How to Self Publish your Book on a Budget…

The Internet has created a wealth of opportunities to each and every one of us.  For some of us it is our livelihood, for others it is a source of enjoyment and knowledge.

If you are an author the Internet can boost your reach all over the world. Gone are the days when you have to send your manuscript off to dozens of publishing houses and wait patiently every day for that letter of acceptance.  You can now publish your own book and from experience it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.


When I was looking to publish a book written by a family member I initially did a lot of research online to see how I could go about it with a small budget.  The book had been in publication since 1995 but it was costing a lot to print the book which meant having to sell the book at quite a high price.  The company I decided to re-publish the book with was Completely Novel*.  The process was simple and by following some important formatting rules I only needed to order a couple of copies to proofread before it was made available to the public to buy.


Whether you want to self publish as a paperback or just an eBook then you will need to do some formatting.  I have found CreateSpace easy to use when formatting for paperback, there are various templates you can download which saves you a lot of time.  If you’re formatting for eBook, the main thing you need to remember is ‘keep it simple‘, if you have lots of fancy formatting in an eBook it’s unlikely it will convert well and all that work you put into it would have been for nothing.  Of course you could outsource the formatting, check out my very reasonable rates.


Whichever style of book you’re looking to publish, you’ll need an enticing cover.  The saying ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ is exactly what people do, I do it… if the cover isn’t up to much what reason do I have to pick up that book.  Again, this doesn’t need to be expensive. If you’re good with something like Photoshop or know someone who is, then you might be able to come up with a great cover for free. If you need to outsource the cover, then I have some fab recommendations on my Book Cover Designers page.


Some of the costs involved in self publishing are dependent on how you want your book to be marketed.  I suggest purchasing an ISBN so the book can be stocked in traditional retail and mainstream online channels.  Purchasing an ISBN through Completely Novel* (other distributors are available such as CreateSpace or Lulu) means you can purchase them individually, whereas if you self publish completely on your own you will need to purchase a batch of 10.  This is ok if you plan to write a lot of books, but for a one off, going through a company such as CN or CreateSpace means you have little initial outlay.  

Social Media

Of course you can use Facebook and Twitter to market your book, there are many author’s who use these to advertise their books, even top selling authors are using social media to generate interest for their new bestseller.  I am an avid reader so I follow many authors on Twitter, with more and more following me back, it’s a good marketing strategy.

If you have any suggestions on how you can self-publish your book on a budget, please post in the comments below.  In the meantime, check out how I can help you get published.

*When I originally published my Grandfather’s book I was very happy with Completely Novel, but have since cancelled my subscription with them and plan to re-publish through CreateSpace.


  1. Great post, Jo – full of sound advice! We publish through Completely Novel, too*.

    Twitter, and to a lesser extent Facebook, have been invaluable in forming connections with other writers, readers and bloggers. Goodreads . . . perhaps less so.

    *Was there a particular reason you moved from CN to CreateSpace? I’ll understand if you prefer not to share your reason; I just wondered. 🙂 We only have the one book with them at the moment, with the sequel in the pipeline.

    • Thanks Joanna, I find Twitter to be the best for authors and that’s how I find most of my eBook formatting clients.

      With regards to Completely Novel, their customer service isn’t great. There were long delays for one of the books I published and a client book getting it onto Amazon and we just weren’t getting answers. In the end it was down to sales anyway with my Grandfather’s book, the Kindle version was more popular and I couldn’t justify paying £14.99 a month for the few sales of the book I was getting. After using CreateSpace with a couple of clients, one of which sent me a copy of the book after publication, the quality is better than what Lightening Source produced through Completely Novel.

  2. Not all countries have the same rules for obtaining an ISBN, so be sure to do your research.
    Good information, Jo, I always gain something from your posts.

  3. I have published a few of my books through Createspace now and it has always gone smoothly. I love to hear the thud on the doormat when I receive the first copy myself and the quality is good. Formatting on CS seems quite straightforward too, but I had a nightmare with Kindle last time when I tried something new and the preview file that they provide to check your work (and the tests I did sending the .mobi file to my own Kindle keyboard and Kindle Fire) didn’t look like the finished book. I had to redo the formatting very quickly after it was published. I’m going back to my tried and tested format for the next one 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment Ana. Did you use CreateSpace to create the Kindle file? I always advise clients not to do this, to format the file separately and upload to Amazon KDP. For some reason CS doesn’t convert the file properly and there are often issues, you’d think being an Amazon company they would have that all covered, but obviously not. 🙂

      • That’s good advice. When Createspace first offered the automatic conversion to Kindle, I tried it and it was an absolute mess so I wouldn’t try that again. I usually end up with two very different files these days for CS and KDP. I use different fonts and formatting for the paperback version to give it a bit of style but there’s no point in doing that for Kindle.

        • Oh yes definitely Ana, when I format books for clients the CS version is quite a bit different to the simpler Kindle version. 🙂

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