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Want to be a Thought Leader? Publish a Branding Book – Here’s the Bottom-Line Cost

Want to be a Thought Leader? Publish a Branding Book - Here’s the Bottom-Line Cost

By: Scott Lorenz
Westwind Book Marketing

Have you been thinking about publishing a book for your personal brand or business? A strategized memoir or business book can elevate your authority and be a lead-generating machine for your speaking, consulting, or course offers. Today anyone can publish a book for next to nothing. But take it from a book marketer, just because it’s published doesn’t mean it’ll elevate your business.

On average, a self-published book costs around $2,000 to publish. But most of those books sell less than 100 copies. Wouldn’t you like your book to do better than that?

For the people I work with, investing in a professional book is a no-brainer. Speakers and business leaders see their books as a career investment, and it makes sense to consult the experts to get the best ROI.

“If you want to exponentially grow your opportunities as a consultant, speaker, investor, or leader, it’s time to get published,” says Marie Hasty. She’s a concierge ghostwriter for clinicians and medical entrepreneurs, and she loves helping her clients elevate their careers with a professional book. “These projects aren’t cheap. But investing in just one book can impact the rest of your life – your business, your personal brand, and your legacy.”

How much can you expect to invest if you want to put together a professional book for your brand? Here’s a breakdown of the cost of publishing a branding book today.

Publishing cost is different for every project. But understanding the rough cost for each step in the publishing process will help you make the best decision for your book (and your wallet). Let’s break down the book-building process into four categories: pre-publication, publication, marketing, and distribution.

Pre-Publication Expenses

Professional book development lays the foundation for an impactful branding book. As a book publicist and publishing expert, I can’t stress enough the importance of investing in the following areas to ensure your book’s quality and resonance with your audience.

1. Book Concept and Development

The first step in publishing your branding book is refining your concept and developing a well-structured outline. If you’re working with a ghostwriter or book consultant, they’ll help you with this. You’ll also need to get clear on your goals for the book, your audience, and the key stories you want to tell during this stage. Here’s a list of ghostwriters I like to work with: Ghostwriters

Ghostwriter: $20,000-$100,000+

Book Coach or Consultant: $1,000-$3,000 per month

2. Professional Editing and Proofreading

Editing is an indispensable aspect of publishing, as it ensures that your writing is polished, error-free, and ready for public consumption. Investing in professional editing and proofreading services will significantly improve the quality and credibility of your branding book. Skilled editors will help refine your content, improve flow, and ensure consistency for your readers.

Depending on the publishing route you choose, editing may be included in your publishing package.

Developmental Editing: $1,500-$5,000 per project

Line/Copy Editing: $1,500-$3,000 per project

Proofreading: $800-$1,000 per project

3. Book Cover Design

Don’t underestimate the power of a visually striking book cover. Despite what we’ve been told,  your readers are judging your book by its cover. A good book cover can help sell a book – a bad cover can kill a book. Enlisting professional designers to create a compelling book cover that aligns with your branding visuals is well worth the investment. Here’s a list of Book Cover Designers I’ve compiled.

Book Cover Design: $200-$2,000

Publication Costs

The cost of publishing your book will depend on the publishing route you choose. Today, there are three main ways that authors are published: Traditional, hybrid, and self-publishing. For many authors, traditional publishing is not an option. But hybrid and self-publishing routes are rapidly gaining traction for authors who are able to invest in their book’s development and printing. Let’s compare the costs of each publishing method.

1. Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishing through big firms has significant advantages in that it won’t cost you anything to have your book edited, designed, and printed. Some authors even get advances on their book, although these aren’t what they used to be (think: less than $5,000).

