Self-Publishing Costs on Amazon: Understanding the 6 Hidden Expenses

Self Publishing costs on Amazon

Self publishing costs on Amazon

Self-publishing on Amazon is a popular way for authors to get their work out into the world without having to go through traditional publishing routes. The process of self-publishing on Amazon can be done through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). This is Amazon’s platform for authors to publish and distribute their books. One of the key advantages of self-publishing on Amazon is that you could upload a book today without spending a penny.

However, it’s important to understand that there are hidden costs associated with self-publishing on Amazon. These can add up quickly if you’re not careful. In this article, we’ll go over these costs, so you’ve a clear understanding of what to expect before you start the process.

Editing costs

One of the first costs you’ll face when self-publishing on Amazon is for editing. No matter how well you think your book is written, it’s important to have it professionally edited. A professional editor will massively help you improve your writing. A good editor will also help you identify any errors with your grammar, improve your tone and spot any continuity errors.

If you want to sell lots of books then your writing needs to be the best it can be.

The cost of editing can vary widely depending on the length of your book and the type of editing you need. For a 50,000-word book, you can expect to pay anywhere from £300 to £1,200 for a comprehensive edit. If you want to keep your costs down, you can opt for a cheaper line edit or just a proofread instead. But it’s important to remember that this will result in a less polished final product.

Cover design costs

Another cost you’ll face when self-publishing on Amazon is for cover design. Your book’s cover is the first thing readers will see, and it’s often what will make them decide whether or not to buy your book. For this reason, it’s important to invest in a high-quality cover design that accurately reflects the content of your book.

The cost of cover design can vary widely, but you can expect to pay anywhere from £300 to £1,000 for a professional cover. If you have design skills, you can also design your own cover for free.

There are also other options such as pre-made covers to keep the costs to a minimum. I would say that if you’re going to spend any money on your book at all, then a decent cover should definitely be the priority.

Formatting costs

Once you have your book edited and your cover designed, you’ll need to format your book. Formatting can be a time-consuming and complicated process, and many authors choose to outsource this task to a professional.

I know when I was formatting my books I was ready to launch my laptop out of a window! So I’d say either use Draft 2 Digital to do it for free or invest in a professional formatter.

The cost of formatting can vary widely, but you can expect to pay anywhere from £100 to £300 for a professional format.

Marketing costs

Once your book is published on Amazon, you’ll need to market it to ensure that it reaches your ideal readers. There are a number of different marketing strategies you can use, including social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising.

The cost of marketing can vary widely. (How long is a piece of string?) But you can expect to spend anywhere from £500 to £5,000 or more on marketing your book.

If you’re on a shoe string budget, you can opt for cheaper marketing strategies. Social media marketing, email marketing and getting your book in the press are all free. So, I’d focus on these before you start throwing money into ads.

Amazon and Tiktok ads are really effective. So if you want to sell lots of books then learn the platforms and start with a small budget. Make sure you keep an eye on the ads though so it doesn’t end up costing you an arm and a leg.

ISBN costs

If you’re self-publishing on Amazon, I recommend you purchase an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for your book. An ISBN is a unique identifier that is assigned to a book, and it’s required if you want to sell your book on Amazon and other retailers.

Amazon can give you a free ISBN but this limits where you can sell your book. So you’d be restricted to only selling on Amazon which isn’t always ideal.

The cost of an ISBN is generally around £80 for one. If you plan on publishing multiple books, you can buy a block of ISBNs. This will save you money in the long run.

Self publishing costs on Amazon KDP

Finally, you need to take into account the money Amazon takes from you. I know you want to know how much you’ll get paid. Well the answer is depends on if you’re flogging an Ebook or print book.


You can choose to get 70% or 35% of your list price in royalties. You may be for the 70% and so would I, but you’re only allowed to list your book between £2.99 and £9.99 so you’ll have to consider your options.

You’ll also be charged VAT and a file delivery cost. The cost of file delivery depends on the size of your book. So if you have more pages you’ll be charged more.

Print Books

For print books you get a 60% royalty if you’re just selling on Amazon. This is again based off your list price and minus the cost of printing. Obviously the bigger the book, the more this will cost. It also depends on the type of paper you choose and any images you pop in there.

For picture book authors the cost of a book full of images is far too high. So you’ll be much better printing these outside of Amazon.

There is another option called to expanded distribution. So this is where Amazon can sell your books for you to other suppliers like Barnes and Noble, Waterstones and WHSmiths. On this plan you only receive a 40% royalty.

I would say say if you wanted to go down this route you’d be better selling your books via Ingram Sparks. They will still sell your books on Amazon but it’ll cost you an awful lot less.

Self publishing costs on Amazon, conclusion

In conclusion, self-publishing on Amazon can be an affordable way for authors to get their work out into the world. However, it’s important to understand that there are hidden costs associated with self-publishing. Editing costs, cover design costs, formatting costs, marketing costs, ISBN costs, and taxes all should be considered. By understanding these costs and budgeting accordingly, you can ensure that you’re able to self-publish your book on Amazon without breaking the bank.

Published by Andy Slinger

Andy is a best selling, award winning, children's author turned digital marketer. His expertise in book marketing is well sought after, he now helps authors to become best sellers too.

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