- $25 - 1 ISBN (I bought a block of 10 for $250)
- $75 - Set-up fee per title for Lightning Source
- $30 - Proof copy from Lightning Source
- $12 - Annual catalog fee to Lightning Source
- #$119 - 20 copies from Lightning Source (to be used as review copies and gifts)
- #$160 - Cover design and pdf file of cover (based on my basic design and using a photo I provided) (I also purchased a logo design for $60, which I'll be able to use on successive books.)
- $20 - approximate cost for a single photo from http://www.istockphoto.com/ (this will vary, depending on how many photos you buy at once, the specific photo and the size [resolution] of the photo purchased) (I actually bought a supply of credits and purchased additional photos which I can use on my web site, for a book trailer if I do one, and for other books.)
Total start-up costs:
$25 + $75 + $30 + $12 + $119 + $160 + $20 = $441
Divide that total ($441) by the amount earned per book ($7.15) and I need to sell approximately 62 copies to earn my start-up costs back for this book. Not bad and definitely doable.
I could have spent a great deal more on professional cover design or artwork - in fact, I would have loved to - but since my other income is, well, nil, this is one area I had to be economical in. And judging by the comments on the cover, I think it serves its purpose well. Professional editing is another area I would love to splurge in, but done right it is not a cheap job, either; so instead, ten very intelligent writers, whose opinions and abilities I trust, read the whole book at various stages and gave feedback, as well as corrected my technical errors. Yes, this means I read ten manuscripts in return and got great mileage out of my copy of The Chicago Manual of Style.
This is just my experience and how I chose to go about doing it. Publishing through Kindle or CreateSpace will lower your costs, while going through a subsidy publisher or employing professionals for specific jobs (editing, cover design, publicity) will raise it accordingly.