However, there are still costs associated with traditional publishing. You’ll need to work with a literary agent, put together a book proposal, do most or all of the marketing yourself, and likely foot the bill on travel for a book tour. Check out my article with interviews from 18 literary agents about what they want from authors. What Literary Agents Want

Literary Agent: 10-15% of advances and royalties

Ghostwritten Book Proposal: $5,000-$15,000

Book Tour Expenses: $3,000-$20,000+

2. Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing has come a long way in the last decade, and several big authors have turned to this method as a way to keep more royalties and maintain creative control. Most importantly by self-publishing you can bring your book onto the market much faster by months and months. The downside is that this method is more work for the author, and you may need to coordinate hiring editors, designers, etc. to produce a professional finished product. Assisted self-publishing firms can help you save time and create a more refined book, but they’re not cheap, and you’ll need to vet your team before signing a publishing contract.

DIY Self-Publishing Expenses: $1,000-$2,000

Assisted Self-Publishing: $8,000-$25,000+

3. Hybrid Publishing

Hybrid publishing brings a mix of professional editorial support with the speed and creative control of self-publishing. Hybrid publishers share the publishing cost with their authors and provide in-house editing, design, and production. These firms help with some book marketing since their profits come partially from book sales. But keep in mind that hybrid publishers are not vanity presses, and many firms only select about 10% of the manuscripts they see in a year.

Hybrid Publishing: $6,000-$30,000

The publishing industry is always changing, and even experienced authors may change their publishing route depending on the goals for their book. Jane Friedman, an expert on book publishing and author consultant, summarizes the publishing process well:

“There is no one path or service that’s right for everyone all the time; you should take time to understand the landscape and make a decision based on long-term career goals, as well as the unique qualities of your work. Your choice should also be guided by your own personality (are you an entrepreneurial sort?) and experience as an author (do you have the slightest idea what you’re doing?).”

No matter what publishing route you choose, most book marketing efforts will likely fall on you, the author. So, let’s talk about what you might expect to pay for book PR, book promotions, and marketing a successful book launch.

Book Marketing

Investing in expert book marketing support can be the difference between a book that makes you a household name and a book that collects dust on your shelf. Book marketing costs money but obscurity costs more. Today, there are more avenues for marketing your book than ever. Here are the book marketing essentials to start with:

1. Hire a Book Publicist.

Have you ever wondered how guests on talk shows get those coveted spots? They’re likely working with a publicist or PR firm. Working with an experienced book publicist (like me) elevates your authority, gaining you media exposure with the audiences who need your book. A book publicist can also help you schedule appointments on your book tour, find book fairs and festivals, and connect you with journalists for interviews.

Book Publicist Cost: $5500-$7500 per month

2. Build Your Author Platform.

Where do you want people to go after they see you on TV, read your book, or watch your speaker presentation? Maintaining an author website and blog helps create more touchpoints for your audience to learn about you and your expertise. And this is a great place to recruit readers for your newsletter or course. Jeff Jacobs of the prestigious web design firm Marketing Success, says “I love working with authors because a website really elevates their book success. We’ve built dozens of author sites, and I recommend that every author keep a website.”

DIY Website Cost: $16-$50 per month

Professional Website Cost: $4,000-9,000

3. Social Media Promotion.

If you don’t have one already, building a following on social media can get more eyes on your brand and help you connect with more readers.

I know it’s difficult to be on all platforms, but you should be on at least one. If you have a business book and you are seeking business clients, then build out your LinkedIn page.

If you have a fiction book, then go for Facebook and Instagram.

If you have a younger audience then check out TikTok, and specifically BookTok, which has elevated dozens of authors in the last several years. Jane Friedman helped her client get to half a million followers on the platform, which led to a traditional publishing deal. “There are many approaches to getting your book out there to readers,” says Jane. If you’re wanting to build a face-forward platform, TikTok could be a great place to start.

You’ll need to think about who your audience is and where they live on the internet to best invest your time. Personally, I love Twitter or X as it’s being rebranded, and have 49K followers at @aBookPublicist.  I promote my client’s books and my own services as well as Tweet about publishing, writing, and info useful to authors and publishers. I send out articles like this one to my followers and some are really happy to see this stuff!

