Journey of publishing
Journeys of An Author

The Journey of Publishing

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What you need to do before publishing

You’ve reached the top of the mountain. You finally finished your novel. After months of hard work and dedication, you survived the treacherous journey to the summit. You’ve overcome writers’ block, lack of motivation and so much more. At last, you can appreciate the view from the top. As you stand at the peak, your eyes adjust to the blinding light of the sun. But, the fading rays of light reveal a steep, slippery slope that you must descend to complete your journey.

When I started my journey of publishing my first book, I almost fell down that slippery slope. There are a lot of unexpected costs associated with publishing that a lot of new writers are not prepared for. I did months of research to prepare for self-publishing my novel and still felt overwhelmed by the number of services required. My intention in writing this article is not to detour any new writers, but to inform them. I suggest reading on if you have finished your novel and are preparing for the next step. I will be sharing the best tools for the journey on your budget.

Your First Steps to Publishing

Analysing the lay of the land before decent is crucial. In the same vein, having a clear starting budget is important. The size of your budget depends on the services that you are planning on requesting. I had a clear budget of around £1000 when I first published and tried my best to keep to that. Unfortunately, this only allows for the barebones minimum when publishing a book. This meant I spent a lot more time attempting to do some of the essential services by myself. This prolonged the launch date and led to many difficulties. So, be sure to plan before taking your first steps. This article covers the services that you need and helps you determine your budget.


The most important service when publishing a book is the content. Thus making sure the content is properly edited is important. I implore you not attempt to do this by yourself or even have a friend do it unless they are an expert. That is not to say you should not look over your work or have a friend do it. But hiring a professional editor before publishing is key. There are a few sites that will ask if the book is professionally edited or self-edited. You don’t want to put your book at a greater disadvantage against the sea of other books. Therefore, this service is essential and should be factored into your budget.

The cost of editing varies depending on the service you choose and your word count. These are some of the usual prices you can expect to find for these services:

  • Proofreading: $0.012 per word
  • Copyediting: $0.016 per word
  • Line Editing: $0.021 per word
  • Developmental Editing: $0.04 per word

Depending on your experience these prices might seem low. But keep in mind that the standard book size is around 50 000 words. Therefore, the cost is £4450 for all the services! Most books will have much more than 50000 words.

Not everyone has access to £4450. At least I know I don’t. If you do have £4450 to spend on editing, all these services are sure to take your writing to the next level. This will make the content stand out above most others and can also help with marketing.

For those who don’t have access to the £4450, do not panic. Choose which services are essential and within your budget. Understanding what each service offers can help you make your decision.


Proofreading, the cheapest service. This service should be used after you have worked and reworked your manuscript. It should be used as the final check once you have formatted your book and got it ready for publication. This protects your credibility as an author. It prevents the readers from catching errors after you have published. Thus, you need a professional editor to proofread your final, laid-out PDF. I do not recommend only choosing this service. This should be the final step as it only checks grammatical and spelling errors.

For the standard book size of 50 000 words, this service costs:

50 000 * 0.012 = £600


A copyedit focuses on grammar, spelling and punctuation. It is most productive after an author has done significant revision. The editor focuses on perfecting the language and eliminating typos. The goal of copyediting is to ensure your book is error-free when it lands in readers’ hands. It further provides improvement to the consistency, usage and gives in-document comments.
It can also be used for writers with a smaller budget who can only afford one of the editing services. If this is your situation, I suggest using copyediting. You might want to buy proofreading alone due to it’s similarities to copyediting and lower price. But copyediting improves the consistency of your storyline and provides some much-needed comments. In my opinion, this is the best bang for the buck service available.

For the standard book size of 50 000 words, this service costs:

50 000 * 0.016 = £800

Line editing

Line editing dives deeply into a manuscript. It corrects basic writing mechanics and also strengthens higher-level elements. Therefore, line editing is best for authors looking for help with characterization, pacing, voice, dialogue and plot. I believe this is the most useful for authors with the budget to afford it. It provides the best value for the high price.

For the standard book size of 50 000 words, this service costs:

50 000 * 0.021 = £1050

Developmental editing

Developmental editing delves even more deeply, uncovering the heart of the story you want to tell and finding the best way to tell it. As a result, it’s great for authors who want to take their book to the next level. There are authors willing to make significant changes to their story in the service of telling a better story. But keep in mind this is also the most expensive service. Furthermore, some people feel they should keep the heart of the story solely to the author. If you feel this way then this service is probably not for you.

For the standard book size of 50 000 words, this service costs:

50 000 * 0.04 = £2000

Helpful Advice

Depending on the company you chose to carry out these services, the number of services you request and your word count. The prices may fluctuate. I suggest requesting a discount if you are using the same company for more than one of these services. This might save you some money that you can spend on the other tools on your journey to publishing.

