What Authors Need to Know About a Book Budget

Beyond the Page
Very few people (authors included) are comfortable talking about money.

Sure, who wouldn’t love discussing royalties, but the financial investment it takes to bring a book to life isn’t a topic of conversation many enjoy and look forward to. However, when it comes to writing, publishing and marketing a book, it’s a topic that any aspiring author deserves to know the ins and outs of. 

Jennifer Crosswhite (owner, book coach and editor at Tandem Services and author) and myself (owner and chief strategist of the emPower PR Group and author) enjoy a weekly livestream coffee chat where we discuss meaningful topics for authors to consider. We figured if we can’t have a coffee chat in person—because we live on two sides of the US—why not make it virtual and invite others to join in on the fun! During this livestream, kickoff a monthly-long discussion on budgeting as it pertains to the book writing, publishing and marketing industries where we pull back the curtain and shed light on what you should and shouldn’t invest in as an author. 

Sometimes, a budget is not so much about how much you have to spend, but rather, how you prioritize what you have and what you put your energy into. Understanding your book’s goals and your why will offer you directional guidance for your budget. During the livestream, we highlight the various forms of investment authors need to consider, the stages of the book process and what is worth an author’s investment every time. 

Here are some of my favorite highlights from the livestream:
  • Money in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. But it’s a topic that is rarely discussed. We highlight the key parts of the livestream and how we will discuss money, budgeting and authorship. (1:09)
  • Your publishing approach will dictate your financial investment efforts many times, and we highlight our thoughts around this topic. (2:33)
  • Your why will offer you a roadmap on what you should invest in. Do you know why you wrote the book and why you want to publish it? (4:09)
  • I share an example of two types of cookbooks, outlining the various whys and highlighting how financial investments for each are different due to the goals of the book itself. (7:03)
  • Another example on how an author’s why impacts budget is shared, highlighting the difference between two memoirs and how budgeting aligns accordingly. (13:59)
  • Knowing the timeline for your book project is also an important element to be aware of when it comes to your budget efforts, too. (15:46)
  • There are two types of budgets to consider: your financial one and your time. Both matter and we share why. (19:20)
  • We outline the various steps of the writing, publishing and marketing process so that authors can consider how each phase impacts their budgets. (24:22)
  • There are various types of editing, and we discuss those types so authors have clarity on what they are investing in. (28:34)
  • Two other meaningful parts of the book process are production and marketing. We highlight their importance and things to consider. (31:03)

Join us weekly for a Beyond The Page livestream chat about a relevant topic that writers and authors will find insightful, informative and just fun on YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook. Learn more about Beyond the Page.

Resources highlighted in the livestream include the following.

Watch on YouTube

If you are publishing a book, we want you to do it with eyes wide open! Knowing your why will provide you directional insights into what your time and financial investments should be.

Stephanie and Jennifer love authors, love books and love helping authors understand the book industry inside and out. Watch the Beyond the Page Livestream on the topic of what authors need to know about a book budget.

Memorable Quotes from the Livestream

Author Budgeting 2.1.23
Author Budgeting 2.1.23 (2)
Author Budgeting 2.1.23 (3)

Meet the Beyond the Page Hosts

Stephanie Feger BTP

Stephanie Feger

emPower PR Group

Stephanie Feger has merged her love for reading books, writing books and marketing books to help authors be successful by sharing emPactful marketing strategies and tactics. As an author herself and a seasoned book marketing expert, her goal is to help authors be strategic and focused when it comes to book marketing. Her caffeine of choice is soy chai latte, and it’s typical for her co-worker, Oreo, to make a debut during Beyond the Page, begging for some morning pets.

Jennifer Crosswhite Headshot

Jennifer Crosswhite

Tandem Services Ink

Jennifer Crosswhite helps authors create the best books possible, bringing their ideas to market in tandem, and as a bestselling author herself, she knows how to make that happen. She has written nearly 20 books and spans various genres in fiction and nonfiction alike. Jen loves tea and collecting mugs too (she shares many of them on the livestreams!). And, while Stephanie thinks Jen’s house may be haunted, it’s just her cat, Raja, who loves opening doors at the most inopportune times. 

