Unless you choose a vanity publisher (which is a type of publisher that makes a great deal of money from many of the tasks involved for self-publishing that cost little or nothing and is targeted towards people who are naïve about the self-publishing process,) then there is every reason to go with self-publishing because the costs associated with it are minimal at worst and nonexistent in the best case scenarios. For example, you can upload your book to Amazon without spending a dime. The same goes for most of the platforms out there. However, there are some things involved with self-publishing that you should be spending your money on. Let’s take a look at each of them.
The Book Cover
Your book cover is the number one thing that you should be spending your money on, although it can cost a lot less than some of the other items listed here. Unfortunately, no matter how many times you tell people not to judge a book by its cover, they do in the literal and figurative sense. When someone sees a title listed on Amazon that looks to be in the genre that they want to read in and with a title that appeals to them, the first thing they do is look at the cover. If the cover is good, then half of your sales job is done. Some people do not even read the first few pages before they buy. There are some great cover designers out there as well as agencies like 99Designs to give you a great cover for $100-$200 or perhaps a little more.
Developmental editing is the process of going through the book and ensuring that all of the loose ends are tied up, names do not change halfway through and that each paragraph’s narrative is as tight is it can be. This is done in fiction a lot more than it is done in nonfiction. A developmental editor will go through the book and tighten up the list places and make it into a much more compelling story than it was before. It is often difficult for authors to do this, particularly right after they have finished writing a book.
Copy editing is also an important part of preparing a book for self-publication that you may want to spend the money on. Copy editors go through and look for grammar and spelling mistakes, do fact checking and make sure that there is nothing that will take readers out of the story.
Marketing is probably the most important step out of all of these and the one that you should spend the most money on. However, there is a lot of marketing that you can do that doesn’t cost anything at all. For example, you can add your signature on the official Amazon Kindle forum (Kboards) and have your book covers displayed on every post you make. But there are a lot of good and effective paid advertising opportunities as well.