Before you read this post, see Dean Wesley Smith’s “Dumbest New Myth In Writing” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/dumbest-new-myth-in-writing/. It’s important.
I also recommend you read the comments that follow the post. Tons of very useful, practical information there.
After you’ve read it, here’s my take on the topic of what it costs to indie publish a book, step by step:
Step one: I agree. Duh.
Step two: If you have a good grounding in the rules of grammar and syntax and if you have a good first reader, you can skip the copyeditor. Cost: Free.
Note: If you DO need a copyeditor, yes, about 1/2 cent per word. So going with Dean’s example, $250.
Step three: Vellum is only for Apple (Mac) operating systems. (If you don’t have a Mac and you want to use Vellum, see How To Use Vellum On A PC.)
Also, it isn’t difficult to format a Word doc so it will look good in ebook. To learn how, you can download a PDF copy of my free Essentials of Digital Publishing. Cost: Free.
Note: I don’t do paper books, but I suspect Amazon Kindle Print offers extensive guidance. Cost: free.
Step four: Purchase Serif PagePlus X9 and use it to design your covers. You buy the program outright (not a subscription). Cost: $20.
Note: Affinity Publisher is also available now. You can read about it at the same link.
Step five: I agree with Dean, but I have to add that there are also royalty-free FREE art sites. Unsplash.com is my favorite. There’s also Pixabay and others. Cost: Free.
Step six: Upload the formatted version to D2D, Amazon et al. Cost: Free.
So if you skip Vellum, the total investment to self-publish forever (without copyediting) is Serif PagePlus X9 for only $20.
With copyediting, you’ll have an additional per-book investment of .5 to 1 cent per word. If you need a copyeditor (see Step two above) this is an excellent investment, one you should be able to learn from so you might not need it in the future.
That’s it for this time. ‘Til next time, happy writing and publishing!