[00:00:01.770] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Well, good morning or almost afternoon everybody and welcome to Beyond the Page. I am Jennifer Crosswhite, book coach and editor with Stephanie Feger, book marketer extraordinaire. I like that I haven't said that in a while

[00:00:15.120] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
I know and it just makes it so lovely. Thank you, Jen. You’re so sweet.

[00:00:21.210] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
I love it. It's awesome. It makes it lots of fun. So today we are talking about your book budget, the nitty gritty of the money. Actually, the whole month of February. And happy February by the way. It’s February 1st!

[00:00:40.410] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
And maybe it's a month of us coming to love money and not see that money is a bad thing. Money in and of itself is not bad. It's not inherently bad, it's what we do to it. But I will tell you, I don't love money discussions. It gets me uncomfortable. But at the end of the day, Jen, we need to know these things. Maybe the uncomfortableness around money and budgeting comes from a place of not knowing when you know it's not scary.

[00:01:09.110] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Yeah, I think that is exactly the point of why we wanted to talk about this, is because most people really don't have any idea. You and I both get a lot of questions from clients and potential clients about how much should I expect to pay. And there is a wide variety of things you can pay. And so we're going to sort of talk about that. We're going to talk about what's reasonable and we're going to talk about depending on which way you go with your book that will also affect it for the most part. We're going to be talking about self publishing and we're going to be talking about you don't want to learn to do every single thing yourself. We're going to assume you're going to want to hire professionals to do the different parts. So that's kind of the bulk of where we're going to be. But again, there's stuff on every end of that. So we'll also touch on some of that as well. I apparently have my lovely sunlight coming in today.

[00:02:07.130] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
I love it. It gives you extra highlights. If I was where you were it would hide the gray.

[00:02:13.130] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Well, the wind is blowing so there's a bush outside and so partly why it's sparkling is because the wind is blowing the bush and the sunlight is filtering through it.

[00:02:23.620] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
I think it's just because you're an angel over there and your gorgeous!

[00:02:24.930] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
It’ll disappear shortly. I'm only an angel at 830 in the morning and then by the end…

[00:02:33.790] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
Well, I'm going to what you just shared though about like expectations for the chat. I do think it's good to our discussion, it's good to level set because your publishing approach will dictate the financial investment many times. But we also think it's important to say there are many people we have worked with who have gone in other publishing routes and are still needing to do investment. So, our goal today and this month is really to just pull back the curtain on the uncomfortable conversation and not so much to say, this is how much you should budget. And it's not prescriptive because there's different things, but it's to understand the why behind it. I will never forget Jen; we might talk about this in the coming weeks. I was speaking at a conference at my alma mater and the lady that was coordinating it was the keynote, and she's like, we have no budget. And I said, okay. Well, okay. And so, I sat there, and I listened to everything and I listened to it all and I said, but you have budget for food, like, you're doing like a three course meal, and you have budget for the space and you have budget for goodies. And you had budget for a janitor to clean the toilets. I went down the list. Listen, I get it, but you've got budget you need to evaluate. And sometimes budget is not so much how much you have, it's how you prioritize what you have. And I think that is another big part of the conversation, too, because that's publishing a book.

[00:04:09.390] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Absolutely. And so I think that's exactly where we want to start. What is the goal of this book? Why are you writing it? What do you want to accomplish with it? Okay, if you are writing a book that is going to mostly go to your family and friends, you just want to write it. It's just something you want to get off of your chest. You just have always wanted to tell this story. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I love that. This is what's really cool is the copyright. Anything you write, as soon as you put it on a fixed form, a napkin, your computer, it's copyright protected. Your copyright is your lifetime plus 70 years.

[00:04:53.920] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
How do they get to 70? What is that deal?

