How to Build Your Publishing Budget

One of your biggest priorities while planning your publication will be building your publishing budget.

The short explanation of the process is to list all the expenses you plan to have during your publishing process and then collect pricing estimates.

The longer explanation of the process…is below.

Do I Need a Publishing Budget If I Plan to Sell My Manuscript to a Traditional Publishing House?

Yes. By the time you finish researching your book, writing your book and having it professionally edited you may have a few expenses to pay. This is especially true if you decide to pay for services that promise to connect you to literary agents and publishers.

And don’t forget that literary agents and publishing houses like to see that you have a book marketing plan of your own. Have you seen the commercials for bestselling author James Patterson’s latest releases? He is most likely paying for them out of his own pocket. And if a bestselling author like Patterson is paying for his own ads, it’s a clue that you should be investing in your own book promotion as well.

It’s wise to plan for those expenses as well.

How Do I Organize My Budget?

Excel-or some other spreadsheet software-is often used to create budgets, but a simple table in Microsoft Word or on a piece of paper will do the job.

A basic budget will have the following information:

  • The first column should list your expected expenses-like research and editing.
  • The second column should list your expected expenses.
  • The second column should stay open to record your actual expenses as you make payments.

There are sample budget templates and worksheets all over the Internet that you can adopt and customize for this purpose.

Which Expense Categories Should I List?

Great question!

The following list is a good starting point:

(Please click on the links to find the price of different resources or services you can use that may affect your budget.)


Promotional Expenses

*Only applies to self-publishing

**The LCCN is free, but if you hire someone else to do it for you there will be a fee.

You may also choose to hire a self-publishing company that will give you a single price that includes most-if not all-of these budget items. But before you choose a self-publishing company, I recommend that you read the these reviews.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let creating a budget scare you. Your budget will help you set realistic expectations and make wiser decisions.

If it looks like your budget requires more funds than you have, you still have a lot of options. You may be able to find a partner who will cover the expenses. You can also look into using an online crowdfunding platform to raise the money. Simply finding a more budget-friendly alternative is another option.

The last option-and not always the most realistic option for busy people-is to invest time in learning a new skill so you can do the work on your own. But the key thing to remember is that you always have a choice.

So budget wisely.

Image Attribution: Derivative of OLD by Indra Lee/500px

Danielle Fetherson

Danielle helps aspiring authors become published authors. She believes that everyone has at least one book on the inside of them that can make a positive impact on someone else's life. If you have been thinking about writing a book, learn how to start your book today with the free resources at


  1. Danielle, seems like you’ve done ALL of the leg work for someone like me who just wants to get the information I want to share out to the mass media, I’m looking forward to working with you.