Indie publishing can be a very expensive venture. From editors to cover designers, each step takes money that you may not have.
One route to compensate for that is to go traditional and have your publisher pay for everything out of pocket. This can be long and strenuous, especially when your chance to see your book with a publisher is slim.
If you’re reading this, then you’re one of the few who want to have full control of your writing. From the time you write the first word to the moment you hit publish.
The costs to publish that book can vary greatly based on who you choose to work with. Shoestring budgets might include creating your covers or doing basic editing in word. This isn’t what I’m here to tell you. We’re going to do this professionally and in a way that you can afford your books.
1. Trade services
Are you good at something? You can manage another author’s ads in exchange for their services.
Not only is this a great way to save and get something free for your work, but it also means you’re networking. Wouldn’t you want to have that name in your pocket later on down the road? Maybe they’ll get bigger than they currently are and so you can continue working with them as you grow too. Many cover designers book up almost a year in advance. If you designer you provided services for turns to this, being close friends with them early on might land you better time slots on future work.
2. Hire New Service Providers
This isn’t to say hire someone who does horrible editing or designs covers that look like they were made in paint.
Many designers do amazing work while being a fraction of the cost of other popular designers. Sometimes they aren’t underpricing as much as you believe either.
Here are a few cover designers that I recommend if you want something more affordable:
Editing can also be done at a bit more affordable rate. However, make sure who you hire is an editor who knows what they are doing. When you want to hire an editor, have them perform a simple sample page for you. While cover designers can showcase their quality, you may not always know the quality of editors right away.
You should also avoid friends or family members editing your work. Too often those close to you will end up with lower quality work to avoid offending you, or may not be as good as you thought they would be.
A great way to save with an editor is beta readers. When you have enough beta readers that can catch grammar issues, this will end up creating an extremely clean copy for you to publish and they can help with story structure too.
3. Newsletter Swaps
There are plenty of ways to showcase your book on a paid newsletter like BookBub, but they get pricey. Instead, save your money and join different Facebook groups dedicated to trading swaps in newsletters. Authors are always looking to trade swaps so their books can be shared with new audiences.
If you have a little extra money, places like StoryOrigin or BookFunnel are other options for around $10 per month. These allow you to swap newsletters and join book fairs with others to advertise your lead magnet book and your books for sale to each other’s audiences.
4. Freelance Work
While this isn’t a way to save money for your next book while on a budget, it is still a way to get funds for your next book.
If you’re great at writing fiction, there are plenty of places such as Upwork, LinkedIn, and Fiverr that you can join. Many people are out there looking to hire others to ghostwrite their books. Or if you like writing non-fiction, blogging or copywriting is also in demand.
There are plenty of other services available out there that you can do to earn some extra funds by freelancing and funneling them into your books.
5. Other Ways To Save Money For Your Next Book While On A Budget
While these all are ways you can save while directly publishing, there are plenty of other options as well.
Saving money comes in other forms including budgeting your regular funds. If you grocery shop for your household, check out a few different apps that give you cashback with every purchase.
My favorites include ibotta and Fetch.
Ibotta works by you selecting specific brands that you might purchase every time you grocery shop. Once you’ve selected them, you’ll scan your receipt and it provides cash back for the purchase. Once you’ve gained around $20, you can redeem it for any gift cards or other purchases you would like.
Fetch works in a similar way. However, unlike with ibotta, you don’t need to preselect the brands. Just scan your receipts and whether you bought something that earns points or not, you will still get 25 points per purchase. After you’ve collected enough points they can be redeemed for gift cards. Bonus, you can scan more than grocery receipts. Restaurants or other stores are also options.
To get 4,000 points to start your journey on fetch (you only need 1,000 more points after that to get a $5 gift card!) you can use my referral link to sign up. I also get about 4,000 points when you sign up and scan your first receipt.
How do these help you if you can’t send funds to your bank or PayPal? Because as authors we also buy books all the time or go shopping for other stuff. That money you spent on Amazon with the gift card can now be used toward your publishing goals. Just set it aside and watch it add up.
There are so many other ways you can save when publishing your next book, but these are my top favorites and what I use every day to save for my next book. My current author expenses are around $75 per month and these methods help cull the amount I need to spend. They allow me to focus less on how I will pay for my author career going forward.
Once my book sales reach a point to pay for all these services, I will likely still use them because they’re so easy. I might increase my budget on cover designs, but freelance work and using apps to scan my receipts will remain my bread and butter.
Do you have ways that you save that aren’t cutting corners to DIY? I would love to hear about them in the comments!