DIY Social Media Cost: Nothing

Professional Social Media Management Cost: $200-5,000 per month

Social Media Ads Cost: $15-$200 per day

Distribution Costs

How and where readers access your book comes down to distribution. Most branding books are physically printed, and many authors opt for an e-book as well. Audiobooks are less common unless you’re working with a traditional publisher who will foot the bill. These are the main ways authors distribute their books today:

1. Online Retailers:

Amazon is the most common online retailer for books today, and a great option for self-publishing. Their print-on-demand option allows you to avoid the cost of large print runs. POD has a higher cost per book, but there’s much less risk. This costs nothing, but you won’t find your book in bookstores with this method.

Amazon Print-On-Demand Cost: $0

2. Brick-And-Mortar Stores:

If you’re working with a hybrid or traditional publisher, they’ll likely handle distributing your book to stores. Most publishers work with Ingram Publishing, which gets your book out to most bookstores nationwide. Retailers then order your book, and Ingram prints and ships it to them.

Book Distribution Cost: 10-26% of net sales

3. Do a Goodreads eBook Giveaway:

It may sound counterintuitive, but giving away your book can be a great marketing strategy. Sign up in your author profile on Goodreads and they do all the work. They’ll promote it to their audience and charge a nominal fee of $115. They’ll send out the eBooks to the winners of the contest. Some authors schedule several per year. Why do this? It puts your book into the hands of people who may read it and review it on Amazon or Goodreads. If you have a physical book, you can do the same thing but shipping the book is up to you. My recommendation is do the eBook.

The Cost and Investment of Publishing: Key Takeaways

There’s a reason why want to write a book but only a small fraction does it. Putting a successful book together takes time, money, and energy. But for the business leaders who commit to the process, there are big payoffs on the other side of being a “published author”. When you consult the experts in writing support, publishing, marketing, and distribution, you ensure the best results possible.

The Bottom Line: Your book will not write, publish and promote itself. If you want success get professionals to help you along the way.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Book Marketing, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Book Marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.

How Authors Can Benefit From BookTok

Can BookTok Sell Books?

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications

The social media platform TikTok made its debut in 2016. It allows users to create and share short-form video content and slideshows, ranging anywhere from comedy to life advice to product reviews and much more. Today, the social media platform is available in over 150 countries and has over 1 billion users.

BookTok is a community on TikTok where readers discuss their favorite books, series, and authors. Users can create reviews, share their favorite books, show off their book collections, and even promote their own creations. Authors can learn what their readers love, find new fans, and answer questions from both readers and fellow authors.

“#BookTok is an honest and authentic community of readers, authors, and industry professionals who love to talk about and learn about books, writing and all things book related. BookTok is more than just social media word of mouth, it’s a tight community of book lovers where an author can find out in real-time what readers want to read,” says Sheila English, award-winning author of Adam Frankenstein: Dog Fight.

If you’re an author, it’s a good idea to explore BookTok as it can help you grow your audience and share with fans via text and video. It just might give you the type of exposure you need to get published and sell your work, as many users, especially the younger generations, are drawn to organic promotions directly from their source rather than traditional advertising. It gives the readers control over what becomes popular. Users can also form connections with their favorite authors or find books and communities for specific niches.

Publishers and bookstores have also begun to engage with BookTok. Walk into any Barnes and Noble and you will surely see a display with popular BookTok books. The company reported a 14% increase in sales after #booktok launched. Even some shopping websites, such as Books-A-Million and Target, have a category for books that gained popularity through BookTok!

Simon & Schuster marketing and publicity manager Olivia Horrox is quoted in The Guardian, stating, “There’s something about the fact that it is under a minute. People who are consuming this content want stuff that’s quicker and snappier all the time – you watch a 32-second video and someone’s like: ‘This book has LGBTQ romance, it’s really heartbreaking, it’s speculative fiction.’ And then the viewers think: ‘Oh, ok, those are all things that I’m interested in. I’ll go buy it.”

For both established authors and new authors, BookTok allows for organic exposure and a chance to build effective connections with your audience.

Authors: Is It Time To Put BookTok Into Your Book Marketing?

How to Get Started on BookTok

If you are an author looking to establish yourself on BookTok, follow these steps.

