Our readers have debated the topic for months and we caught up with Guy Kawasaki for a professional opinion. He literally wrote the book on the topic, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book.
As the former chief evangelist at Apple and the author of twelve books, he has lots of practical experience about budgeting for every aspect of a book.
How To Budget for Your Self-Published Book
In APE, Kawasaki offered this advice for making a more realistic budget:
ask your friends, family, colleagues, fans, and acquaintances for help … You simplify your design expectations and learn how to use design tools yourself. You barter with editors and designers—surely you must have some skill that an editor and/or a designer needs.
We asked him if he had any additional advice, and he added this thought:
You could approach design and journalism students. They will probably work for a lot less money–perhaps even for free if the position is an internship that they can add to their resume and portfolio.
In APE, Kawasaki urged writers to ask themselves: could I sell 500 eBooks or print books? We asked if he could elaborate on that daunting question. He responded:
The most objective indication may be the number of followers a person has on social-media sites. I’d say that selling 500 copies requires 5,000 followers in total. This doesn’t mean that one out of ten people will buy the book–it will be much lower, but one needs to incorporate the word-of-mouth and pass-along factors that are inherent in social media if your book is good. So the question becomes: How hard is it to get 5,000 followers? I’d say it would take two hours of work per day for a year as a rule of thumb.
Finally, over at Digital Book World, the author made this controversial statement. What do you think?
Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are powerful and inexpensive marketing methods, but old-fashioned PR is still necessary. There is no doubt in my mind that spending $10,000-15,000 on a PR campaign is a good investment.
Kawasaki will be one of the speakers at Mediabistro’s new online course to help independent authors publish on a budget, a class taught by indie publishing pros and writers who have topped our Self-Published Bestsellers List.