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How much does it cost to publish a book in the UK?

Updated: Jun 12, 2023


Writing and publishing a book can be a daunting task, especially for first-time authors. One of the most common questions aspiring authors ask is, "How much does it cost to publish a book in the UK?" The truth is that there is no simple answer to this question as the cost of publishing a book can vary widely depending on several factors. In this blog post, we will explore some of the costs involved in publishing a book in the UK and provide some guidance on how much you can expect to spend.

The Cost of Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishing is the route that most authors dream of taking as it involves a publishing house taking care of everything from editing to printing and distribution. Traditional publishing is by definition free, but routes to traditional publication are often limited due to the size of the UK book market. The cost of traditional publishing should be taken on by the publisher and as a result, the author will receive diminished royalties as compensation. In general, publishers will offer an advance against royalty payments to the author. This advance can range from a few thousand pounds to several hundred thousand pounds, depending on the book's commercial potential, though the latter are scarce. However, this advance is not free money, and the author must pay it back through book sales before receiving additional royalties.

Note: a trustworthy publisher will never request that you pay for publishing services, marketing, printing or distribution of your books. If you have concerns with the reputation of a publisher, ask another publisher, they will always be honest about the pitfalls of the industry.

The Cost of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is a more affordable option for authors who want to retain full control of their book's content and distribution. The cost of self-publishing can vary depending on the services the author chooses to use. For instance, authors can choose to use free services like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, which allows them to publish their eBooks for free. However, authors who want to publish a print book will need to invest in editing, formatting, cover design, and printing services. In general, authors can expect to spend between a few hundred to a few thousand pounds to self-publish a book in the UK, depending on the cost of editing, marketing, and cover design.


Publishing a book in the UK can be a daunting process, but it is one that can be incredibly rewarding. The cost of publishing depends on the publishing route the author chooses. Traditional publishing is the least expensive option, however, royalties rates will be lower, but it offers the author the most support and marketing. Self-publishing is a more affordable option for authors who want to retain full control of their book's content and distribution, but the burden of work and promotion is solely on the author. Whichever option you choose, it is important to be aware of the costs involved and plan accordingly.

If you have any questions about the publishing process, whether traditional or self-publishing, speak to the team at Northodox Press, who are here and happy to help authors realise their publishing goals.

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