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People are always asking me how much does it cost to self publish. Usually they are the ones who have approached scam self publishing companies and been quoted a ridiculous price.

“They said they can do it all for 75,000 rupees. That is reasonable,  right?”

Reasonable it is not.

Be careful of all the companies which prey on the innocence of writers. They just want to make a quick buck not to help you on your way.

I just put up a short story on Amazon Kindle. What did it cost me?  Here is the breakdown.

It cost me a lot in work. Writing the story. Rewriting it several times.  Editing carefully and repeatedly.

Then the cover.  I started that early and kept fiddling with it through the writing. It went through many variations and finally ended up with one I liked.

Them the formatting. An ebook requires a specific format. I just finished formatting ‘To Catch a Falling Star’ for print and that took a lot of careful work. I knew that ebook formatting is not as complicated as print and it turned out to be quite simple by comparison.

Ebooks require very minimal formatting because the pages are not fixed. You can’t use anything fancy and have to stick to the simplest.

Basically you need to use styles and remove all tabs and manual formats. Headings are needed to create the contents.

To begin the job I found a lot of books on Kindle formatting and a lot of Youtube videos. Unfortunately, many turned out to be a waste of time.  They did not get it right.

After a lot of searching and even more mistakes it turned out to be simpler than I thought.

Then the part I dreaded – converting my Word file to mobi format for kindle.  I had tried it with my earlier book and it came out a real mess. I had no idea what to do.  Do I need a converter? How do I do it?

I kept a whole week for the conversion and it took me longer than that. Mostly because I struggling with contradictory advise.

Eventually I figured it out.  No,  you do not need to convert your file. Careful formatting in Word and saving as an htm file does the trick.

Upload it to Kindle direct and it will do the conversion.  Download it and check it on the Kindle previewer. Make your changes in the word file and upload again. I did that several times correcting small mistakes. 

It took more than the week I had kept for it. But, yes, it’s not that hard.  Anyone with patience can do it.

So my story, A Handful of Rice went up. I clicked the publish button and I was done.

What did it cost?  Those are the costs  I have detailed above.

In work – expensive.
In money – not a paisa.

Uploading is free. There is no cost if you do the work. If you don’t want to do the work then please pay only for the job and not the huge sums scam companies ask.

Paying for the tasks you need – cover, editing, formatting – it can cost a few thousand – less than ten, I think,  if you get someone to do the work for you.  If you do it yourself – which prolific writers are doing – then the cost is zero. None of the self publishing platforms like Kindle require you to pay.  Uploading your book if free and you get paid for every copy sold.

Would I recommend self publishing to others? Yes I definately would. It was worth the effort to see my book go up in just a few hours. More than worth it.

My advise – give it a shot.  It’s not as hard as it seems.

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