[00:04:56.030] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
I have no idea. But that's really cool, right? So that's like, potentially your great grandchildren could read something you wrote and that's an amazing legacy to leave. And if you think about all of the ways you could spend your money, people go on trips and they have hobbies and they do all these lovely things that are wonderful experiences and make great memories, but nothing is going to have that kind of durability. That something you write will. And so it's certainly not wrong to say I don't expect to make a million dollars and I don't expect to hit The New York Times. I really just want to write this for me and anyone who might be interested, right. That is a perfectly legitimate place to be. And so if that is your goal, your budget might be different, your priorities might be different. And so that is a very different goal set than someone who says, let's go back to my finance book. Example that I always give. I have this fantastic finance book. I really think it can help people. And I would love to hit the New York Times Bestseller List. Okay, well, first of all, if you want to hit The New York Times bestseller list, you cannot self publish.

[00:06:04.440] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
They don't pick indies. You have to go to the traditional route. And so if that is something that is very important for you, then that's the route you're going to have to go and you're going to have to navigate that. And we certainly work with people in the traditional space, and we can help you. But it's a whole other path, right? It's a different path. And then there's lots of space in between the self-publishing and the hybrid space, where self-publishing, you're going to be like the general contractor, and you're hiring experts to help you. But ultimately, the bottom line is with you versus hybrid, where they are the experts, they become the general contractor, and you hire them to do all of that for you. And it looks very different. There's a wide range of what all that can look like. We go back to some of our LinkedIn lives from last year. We talked about all the different publishing options. So you can go check those out if you can't find them on LinkedIn. Yes, it's on both of our YouTube channels.

[00:07:03.920] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
So, Jen, I have a good example, I think. You talk about money, and I talk about food in our example. What does this tell us about? I'm going to use a really relevant example. So there's a place here in Louisville, Kentucky, where I live, and I call it the Magical Starbucks, because great things happen at this Starbucks. I didn't take you there when you were here before.

[00:07:27.470] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
No, but I know about it from your book. You did point it out to me, however.

[00:07:30.770] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
There it is. Yeah, I did. So I met an amazing woman while I was working out of the Starbucks. And I need the caveat. I was not a barista. I realized when I say this, people are like they've gone up and asked when I was having client meetings and Starbucks, they would go, Is Stephanie working today? And they're like, who's Stephanie? She is. She's just sitting in the corner. But when I was working out of the Starbucks, I met an amazing woman who wanted to publish a cookbook. And I asked her, just like, what we do now? What are your goals? Why are you doing it? And her intention was to spread this message of love and help other people find the value of what happens in a kitchen and through food. It was a collection of recipes from her family and from her, which were important, but she didn't want it to stop there. So we knew that a more simplified publishing route was not probably something she wanted to do, but she didn't want to be a New York Times bestseller. She just read a beautiful book that really she could sell because she knew that it's a crowded space in the cookbook arena and that people will buy her cookbook because they know her.

[00:08:44.630] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
So we opted for a supported self-publishing journey. I had known a company and connected the dots for her. And so she made an investment on editing and layout and cover. Here, let me see. Is it right here? It's beautiful. One of the most beautiful books I've seen. I mean, it's stunning.

[00:09:01.300] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
I love it.

[00:09:02.990] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
It is gorgeous. With story built inside. Beautiful. So she invested in that. She invested in the editing process. She invested in the layout. When I told her you need good photos, she invested in getting good photos. Like, there were things she invested in. On the flip side, this weekend, I'm very excited to meet with a lady who I am proposing we do a cookbook. But we will not be going that route because my kids are a part of a cooking program on Fridays. Selfishly, Jen, I want the recipes. There you go. Right. Okay. I told their teacher, I said, like, I work in this industry. I know how to navigate it. I would love to talk to you about what it would take for us to make a cookbook. My intention is not to sell it. That is nothing. It is for the families to get a copy. So because of that, how we will print it, what we'll focus on, on editing or photo call, all of that changes.

[00:09:58.110] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink

[00:09:58.770] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
The why is different.

