So there's been a lot of newbies asking for advice lately and even going to the extent of asking for money to help fund their publishing of their first book. I had already said previously that I will not fund another author's work as I worked my ass off to be where I am today and so should everyone else. This is our DREAMS. Dream's don't come easily. You have to work at them to make them happen. If you want them to happen, you'll do whatever it takes to earn your own money to make it. Take on an extra job, save those pennies, it might take you a month, it might take you a year, it may take three years! But this is YOUR dream.
So let's talk money. Some of these gofund me accounts state prices to certain things that they'll need and some of the prices listed blow my mind away. I'm not sure where they got the prices from but i'm going to share to you MY experience.
First, DO YOUR RESEARCH. When I mean do your research befriend a few authors you may like. Most enjoy talking to people. When I say talking to people, I don't mean a mass message that's impersonal and you're just asking to "Like" their page and see where it goes from there. Introduce yourself, tell them your situation, be nice and act like your talking to one of your friends. Just don't present yourself as a sales person, we've all been there! Google your questions, do any kind of reading on articles of self publishing. A lot of articles can be really helpful.
Second, pricing. A lot of costs can be cut down by doing A LOT of the work yourself. Youtube has videos and tutorials of LOTS of things. I know many of my author friends make their own covers and are fabulous by learning how to on youtube. It's for some people and not for others, I understand that. But if you're really hard on money, it's worth a shot. There are also formatting tutorials etc. I've paid a range of prices from my first book to my latest. It's all about WHO you feel comfortable working with. If you're willing to pay their price for the work they do. Or maybe you're paying them for something you feel you could have done yourself. It's your opinion and HOW YOU WANT IT. So keep that in mind when looking for someone.
Editors. Most editors will do a first chapter or first 5 to 10 pages of editing for free to give you a sample of their work. Take it and examine it. If you don't understand things, ASK questions. Ask your friends, ask someone who may be familiar with it. There is always someone willing to help out. I recommend for your first book that you find an editor who will do a developmental edit. They'll edit for grammar, punctuation, word flow, repeativeness, etc. They also comment on the development of your story if there are any inconsistencies or something that isn't needed or maybe some areas that need improvement. It's worth the comments on your first book to give you an idea of what you're doing overall. Do remember that YOU are in control here. You don't have to agree with anything they say, afterall it's your manuscript. It's your book and you're going to want it how you want it. They're just there to offer their advice and help. Editors range anywhere from 0.005 to 0.009 cents per WORD. So in your word document get a word count of your book and take out your calculater. If you have a 50,000 word book multiply it by the price. Most want something upfront or half upfront half at the end. They're all different but usually more than willing to work with you. Again, shop around. Take advantage of working with someone you may feel comfortable with. Ask around at your local college for people who may want to help edit in english classes. Editors are important. Unless you're supreme with your editing skills, I feel they are really important. There are some sites you can use that find a lot of errors but aren't perfect either. You pay for the site it's called grammarly.com
Cover Artists. This ranges SO much. Some authors do personal photo shoots with models they've chosen to be on their cover. It can be a bit pricey. You'll want to contact the photographer's and talk with them about pricing. Whether you find a picture they already have taken that you love or want your own personal shoot. Ask, they love business! You can also find stock photo sites that you can easily google, stock pictures and see what sites come up. Do note, whatever picture you get off a stock photo site is NOT exclusive to just you. Someone can easily purchase the same picture and you can easily run into having your cover duplicated. To find a cover artist to make those pictures unique are key. Price from what i've seen range anywhere from $50-$250 for ebook AND paperback. Some lovely people have premade covers available so they may be cheaper to purchase. But again, look around, covers are so important to your book. They're someone's first impression and face to your story. Make it perfect! Again, if you want to cut costs, picmonkey.com is an easy photo editing site to try to make your own covers.
Formatting. Your book NEEDS to be formatted for ebook devices and createspace (paperback). They can be easily learned through tutorials on createspace.com and simply google. Many people know how to do this and offer easy affordable pricing. I've seen anywhere from $50-$150. But again, easily learnable.
I believe those are your THREE necessities in getting your book published. There are many platforms to put your book on. Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, Kobo, Itunes, Smashwords and more. Most have all different requirements on formatting so be sure to check each site on specifics. Amazon KDP is where you set up your book for sale. Createspace is where you go to get your book in your actual hands printed in paperback. They may be other places to get them printed but i've heard createspace being the best. Again just my opinion.
Now, there are many different things you can chose from that are "extras" to get your book noticed. We call it marketing. Obviously it's what YOU want to do to get your name out there. I'm just going t name a few things that can help.
First. Get on any and ALL social media you can. Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google Plus, etc. Make your author pages. Put as much information as you can. Even create a website or a blog to keep updated. I use blogger. Some use wordpress or godaddy.com to create their own personal website. Whatever works for you. Just get your name out there.
Blog tours. I've seen them cost anywhere from $50-100. Where some people get $600 i'm not even going to ask because that's ridiculous. A blog tour is simply blogs signing up to promote your book on a given date and or dates. They either sign up to review it, just promo post on their social media or host you on their blogs or page for the day doing interviews, etc. They aren't necessary and helps some people. A lot of times you'll get people to sign up and not do their part. Be prepared for that.
You can do sales blitz release day blitz. All simliar with one another and not expensive. Not necessary but all what you feel is right for you and your book.
Street teams. Create a group gather some people who either have read your book, or wanting to read it badly who are willing to help you share teasers you can make, or links on release day. Just know that whatever you post online is online for anyone to see. Be careful what you say anywhere in any group or any page.
Newsletters. Mailchimp is popular to use. You can get people to sign up with their emails and you can send out a monthly update on you and your books. Or however often you wish, just be sure not to spam people!
A lot of these can be free of charge as well if you do them yourself.
SWAG. You may be interested in ordering swag such as bookmarks, buttons, etc. These can be handed out in places such as your library, or friends and family to get the word of mouth spreading. I use gotprint.com I believe you can 1,000 bookmarks for ehhh $35 plus shipping maybe? I'm estimating a guess. There is also vistaprint.com to order swag from. Easy ways in creating them yourself.
I hope this was informational and helpful to get you started. Please know so much goes into making a book and getting your name out there. By NO means is this process easy. You have to work really hard and you will get frustrated but never give up if it's truly what you want. I'm always willing to help people out especially since i've been there before. If you have any questions don't hesistate to ask. We're a community to help each other. We're all trying to reach the same goals. I'm sure I missed a ton but this was just a start.