support–at your own expense. 

The cost ranges based on the type of support you need and how much work needs to be done.

Even if publishers don’t make that request, authors will often hire outside writing support, an editor or ghostwriter to assist them with their manuscript. 

About 75% of authors with traditional publishing deals still opt for external editorial support, whether it’s for gaining another set of eyes, ensuring accountability, or refining their writing.

As we wrap up, regardless of your chosen publishing path, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate the associated costs and consider the necessary investments. That way, you can be confident that you’re creating a high-quality book that effectively represents your vision and reaches your target audience.

Summary: Financial Considerations 

Throughout your book journey, it’s essential to maintain a comprehensive view of the financial aspects involved. 

You can navigate the process more effectively by considering the overall financial implications and making informed decisions. 

Here are some key financial considerations and recommendations to help you along the way:

Smart financial planning:

Approach your book project with a clear financial plan in mind. Consider your current financial situation and determine how much you can comfortably invest in your book, such as editorial support, design, and promotion. 

Setting a budget and sticking to it will help you make responsible financial decisions throughout the process.

Adjusting business commitments:

If you have a business or client-based work, be prepared to make adjustments to accommodate your book project. 

Writing a book takes a lot of dedicated time and energy. Consider whether you can reduce your client load or adjust your business commitments to allow for focused writing and editing. 

Also look at your business calendar for the next year or two and decide what changes have to be made around product or program launches, team member hiring, etc.

Planning and communicating with your clients or colleagues can help manage expectations and ensure a smooth transition.

Understanding payment timelines:

For authors pursuing traditional publishing, it’s crucial to be aware of the potentially lengthy payment timelines associated with advances and contract finalization. 

While you may have agreed upon the terms of the deal and begun the writing process, the actual payment may take time to materialize. Prepare for this by having some savings or alternative sources of income to support yourself during this period.

Investing in promotion:

Regardless of your chosen publishing model, investing in effective book promotion is vital. 

Allocating funds for PR agencies, social media campaigns, marketing assets, and other promotional activities can significantly enhance your book’s visibility and sales potential. 

Consider budgeting around $20,000 to $30,000 for promotional support, but be sure to tailor your investments to align with your specific goals and target audience.

Seeking support and guidance:

As you’ve probably realized, the financials of writing a book have many moving parts! 

So, don’t hesitate to reach out for support and guidance regarding how to prepare financially for this significant project.

Consult with professionals, such as book coaches or financial advisors, who can provide valuable insights and help you make informed decisions. 

Talking to people and seeking clarification on any financial aspects that may be unclear or challenging will help alleviate concerns and ensure you are on the right track.

Scrappy promotional options:

While I mentioned earlier that investing in promotional support is crucial, it’s worth noting that more affordable options are available. 

For example, if hiring a full-service PR agency is beyond your budget, you can hire someone specifically to secure podcast appearances. 

If social media is your jam – and where your readers are – you can seek out a part-time social media manager.

This targeted approach can be more cost-effective, typically from $5,000 to $10,000. 

Remember, the key is to be resourceful and find strategies that align with your goals and budget.

Prepare Financially For Your Book: Final Thoughts

In conclusion, staying flexible and open-minded as you prepare financially for your book is essential. 

From the idea generation and book proposal phase to the different publishing models and overall financial planning, understanding the financial landscape enables you to make informed decisions and allocate resources effectively.

Investing in the necessary support that aligns with your budget, such as working with editors and book coaches, or taking courses, lays a strong foundation for your book. 

I hope this post has given you insight into the often murky world of book finances. 

The money talk is not to discourage you from pursuing your book dreams but rather to help you approach the financial aspects of your journey with awareness and preparedness. 

Needless to say, there are A LOT of moving parts and important questions that come up in the book process. I love answering these questions and offering the insight I’ve gained over my long career in publishing. 

If you have a question about writing a book, I invite you to join me for my monthly training and Q&A discussion called the Aspiring Authors Assembly. It’s FREE and you can register here

All questions on every topic are welcome!

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