If you are wondering how much it costs to self-publish an ebook, this is for you. I will talk about the bare minimum investment needed to make an ebook, and then some of the things you might want to invest in to maximize your success.
The Absolute Minimum Cost of Creating an Ebook – $0
Yes, you can really make an ebook for nothing. All you really need is a Word document (I’m not going to include the costs of a computer here, but in theory you could even create your ebook on a public computer at the library or something). Once you’ve written the ebook as a document, you just convert it to a PDF, which can also be done for free online. This is the absolute bare minimum cost of creating an ebook.
Once the ebook is created, you will need a way of sending it out to people who order online. Again, this can be free. You could send out the ebook manually via email to anyone who buys it.
But you probably don’t want to send an email yourself each time you get an order. That would get exhausting pretty quickly. Instead, you can pay the $5 for a service like E-junkie, a “product fulfillment website.” When someone makes a purchase, it sends out the ebook to them automatically.
You’ll also need a way to process payments. If you use PayPal, then this too could be free. But standard PayPal isn’t exactly the easiest thing for your customers. Instead, I’d opt for PayPal Pro, which costs $30 per month. I also would highly suggest it or look into other credit card processors that charge you a percentage, just to give your customers a little bit more options in how they can pay you.
What I currently use is Paypal + Stripe (both integrated with Ontraport) because I like to have two options for my readers, but when I first started I just used Ejunkie + Paypal and it was a great low cost way to get started.
The Cost of Writing a Pro-Level Ebook
Again, I want to emphasize that an ebook could be created and published for virtually no cost, and that is one of the reasons I love ebooks as a passive form of income so much. But, if you’ve been watching my videos and reading my blogs, then you know that I am a fan of outsourcing errrrything. I outsource every little thing that I don’t need to be doing myself. See these posts on delegation skills, and which tasks to outsource to your assistant.
Yes, it does cost more money – but the investment pays off. Quickly! Not only do you get results faster (and income faster!), but you save yourself a lot of time. And time is your most valuable asset. Trust me.
Here are the key aspects of creating a professional ebook that you might want to consider outsourcing:
For all of these, if you're not ready to invest in “going pro” just yet, you could also consider just launching your DIY ebook, and as soon as the sales start coming in, re-invest in sprucing things up and send out the more “pro” version to your customers that already purchased as well.
Costs of Professional Ebook Design
I think that ebook design is super important (more on ebook design and packaging here). Now, design is not something that I am interested in learning, nor would it be worth it to me to spend the incredible amount of time it takes to get good at design. Instead, I outsource design.
The design of your ebook should reflect the content you’ve put in it. If you’ve spent a lot of time creating an amazing ebook, don’t sell yourself short with a bad design. A well designed ebook can sell at a higher price more easily (in other words, you can charge more money for the ebook). When the ebook cover is nicely done, it will sell better. So the investment in design really pays off.
Costs of a Professional Ebook Sales Page
You will need to create a sales page for your ebook. If you aren’t a good sales copywriter (which requires a different skill set than the writing the content for an ebook), then you should really consider outsourcing this task. For me, it has been a very worthwhile investment because sales increase when the sales copy is done well.
My first sales page, I (painstakingly and slowly) wrote myself. It took forever. As soon as I hired a copywriter to re-write it and a designer to make it look pretty, sales rapidly increased. I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner (and for not tracking conversions so I could gauge just how quickly they paid for themselves).
Costs of Ebook Payment Processing
As I mentioned before, you could sell your ebook with just PayPal and just pay 2.9% (give or take as this sometimes changes and depends on volume of sales). But, not all of your customers have (nor want to sign up for) PayPal. At the very least, consider PayPal Pro because it will allow customers to pay with a credit card, even if they don’t have a PayPal account.
Now, I’ve upgraded and use a combination of Stripe and PayPal with Ontraport. There are hundreds of different ways you could process payments depending on your needs and budget.
So How Much Money Do You Really Need to Self-Publish an Ebook?
To answer the question, you don't need a penny to create and sell an ebook – really! But you will need to roll up your sleeves and carve out the time to get it done. The key ingredients are making the decision and having the determination to get it done. Decide how much your time is worth and then determine whether it is worth it to do it yourself, or whether it is worth it to invest in help and tools.
If you're ready to learn more about how YOU can create an ebook that sells really well, download my FREE cheat sheet: The 6 Steps to Create Passive Income with Ebooks.