The Dog Food Detective Budget

Ever wonder what it costs to self-publish a book?

It’s a bit like dog food- ask 30 different people and you’ll get 30 different answers. A book project can be accomplished with much less than what’s reflected below. It can also suck up far more resources than what follows.

Now that we’re in the home stretch, here’s a look at how the figures for this project pencilled out. Yes, we could have cut even more corners on some of the low end estimates. But given the direction the project took, these numbers reflect the acceptable compromises that we felt would best serve the finished book.

Had money not been a limiting factor, you would have seen an entirely different book. We chose to devote our limited resources to what would get the information out in the clearest and best manner. This became the highest priority which guided all else. As a result, the “niceties” of more illustrations and fancy layout had to be put aside.

Here are the numbers we played with as the project was taking shape. Almost all of the choices made fell within the low side of the estimate range.

Keep in mind there is no line item for the author’s time. All writing, research and planning was done outside of this budget as a labor of love!


Low Estimate High Estimate
DFD Website (design, domain, mail list, hosting) 75 450
Book Editor 500 2500
Cover Design 450 850
Interior Design/ Typesetting 300 1800
Production Setup 50 150
ISBN registration 250 250
Copyright & Library of Congress filing 35 200
Pre-release reviews 0 150
Publicist 0 1500
Distribution/ Fulfillment 50 450
Audio book (hardware & software) 100 500
Illustrations 250 800
Promotional copies 100 300
ebook layout 75 250
ebook conversion 50 250
Estimate totals 2285 10400
Contingency (10%) 230 1050
TOTALS $2515 $11450


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