book budget
IWSG-Insecure Writers Support Group,  Self-Publishing

Publishing Pitfalls IWSG

August IWSG

Today is a crazy busy day with the release of my book. Yes, it’s today!!!!!

Here’s the link

your novel this

Ok, enough of that.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 1 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover,Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery!

August 1 question – What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Actually, since today is the release of my first self-published book, I’m going to ask all of my IWSG people to give me advice.

I feel like I’ve done the best that I can with the tools that I have, but the problem falls in the grey area of how much can I justify spending to release this product? Can I really justify spending thousands of dollars on marketing when the chances of a positive return on investment are slim to none? These are the questions I am currently wrestling with and I’d appreciate some real answers from real writers.


Did you hire an editor? What stage? Did you feel it was worth the expense?

Did you have a professional cover designer?

How much and where do you spend on marketing?

Targeted ads or social media book blasts?

What about thunderclap or other social media strategies?

What kind of marketing was effective? What was a bust?

Did you do a blog tour? Was it worth the time?

Did you pay for web hosting?

What other author expenses do you have? Which ones are necessary?

These are just the few that I’ve thought about, but since I’m a newb, I’m sure I’m missing most of them. Let me know where you felt your writing budget was best spent. I’d love to know about your experience


To continue on this bloghop
ISWG bloghop link

M.L. Keller is a freelance writer and editor. Her blog "The Manuscript Shredder" is focused on helping emerging writers hone their craft.


  • DRShoultz

    First of all, congratulations on your book! Each is a major accomplishment.

    I wish I had silver bullet answers to your marketing questions, but I don’t. I, too, struggle with how much to spend on marketing.

    I have found that paying a couple hundred bucks to promo companies (e.g. BookBuzz) for book launches provided minimal results. It did get me a 4-5 reviews and a handful of early sales. A couple months ago I started spending $100/month on targeted Facebook ads to readers of suspense novels, and have not yet been able to attribute corresponding sales to this investment. I’m hoping by building FB followers and the email list for my monthly newsletter that I will find a source of interested followers and buyers.

    Book signings, word of mouth, local press releases & advertising on community FB pages have worked best for me. Many of my readers are local/regional and know me from past signings and publications. It’s been a “start local and grow” strategy. I hope I live long enough to see it work 🙂

    Good luck with your new book!

  • Erika Beebe

    I wish I had more words of advice for you. All I can say are these simple personal preferences: Editors have made a world of difference for me and as a graphic designer and also a visual perspective, cover designs draw me more then anything else so yes, I would invest in the artwork 🙂 I wish you much luck and happy IWSG day 🙂

  • emaginette

    From what I’ve read, the self published author always–and I mean always–pays for a cover art professional, and an editor. They also occasionally pay for a marketer. That said it is easy enough to run a blog hop yourself.

    Do an internet search on where to begin: Google Forms, setting up a time frame, and follow up with sending out the correct posts a week before they need to go up. If you need more, contact me on my site and I’ll do what I can. Good luck. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  • Kathy

    Thank you so much for this post and for asking all those question. They’re all the questions floating around in my mind, too. That said, I suspect paying for a solid editor to put eyes on your stuff is worth the investment. Same for a professional cover designer. Don’t know about the rest, though. Happy writing to you, and best of luck with your book. 🙂

  • Jina Bazzar

    congratulations on the release.
    when i was getting my first book ready for release, i had as much as 0 on my budget to spend on publishing. so i went to goodreads, i’m not sure why, and there i found a folder called ‘beta readers’ folder. it offers free beta reading services, and they have a special folder where newbe editors offer their services in exchange for a testimonial. for cover, you can check on fiverr, or do one with a template from kanva. and then, the more reviews you get, the more word is out. you can chase the reviewers and offer them a copy of your book in exchange of reviews. or you can lower the price. book tours are great too, it’ll expose the book, and like the reviewers, you can chase down the blogs who post tours and ask them if they are interesting in hosting your tour. about other questions, i can’t really say. and oh, check out sites like reader’s favorite, indtale magazine and… i can’t remember. ah, publisher’s weekly. they all post reviews of books for free – or paid – though it may take some time.

  • Ronel Janse van Vuuren

    Congrats on your book’s release! I loved it 🙂

    Okay, to answer your questions: a book blog tour was definitely worth it (guest posts and interviews work the best), I hired an editor to do line editing and proofreading (I was happy with the book after beta readers and competition judges were through with it, but next time I’ll probably invest in developmental editing too — just ’cause the goblins in my head say so), and I do a social media book blasts and book trailers on schedule to remind people my book exists (saw this on Chrys Fey’s blog as something to do) [this is easy to do with Canva and Adobe Spark = no expenses but good marketing]. I hope this helps 🙂

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