[00:10:00.840] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
It's very true. And there have been my church growing up, the ladies put together a church book. It was literally my mom typed it up. They mimeographed it. I think it was literally probably a mimeograph at the church. And three-hole punched it with ring binders on it. It is falling apart so much. It's in a plastic bag now. But it's got all the beloved recipes in it. Right. And I think I have no idea what they charged for, but the church people bought it. It was a little fundraiser or something, but it's the memories. Like, my grandma's recipes are in there. My mom's recipes. I actually had a recipe in there when I was, like, seven. I put a recipe in for making popsicles in your freezer.

[00:10:42.190] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
I love it. But see, that also goes to what gets put in, right? So, like, for Debbie's book in this cookbook, we got to talking about, well, what matters. And then she really wanted to put stories. I said, okay, well, listen, your book is called Cooking with Love. We need to have stories within it about the love that you've experienced. And so what you will find with every cookbook it's so beautiful. With every recipe, has a paragraph that acknowledges a little bit of a context as to what it meant to her. Right. But this cookbook that I want to do with my kids in their class. That's not it. I think we'll do the recipes. I haven't even talked to the teacher, but we'll see. I'll do the recipes of what they've done, the 20 recipes we'll do in the class, and then maybe every kid can submit a recipe too, and we'll get a photo like it is a memory maker.

[00:11:33.190] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
It's a memory maker, right. Dan says that she still has her mom's church cookbook. And I think this is something like what we're talking about, this stuff that endures, the memories that are attached to it with that legacy that's super powerful. So, it doesn't matter. In that case, it's not so much the presentation or the quality, it's the memories that you're putting in and the connection, the personal connection with that. So, yes, you're not going to necessarily hire a professional photographer or a food stylist to shoot a beautiful cookbook like you would for a professional cookbook, but it's not going to make it any less valuable to the people who are involved. And that's just a wonderful example of the range of things that you can do in there. And with the Amazon self-publishing, it's one of the cheapest ways to get your book printed with print on demand. You don't have to send it to a printer and buy 500 copies or whatever. So even if you're doing just a family legacy or something that's just important to just a small number of people, you can have it printed and produced in a very inexpensive way.

[00:12:40.950] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
We've got a lot more options than we used to. And I love this idea. I think many people, if you can at all invest some of the time and money into it, should start writing down those family stories and those family recipes and all of that. I mean, what a wonderful legacy to leave to your family, right?

[00:12:58.120] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
But it's also a testament to what we're talking about budget. So for the cookbook with the kiddos, we're not going to do an editor, we're not going to get photos. Well, they have an art teacher. We might ask the art teacher to paint a cover. Right? We might get creative because the goal is not to sell books. Whereas on the flip side, with Debbie's book, I said, honey, your book cover matters, your quality numbers. If people come in and there's typos, that matters. That will impact the success of book sales and book recommendations. And so that means her investment is going to be different because her goals are different.

[00:13:39.770] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Yes, absolutely. That's exactly right. So, if your goal is a more professional audience, then your book needs to look professional. You cannot cut corners on that because that's going to really reflect in your ability to market your book.

[00:13:56.570] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
I was going to say I have another example.

[00:13:57.900] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Go ahead.

[00:13:59.930] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
I think I've shared with you; my grandfather wrote a memoir the same year that my first book came out, which was a memoir. And I will never forget because my grandpa is a bit stubborn. Sure you love him, but he's stubborn and has opinions. But I'll never forget right after my book came out, he was like touting to me how cost effective his process was and look at what he did and it's awesome, man. I love that he has a memoir on so many levels. When I look at his book and I look at mine, they're very different and the goals and purposes are different. The editor that he had was someone in the family which did a great job but didn't catch everything and doesn't do editing by trade. Mine went through a professional editing process. The layout is different. The storyline was not shaped any different than what Grandpa had written. But that wasn't the purpose.

[00:14:51.810] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
It was not the purpose.

