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Writer's Station > Survey results: paying for professional services = more sales of self-published books

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message 1: by Christina (new)

Christina Vasilevski (cvasilevski) Hello all,

Bubblecow has posted the results of a survey of what happens when self-published authors pay for professional services (eg: cover design, copy editing).

The results are quite interesting:

- self-publishers who received help with story editing, copy editing, and proofreading made 13% more than the average

- a professionally designed cover alone is worth an 18% spike in sales

- writers doing their own story editing, copy editing, and proofreading made 58% LESS than the average writer

You can take a look at the full post here:

message 2: by John (new)

John David (johndavidauthor) | 51 comments To pay, or not to pay for publishing services, that is the question.

From my own experience . . .

Few to no sales without a "professionally designed" cover.

A few more sales once professional covers are in place.


I highly recommend that self-publishers learn how to do their own cover art and design, if only for the simple economics of the equation. Paying for a cover may simply not make sense.

My series of children's bedtime stories, for example. I paid $50 each ( X 3) to have good covers produced for the trilogy. The titles "sell" for $.99.

The math on this (at a 35% royalty) means that I need about 150 sales of EACH title just to break even on the cover investment, or about 450 sales for the series. I am nowhere near that now, and may never be there.

Self-publishing is a business, first and foremost. Writers need to remember that. Will your title sell if you spend a bunch of money on it?


Will it sell if you do not?


The key is knowing when to spend and when to save. In my example, I should have produced my own covers, and used the money elsewhere, on my other, more "profitable" work. Fortunately for me, I am quite capable as an editor and proofreader, even for my own work, so I do not spend anything there.

On that note, I am also a professional narrator. Part of that process is "auditioning" for the work. Here's a tip for any aspiring narrators:

DON'T send a note to a Pulitzer prize winning writer offering to correct the terrible editing/proofreading in their audition script.

Should there be a comma pause after "military?" . . . for the military, of wealth and grace . . . Should the "99s of Biloxi" be continued as plural? (99 degrees, 99 percent humidity) Should it read "$50 OR less," rather than "OF less?"

(My suggested corrections are included in the above quote).

The lesson here? Apparently Mr. Prize Winner paid SOMEONE or several someones to "edit" his work. Was it money well spent? Well, if results are any measure . . .

Nope. The moral is, paying for something does not guarantee quality or performance. NOBODY is as invested in YOUR work as YOU are. If you are going to self-publish, learn the business, ALL of it.

Discover and use every FREE resource that you can. Swap proofreads with other writers, editing for cover design, formatting for . . . whatever.

I cannot count the number of times I have been told about the "hundreds" of dollars some aspiring writer paid to have their terrible work "edited." Don't pay any editor who does not guarantee their work. Don't pay before reviewing it. Don't pay if you are not happy.

Ultimately, it is your name on the cover. Your name that will be remembered for shoddy or great work.

Like I always tell my daughter . . .

When you finish a job . . . walk away proud.

If you do, people will notice.

If you don't, they will notice that, too.

message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Barone (elizabethbarone) | 32 comments John wrote: "To pay, or not to pay for publishing services, that is the question.

From my own experience . . .

Few to no sales without a "professionally designed" cover.

A few more sales once professional c..."


This is exactly how I feel about it. No matter how you put the effort into your book, it will do well so long as you did the work. Whether you have the overhead to pay someone to do it for you or spent time learning how to do the things you can't afford, you will be that much more successful.

I'm also a strong advocate for educating yourself and learning how to do these things -- if you can.

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