How much I've spent in my first 5 months of self-publishing

As I approach the 2 month mark for my first self-published book, I thought it might be useful to take a look at what I've spent so far.

A lot of resources out there are focused on self-publishing on a tight budget, which is great, and I have made use of many of them. However, when it comes down to it, you will have to spend money at some point. While it is possible to do everything for absolutely zero, it takes a bit more time, since you will need to learn to do a lot of things yourself.

As a full-time working mother, even with a husband who does an equitable share of household duties, there is not much free time to devote to learning every single skill in the self-publishing wheelhouse. I also wanted to push myself to hit the publish button within a 3 months of starting to write. So I paid for some things in the interest of time and convenience.

From January until June, I have spent about 400 dollars. Some of it I consider very well spent, while other things I think were not very useful (or not yet).


The breakdown, in roughly the order of purchase:

$130 for this lovely Wix website, a domain name for one year, and privacy for the domain name - Worth it! I have a self-hosted Wordpress for my private blog and this was so much easier to set up. I'll probably change the layout several times, which is a bit fiddlier than with Wordpress, but I like the overall look and backend much better.

$47 for Scrivener - Worth it! It took a bit of getting used to, but the free trial gave me enough time to see how I could make it work for me. It also converts it into ebook formats, which is great.

$32 for a pre-made book cover from Etsy- Worth it! She was super nice and made a bunch of different colors so I could find one I was happy with.

$34 for a BooksGoSocial promotion at the end of the week my book was free - Hard to tell if it was effective, since I also posted to my personal Facebook about it, and two other sites.

$1.99 for a 7 day trial of Michael Hyatt's Platform University - Worth it to see if it was something I needed, and I ended up deciding it wasn't, not right now.

$37 for an email swipe file from Nick Stephenson - Not sure yet, since I don't have a big list or an active campaign right now. I will probably use it for ideas in the very near future.

$19 for a week of tweets in May from BooksGoSocial -Not worth it as I got zero sales. This was attempt number 2 with a lower price and 3 reviews, and while there were perhaps some "impressions" made, there was no way for me to track this.

$34 for a YAbookscentral ad and listing the book on the site - Not sure yet, but having it on the site may help in the future. There have been a few views of my book on the site, but no way to link that to any sales.

$35 to boost one of my posts on Facebook - Worth it to get a look at how the ads work and to get a few more likes and clicks to the blog. I think I targeted it pretty well, and I'll be able to use the results as a baseline for future ads/boosts.

$6.99 for Monica Leonelle's Nail Your Story book - Worth it! I will probably do a longer post on her resources, most of which are free. I have just discovered them recently and am getting a lot out of them.

$27 for the Believe, Plan, Act planner from YourWriterPlatform - Worth it! Up until now, it's been too many ideas + no organization = stress and panic! I have been using it for only two days and already feel much calmer about the month ahead.


Are these typical expenses for the first 5 months? I have no idea, since I can't seem to find many blogs giving actual numbers for newbies, just ranges for what things might cost. The few that do have more details have been useful and inspiring, but they're either a few years old, or are talking about their current figures as bestsellers. So I'm putting this out there in 2017, as a newbie indie author with almost no existing connections or knowledge in the publishing/marketing field.

One big expense most people mention is editing. I have a wonderful freelancer friend who did it for me for free, saving me about $300. I also have a friend who beta reads for me, and her friend did so as well once, which has been a huge help in terms of more structural edits.

So there you have it! What's I've spent so far in my first 5 months of self-publishing. Is this a lot? Not nearly enough? Leave me a comment below!