[00:14:52.950] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
No. He also invested in buying like 500. He went a different printing route where he does not have an ISBN. It's a bulk 500 is all he got. He figured out how to do it based on how many, and then he gave him away his gifts, whereas I went the pod route where I didn't have to sit on 500 and do a big investment. But it's just a different approach. So he kept trying and I just kind of giggled and realized you don't win with Grandpa, so it's not worth the conclusion. But we had, again, different goals. His was to capture his legacy and I am so grateful for it. And mine was not mine. I mean, that's not my purpose. It was to support and change and inspire other people. And so you really have to think about that. And that will not only open doors to the type of publishing you need to do, but all the other moving pieces, how you should market it, etc.

[00:15:46.190] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Yeah, definitely. So spend some time thinking about it. Your goal might not be what you think it is. A lot of times people think their goal is to have a best selling book. And then if you spend some time thinking about it and you realize, okay, only 2% of authors hit that. And depending on the kind of book you're writing, that may or may not even be a reasonable goal. So spend some time really thinking about what your goal is for your book, because that's really the first step until you understand that you're not sure what path you need to go down. Agree. Second step to think about is what is the time frame for writing and publishing your book? So a lot of times people come to us in all different stages. Sometimes the book is not written. So we do book coaching, draft coaching. So we help you draft the book. Sometimes people have written the book and it needs some work. Sometimes we can coach through the revision process sometimes we do developmental editing. It depends, really, on where you are in the process. Sometimes they've come to us after they've worked with somebody else and spent a lot of money and been extremely disappointed in the results.

[00:16:53.130] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Now they come to us to fix it. So, it happens at all different stages. But one of the first things I ask people is, what is your time frame for getting this out? If you have a birthday or an anniversary or a celebration or a speaking engagement or something that ties into your book that you want it out by, we need to know that because that changes things. If you have to have a book out, I always tell people, plan on six months for writing and six months for producing. Your book. Very rough. Those time frames can change, but it's a very rough sketch, right? That means you need to be thinking at least a year in advance. You have to have the most flexibility to accomplish what you want. However, if you come to me and say, I've got a speaking engagement in the middle of March, which sounds familiar, I'd like to have a book written by then. It's doable. But we are going to be right. Like with anything, you pay to move to the front of the line, you pay for expedited service, you pay for extra hours, you pay for all those things, and you have less time to search out other options.

[00:18:05.950] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
And also, like with our staff, we're booked, our editors are booked, and good cover designers get booked. And so one of the things that you have to think about is the more time you have, the more options you will have. So it's really important to think about what is your time frame. And I know some of you probably have heard this. If you tell people you're writing a book and they're like, yeah, I've always wanted to do that, I keep thinking of next time I'm on vacation or I have a long weekend, I'm going to just write a book. So people way underestimate the amount of time and energy it takes to write a book. And so being aware of that upfront and blocking that time out and working on that timeline is going to be really helpful. The sooner you talk to me and Stephanie about what you want to accomplish, the sooner we can help you lay that path out and make sure you don't make mistakes and have to backtrack. So, like, we find sometimes people don't really know what they're doing, but they see something on the Internet, or somebody told them they went through this company, and they go give them a whole bunch of money. And they find out that they don't actually get what they thought they were getting and they're not really happy with the product. And then they got to come to us to fix it.

[00:19:20.210] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
Well, you bring up a good point on budgeting, Jen. Budgeting isn't just dollars, it's also your time. We are asking readers to invest in us in two ways, financially and time. And when you are coming to the table author without you knowing, you have to budget twice. I was on the phone the other day with our web developer Sandy, and I was telling her about all the books in my head and she just shakes her head like everybody else does in my life. And she goes, okay, Stephanie, how are you budgeting your time? How are you planning? And I'm like, I'm not and I have to do it, but it's just a reminder of it. I don't know about you, Jen. I have asked God many times for more hours in the day.

[00:20:06.880] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
We're not getting them right.

