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Publishing a high-quality book requires an investment from the author no matter how the book is published. The costs associated with each publishing option are summarized below. As with any investment, it's important to understand your costs and what to expect.


(Don’t just take our word for it; check out this report by WordsRated, a non-commercial organization dedicated to discovering insightful data about books, literature, and the publishing industry.)

TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING: You pay on the back end

Whether your book is published through one of the Big Five publishing houses or a smaller press, your investment will be made on the back end. Traditional publishers "front" the cost of publishing your book and collect that back from you by taking a large percentage (82 - 95%) of the profits generated from your book sales. If you're offered an advance from a publisher, which is often as little as a $1,000 for new authors, that amount must be repaid to the publisher before you receive any royalties from your book sales. And don't forget, if an agent lands you a publishing deal, you'll have to pay them 15% of whatever you earn.

Additionally, traditional publishers shift most marketing responsibilities to authors. Unless you’re a big name, you can expect little more than a few e-blasts to your publisher's mailing. Anything more will usually be paid for by you.



SELF-PUBLISHING: You pay as you go

When you self-publish, you invest as you go and repay yourself with the income generated from the sales of your book. You can reduce your financial investment by trying to do things on your own, but cutting corners can cause the end product and sales to suffer. 

Unless you've got years of industry experience, you're going to make mistakes. There’s a significant cost to getting things wrong and having to correct or redo them. Publishing correctly is complicated. It's not just about coming up with a cover design. It’s about finding the right keywords and genre codes, crafting an irresistible book blurb, creating a cohesive final product, and much, much more.  

If you're serious about giving your self-published book the best possible chance at success, you'll need the help of experts. Finding the right professionals is stressful, as is managing multiple contracts and various timelines. There's something else to consider too. A good number of these so-called experts have questionable skills and may even take advantage of you. It can be difficult to tell the good from the bad. Ask anyone who's been through it. You'll hear a lot of stories about disappointment, lost time, and wasted money.

Highly qualified professional expertise isn't cheap. Here's a quick rundown of just a few of the expenses you can expect.*

  • Copy editing: $1,080–$1,714 

  • Proofreading: $620–$955

  • Cover design, formatting, and layout: $2,300–$3,750

  • Content editing and proofreading for author biography & book blurb: $150–$500

  • Keyword & category optimization for online sites (Amazon, Barnes & Noble): $300–$800

  • Uploading of ebook, paperback, and hardcover for distribution: $300 - $1,500

  • ISBN: 2 for $250

*"Cost of Publishing a Book." 



Choosing Acorn is a wise investment. Acorn professionals expertly handle everything, including marketing, press releases, and promotion. We provide guidance to help you market your book like a pro, and we invite you to join us at events, such as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and Barnes & Noble book signings. You keep most of the profits from your book sales (70%) and pay yourself back with those earnings. Without multiple service providers to keep track of, budgeting is easy and the publishing process is simple.

With Acorn's expertise, your book will stand out from the millions of other titles on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Not only will you be proud of your work, but also, you’ll have the best possible chance of launching a successful book.

With Acorn, once your manuscript is ready for publication, you pay a flat fee of $11,000 at the start of the publishing process. We only publish polished, well-written books. If your manuscript requires editorial support, we'll tell you. The cost of using an editor to bring your book up to acceptable standards is not included in our one-time fee. If your word count exceeds 95,000 words, additional fees may also apply.

We'll recommend a list of our preferred editors and if you decide to use one of them, we'll guarantee publication. Acorn does not profit from the services of its preferred editors. To save time, we'll proceed with other aspects of the publishing process while the editorial work is underway. Of course, you can use any editor of your choosing and re-submit to us, but we cannot guarantee that your book will be accepted.

On her experience with Acorn Publishing

Jan Steele
Jan Steele

Honestly, Acorn Publishing is amazing. I would have never been able to do this on my own. There are so many things I would have never known to do. Their guidance and support is invaluable."

On his experience with Acorn Publishing

Mikel Wilson
Mikel J. Wilson

I made the right decision when I signed with Acorn Publishing. The team offered me a clear path to success in publishing my first mystery novel. In addition to giving me insightful feedback that strengthened and elevated my book, they provided a clear, step-by-step process for shepherding it to publication and beyond. They’ve been my strongest advocates and my biggest cheerleaders, and I look forward to publishing with them for years to come."

On her experience with Acorn Publishing

Lori Oliver-Tierney
Lori Oliver-Tierney

The love and patience Acorn showed as I literally trudged along in this journey was admirable. They are the best. They inspired and drove me on. I can never thank them enough."

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