1. Download the App and Create an Account

You can link to Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail and download the app. Once you do, choose a catchy username to sign up.

2. Create Your Profile

Add your picture and a short description that explains the type of author you are and what books you write. Prove that you are authentic and passionate about your books!

3. Follow BookTokers

Go to the home page and follow some BookTokers by searching the hashtag #BookTok. This will ensure the TikTok algorithm displays book-related content in your feed. You can also keep up with current trends by paying attention to who and what is popular.

4. Make Your First Video

Now, the fun part begins! It’s time to get noticed by other BookTok users. Hit the + sign at the bottom of the screen, add a sound at the top, and press the red button to record yourself. You can talk about anything related to your books or you as an author. Then, hit next and add the #BookTok hashtag as well as a few others that relate to your genre and target your readers. Additionally, take some time to observe what other authors like you are doing. TikTok thrives on trends, so keeping your content catchy and relevant is key!

As you begin your journey as an author on BookTok, be careful about what kind of engagement you create. You don’t want to start arguments with negative reviewers or be too overbearing. Don’t force yourself on other users; let them come to you. Remember, BookTok is about the readers!

BookTok may seem daunting at first, but practice makes perfect! Just make more videos, engage with others in the community, and remain enthusiastic about your books!

Successful Authors on BookTok

Here are a few of the many authors who have decided to harness the power of BookTok and found success in doing so.

Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover AKA CoHo is a romance and thriller author that has published more than 20 novels and used BookTok to find loyal fans and readers. As a result of her efforts on BookTok, she gained 1.1 million followers and 14.8 million likes. This helped some of her books, including It Ends With Us earn a spot on the New York Times best seller list. Check out CoHo’s profile here.

Victoria Aveyard

Victoria Aveyard is best known for her novel series The Red Queen and is a popular content creator on BookTok. She frequently gains fans through her posts on upcoming new books, publishing, and general lifestyle content. Check out Victoria’s profile here for advice on writing.

Aiden Thomas

Aiden Thomas, who writes folkloric fantasies such as Lost in the Neverwoods and New York Times best seller Cemetery Boys, jumped on the BookTok bandwagon in 2021. He shares promo videos for his book and memes about being a Trans Latinx fantasy writer. Check out his profile here.

Ayana Gray

Ayana Gray used BookTok to promote the launch of her first book, Beasts of Pray. She shares updates that share her enthusiasm for the process and gives other aspiring authors some inspiration. Check out Ayana’s profile here.

Jennifer Millikin

Through BookTok, Jennifer Millikin creates teasers for her books, such as Our Finest Hour and The Patriot. in an effort to generate excitement. During each teaser, she pretends to be the main character in the book. Check out Jennifer’s profile here.

Fiona Lucas

If you go to Fiona Lucas’ BookTok, you’ll find videos of her that walk you through her process of publishing her first book, The Last Goodbye. Check out Fiona’s profile here.

There are hundreds of authors who have found success through BookTok, and reading their stories is sure to inspire anyone to follow in their footsteps. Caseen Gaines, author of Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way, decided to engage with BookTok. “My first video [about Black suffragettes, Aug. 18, 2021] had over 3,000 views. Once I got that immediate gratification, I was off to the races,” he says.

David Alan Arnold (@davidalanarnold), author of Help From Above, has 1.8 million followers on TikTok. He’s also helicopter cameraman for the Deadliest Catch, Survivor and numerous others shows and newscasts. David started a Facebook Group called How to Grow on TikTok. He offers free advice on the topic. This is a treasure trove of information for authors.

The Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a fresh yet effective way to promote your work as an author, you owe it to yourself to explore BookTok.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book.

He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.

Would you like help promoting your book?

If so, tell us a little about your book. What is the title? Do you have a publisher? What is the publish date? How many pages is your book? What is the cost? Do you have web site? What is your specific goal I.E., to make money, raise awareness, get the attention of an agent or publisher, sell the story to a movie or TV studio or something else? Submit the form below with this information and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!