[00:20:08.520] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
Our resources are limited time wise. And if you come to the table wanting something done faster, don't think that it's just your service provider or books industry support professional trying to take advantage of you. They might have to go find somebody else to get to the team to help in that crunch time period. And because of that, it might be in a different price point. It might be with a different requirement. It might mean that they have to do something. And that's many times why the rush charges exist. It's not to take advantage of you guys, my friends, it's literally because it's not how the process normally runs. And we have to find other people to fill that gap to support your need.

[00:20:52.080] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
It's true. It's true. Most of us do stay pretty busy. And so to put something in on a crunch time and I think at certain times time becomes even more valuable than money. There's many things I will pay for to save myself time. And so when you're asking someone to give up some of their time to read a book, telling a friend of mine, of course I'm a voracious reader, and the last three or four books I started, I did not finish. I was like, I don't have time for this. I don't have time for a poor quality book. It's bad because I really want to like those books, but I don't have the luxury. I have way too many books to get through and I just don't have the time and energy to deal with that. And it is what it is. But that's something you have to recognize about your reader, is that they will have time limits. And so who is your ideal reader? If we go back to the goal of your book and start talking about who your ideal reader is and how much time they have. If you are hitting a high end market where they do not have as much time or their time is more precious to them, and you're going to be charging a premium, then you better plan on putting a high quality product out to attract their attention or they will not bother with it.

[00:22:09.150] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
Yeah, it's competitive out there.

[00:22:11.530] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
It is very competitive. Like in fiction where it's less of an issue because a lot of people, you have whale readers or people that love to read certain genre and they'll just read through lots and lots of books. It's a very crowded market, you still have to stand out. But fiction books can be much more of an impulse buy. You're paying $4.99 for an ebook versus in the nonfiction world, you're going to pay significantly more, maybe $15 or something for an ebook. But it's the person's time. I mean, $15, I'm happy to pay $15 if I get information that's going to save me time, money, whatever, that's a bargain. But don't waste my time with 3 hours of wandering nonsense that's going to make me more upset than the $15. Right?

[00:22:59.560] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
Yeah, you actually lose money off your friends if you do that. And if you aren't considerate of your target reader because those 3 hours that they're wandering could have been time that they could be spent promoting your message and they won't.

[00:23:14.590] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
So think about your time frame and your time and how long you really want to spend and it will probably take you longer than you would like. And that is just with anything, right? People who have houses built or work done on your house or landscaping or anything that costs money, that's a project with multiple stages often takes longer. And I like to budget, I budget in extra time into our schedule for that reason. Because life happens, people get sick, things get in the way. And so we like to budget those time things in. But those are things you need to be thinking about. If you've got a specific date or specific event that you want your book to be available for, then we need to make sure that we know that upfront. And then finally, I will just give you a quick overview of all of the whole process. And each week this month, we'll take a section of those and we'll talk about the specific costs in each of those areas because maybe you'll do all of them, maybe you'll just do pieces of them. You might make different decisions in different pieces.

[00:24:22.060] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
And so we'll do a little deep dive in there. But what I find is most people really just don't understand how the whole system works. And so we'll just do a little overview of that. So you kind of have a high level view and then you can talk about it the rest of the month. But it really starts with writing the book. Most people, a lot of them think they have to do this all on their own. And this is very hard if you are not a writer by trade, even if you are and you want to write there is a lot to learn about the craft of writing.

It truly is an apprenticeship, and it can be very long and time consuming. And people a lot of times will come in with basically a rough draft and they feel like it's the finished product, and then they get frustrated that there's lots of rounds of revisions. And so we're professionals. We know what a professional book looks like. Again, we're going to look at the goal of your book, and if it's simply for friends and family, it may not need as an extensive editing, but if you plan on doing it professionally, then we want you to put out a professional book.

[00:25:26.680] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group

[00:25:27.230] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
So what happens is really the first step is coaching, getting some help writing your book. And so we do draft support coaching and revision coaching to help you get through it. If you write fiction, I actually have a fiction course to help you write your book all the way through it, because it can seem incredibly daunting to look at a book and go, oh my gosh, I have this idea. I've gotten 20 pages in and I'm not sure what else to say.

