The Real Cost of Self-Publishing

By Bloomberg Rankings and Nikhil Hutheesing - 2013-02-25T22:14:25Z

Photograph by Oliver Strewe/Getty Images

Company Symbol % Change
3 of 12

Covers That Pop

When Barbara Freethy commissioned an artist to create a cover for one of her romance novels, the artist sent in a cover that conveyed a lot of suspense. Problem was, the book wasn’t suspenseful. “Designers don’t always read the books before coming up with the art,” says Freethy, who started out publishing books the traditional way and now self-publishes. With an e-book, the design must “pop” as a thumbnail image, since that’s the first thing a buyer sees. These days, Freethy -- who has written 33 e-books and sold 2.7 million units since she began to self-publish her backlist and write e-books in 2011 -- designs many of her covers herself.

$200: Price Freethy paid for a book cover design (that was not used) 

$1,600: Price Julia Pandl paid for an early book cover design ($200) and interior design ($1,400).