I personally used a company known as Elite Authors. They are Amazon recommended and did a great job helping me complete my first publishing journey.

editing services for publishing

From the Elite authors website

Book Cover

I understand the desire to use an image off the internet for your book cover. After spending hours to find that perfect image, you edit it to fit your ideal cover and add your book title. I’ve done it. Most writers will still do it. But getting a picture from the internet will make your book look less professional and less appealing to your audience. It could also lead to some licencing and copyright issues further on. I recommend purchasing a book design service unless you feel you have skills in graphic/art design. Although I wouldn’t recommend it. It will have to be 100 per cent original which can be very time consuming and stressful. Let the professionals handle it. They understand the industry standard and you still have the final say. It saves much needed time and effort.

When choosing what book design company to go with, be sure to check their portfolio. This will be featured on their website. If their portfolio is not on their website, you can always email them and request it. Be sure to pick a company that you believe can capture your vision. Base this belief on their previous works. Not if they offer you a cheap price. It is important to make sure they have experience in the genre that your book is in. They should have a decent amount of covers in your genre but be careful that they don’t have too many. This may be a sign that they will not give your cover the care and attention it needs. Too many cover designs might mean they rush their products and don’t produce high-quality products.

Communication and budget are important. Making sure you choose a company that replies quickly to your questions and requests is key. They might not get your vision right the first time but do not panic or be afraid to critique. Tell them if you are not happy with it and continue requesting revision until you are satisfied.

Take note of your chosen company’s revision plan. Some companies don’t offer unlimited revisions and may request more payment for each revision. Other companies will offer free revisions if it doesn’t meet your vision. But will require payment if you want to add something to your initial request. This should warn you to make sure your initial request is exactly what you desire. The company might also vary prices based on whether your book is paperback or ebook or both.

This service usually ranges from £300-£500. Although there are cheaper alternatives such as Fiverr to request freelance designers. But proceed with caution if you decide to use these services. You get what you pay for.


The cost to purchase an ISBN varies depending on where you live. In the Uk, the cost is about £89 for one ISBN number (not including the barcodes). Keep in mind that you will require 2 ISBN numbers for your paperback and ebook separately. It would be cheaper to bulk buy ISBN numbers. This depends on your budget and whether you’re planning on writing multiple books. The options are:

ISBN prices when publishing

There are tricks you could use to prevent buying 10 ISBN numbers if you wish to publish one novel in paperback and ebook. The strategy I used was purchasing the single ISBN number for my eBook. This allows you to sell on multiple websites, reaching a wider audience. For the paperback, I used Amazon’s free ISBN number. This should be used if you plan on only getting your book printed by Amazon. The Amazon free ISBN can not be used on websites other than Amazon. This means sites like IngramSpark and other paperback publishers can not be used. Unless they offer a free ISBN as well but do not attach multiple ISBN numbers to the same book. This makes it harder to find and causes issues in the future.

Keep in mind that some countries government offer free ISBN numbers such as Canada. So be sure to check if your country’s government offers a free ISBN. Please do not purchase an ISBN from a ‘shady’ website as this can lead to problems about ownership in the future.

If you require a barcode on your book cover, the company you choose for your cover will do this upon request. If not, Amazon can print the barcode unto the paperback. DO NOT tick the option below and Amazon will add the barcode for you.

YA Fantasy Mystery book by Z.T. Soyoye publishing setup

Note: I have ticked it because the company that made my cover added the barcode for me.

Book Interior

This service formats your book to the industry-standard. Using a catalogue of options, you can choose additional features to make your book stand out. This can help give your book the tone of your genre. I did not pay for this service so can not offer too much information on my experiences. It is an important step but I prioritised the other three services. This meant having to watch numerous videos to learn how to format. This process was very time consuming and prolonged the release date. Manage your budget to take this service into account to save time and effort.

This service is usually around £350 – £400 for the simple interior formatting.


These are the four main cost associated with self-publishing. There are a lot more that can help produce a final, polished version of your story. It depends on your budget and dedication. I advise a budget of around £1000 to cover a majority of the services. If you’re on a tight budget, prioritise the essential services and attempt the others. You can still make a polished version on a modest budget. For those planning on purchasing all the services, a full package can be anywhere from £5000 – £10000! So be prepared.

I hope this was helpful to any writers about to start their journey. Hopefully, these costly services didn’t demotivate you. Publishing a book is an amazing experience, one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Once everything is done, safely at the bottom of the hill, you can admire the journey that you’ve completed. It will be worth the view.

But what about the walk home?

I’ll soon cover the tips to marketing where I’ll show that the walk home is a marathon, not a sprint.

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Telling stories has always been a passion of mine, and being able to publish a book has been one of my greatest achievements. Turning my passion for telling stories into a career as an Author has been one of my significant accomplishments. Since 2016, I’ve been constantly educating myself with new ideas and challenging myself with different writing techniques in order to provide the most immersive experience to my readers.


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