[00:25:55.650] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
Yeah, I'm working close to our stuff, too.

[00:25:57.730] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
It's too close to it.

[00:26:00.210] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
Even if you do this on the regular, you need to invest. And again, this is either time and learning or financially and getting help in the process to ensure that the book you're writing is one that you're going to be proud of when you're done and decades later.

[00:26:16.120] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Yes, absolutely. We don't ever want anyone to feel embarrassed by the book that they've put out. We want you to be proud of it. And so getting that help, the sooner you get help it's the funny thing about the brain. Once you've written something down, it's much harder to change it. I always say fast setting cement. We get really married to the order, the word, all of that. And so the sooner in the process you actually get help, the better. Even if it's just, I can't afford a whole coaching, but can I get on a strategy call? I'm happy to talk with people through a strategy call and say, okay, this is what you want to accomplish. Here are my suggestions about how you should go about doing it. So definitely get some help at the front end with the coaching to help you write your book. Now, again, this can vary a strategy session with someone like me, it's $300 for an hour. We get on a zoom call. I look at some of your stuff ahead of time, and we just talk through it. You get recordings afterwards you can go through. You come away with a strategy.

[00:27:21.310] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
I usually do a six month coaching program and depending if it's fiction or nonfiction, but it usually ends up being about $300 a session. And you submit your work, we look at it, we talk through it, we develop a plan. So you've got somebody working with you all the way through. Most of the coaching stuff is in that ballpark. You might find some people who are a little less, you'll definitely find people who are more. But generally most places will want you to have a four to six month commitment. It just takes that amount of time to work with somebody on getting this book in shape. And so once you have the book written, then there's the editing process. And so the editing process is developmental editing, which is looking at the structure of the book. So a lot of people come here into that places a lot of times where we see them at the beginning. And if you get coaching and that goes really well, many times you can skip a developmental edit. Usually the developmental edit, almost everybody. If you have not been through coaching, you need a developmental edit.

[00:28:34.840] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
And again, this is looking for structure of the book. If it's fiction, you're looking at character arcs, character growth. But in non fiction, you want to look at the journey of transformation that your reader is going to go through. We want to make sure that we're making sense of that. You really need that structure. After that is the copy edit. Now, for many people, this is what they think of as editing. This is fixing the sentences and the word flow and the grammar and making it look really pretty. But you don't want to polish something if you might delete that whole section. If it's not working, if it's a rabbit trail or maybe it needs to be expanded. So we want to make sure that we have the book and the structure that we want. That's why we do the developmental edit first. Before we go into copy edit, I'm very reluctant to pick up somebody at the copy edit stage. I almost always ask for a sample of your work to see if it's ready to do that. Now sometimes, and this is the part that's a little weird, is that not everybody uses the same terms in publishing and not everybody means the same thing by the terms.

[00:29:42.760] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
So there's also something called a line edit. And the way I think of a line edit is it kind of sits between a copy edit and a developmental edit, or it's a copy edit one. So while it does everything a copy edit does, it will also look a little bit into structure and flow and things like that. But it's not going to be the same level of depth that you would get with a line edit or with a developmental edit. So some people will hear about a line edit. And if you get a line edit, if someone's offering you a line edit, again, ask for their definition. What does that mean? How many passes are we talking about? Get the nitty gritty from them. Because again, everybody means different things like that. But in general a line that is sort of like a copy edit plus, but it's not as in depth as a developmental edit. So some people can get by with a line if they're experienced writers, if it looks clean, they can sometimes get by with a line edit instead of a copy of it.

[00:30:45.070] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
Well, and when you think of a budget standpoint, this is also just good to know that any form of editing is usually in alignment with the number of words or the number of pages that you've written. And every editor is different. Some do it on pages, some do it on word count, some even do by hour.

[00:31:03.810] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
It seems really hard. Yeah, I know how many hours it's going to take me to do something generally, but that's just for my own scheduling purposes. But most times it is word count. So obviously a bigger book is going to take more time and it's going to cost more. And so those are definitely concerns and when we talk about this next week, we'll dive into those numbers more deeply and then we go into the proof reading, which is looking at for errors and all the final polishing. We're not making changes at this point and I always recommend fresh eyes, somebody who has not seen your manuscript before. Please don't have your previous editors do a proofread. Your brain will want to see what's supposed to be there rather than what's the editing piece. And I'm going to run through the rest fairly quickly because I know we're getting close on time. But after that we go into the production stage. So production is going to be formatting your book for print and ebook, getting a book cover, metadata, everything runs on metadata these days, book description. How are you going to sell your book?

[00:32:15.710] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
This is a marketing piece and it should be something that's going to make people want to pick up your book and then we're going to be talking about then you go into the launch and the marketing. So how do you get your book out there in the actual launch and what are your ongoing goals? To continue to grow your audience. So that is the whole process and it is a lot. And so if you're not familiar with it, you're not going to know what's going to come next and you're not going to be understanding what is industry standard. You don't want your book to not look like your competitors. You don't want it to look like, wow, that looks like it was homemade, right? You want it to look like it goes in. So we're going to need to talk about how you can work through all those things in the budget for the rest of the rest of the month.

[00:33:03.120] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
We'll do a deep dive. It's a lot. Does it mean it has to cost a lot? No. Does it mean you have to take all the money out of your retirement to do it? No. Does it mean that you can collect pennies on the ground and pay for it? No. It all goes back to why you're writing this book. That will be directional to identify what parts of the process on budgeting and build out matter to you. And there isn't one right way or wrong way. I always tell people when it comes to publishing and even marketing, if somebody tells you there's only one way to get from point A to point B, run for the hills, because there is a lot, it all goes back to your why. And I think your why in book production and publication, leveraging and promoting is so important and I think it will let you know how much time you should invest, how much money you should invest, where you should invest and where you shouldn't. So I'm really excited about this chat, Jen. I know it's not something I hear many people in our industry even talking about because it's uncomfortable. But I'm glad.

[00:34:08.590] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Yeah. And the numbers can be like I said, they mean different things to different people. So whenever you hear a number, you need to really ask, what is this involved? What am I getting for this? So that is the main thing we want to educate you on is how to understand what it is that you're getting, making sure you're getting the right thing. Well, today's quote from the book is, I talked about this last couple of weeks ago, the Undefeated Marketing System by Philip He has this great line. I think this is a very key thing. You will totally agree with this. The best marketing creates sustainable growth without relying exclusively on your advertising budget. That is the goal is to create a great product and a great marketing system so you're not having to pay for advertising. Yes, you may pay some, that can be a tactic. But throwing money, someone says throwing money at a bad project just makes it fail faster.

[00:35:10.130] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
It's so true, right? Add to it, money doesn't fix everything. If someone asks me, Stephanie, in this whole process, what do I need to invest in? I always say you have to invest in a good cover and great editing, man, if you don't have those two things and that's the product, that's the proof in the pudding. If you don't have a good book, you will never sell your book.

[00:35:33.370] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Very true.

[00:35:35.370] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
Yeah, this is good. Thank you for sharing all that. I love that quote. I need to read that book.

[00:35:40.530] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
I know, it's a good book. It's very interesting. I'm almost done with it.

[00:35:45.710] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
I've got a couple of questions.

[00:35:46.740] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
I read it at lunch. So.

[00:35:50.670] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
I love it. I love it. So next week we're going to dive into the writing portion and the editing.

[00:35:56.610] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
We're going to dive into that piece and talk about some numbers there and what your options are.

[00:35:59.990] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group

[00:36:02.240] - Jennifer Crosswhite, Tandem Services Ink
Well, authors, your message matters, you matter, and your book matters. So we invite you each week to join us as we take that beyond to the page and beyond as we help you talk about all things book writing and marketing related. So have a great rest of your week.

[00:36:18.590] - Stephanie Feger, emPower PR Group
We'll see you next week. Thanks for tuning in. Bye.

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