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How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book in the UK

By 3 February 2023October 24th, 2023No Comments

The prices associated with publishing a book in the UK can vary greatly. You must do your research to ensure that you are getting the best deal that suits you and your book. Think about your motivation for wanting to publish your book, and then you will be better placed to compare different costs from various companies. If your book is accepted by a mainstream publishing house, then they will incur all the associated production costs, but authors will only receive low percentage royalty payments, so have to sell a vast quantity of books to earn a decent wage. In the self-publishing industry you will see the average cost ranging from hundreds to thousands of pounds, so make sure you understand exactly what you are paying for. On average people spend between £500 and £1200 on self-publishing their books. A good company will be very transparent about what is included in these costs. Make sure you understand this, as some services will be extra, but essential, elements of publishing your book. However, you will earn far more per book sale if you follow the self-publishing route, so it is important to consider this

ShieldCrest has two publishing options, the first is where distribution through retailers is required and the other option is where the work is to be used within a club or organisation and by a company for, say, training purposes. These books do not require an ISBN or uploading to retailers globally, consequently, they have a much lower publishing cost.

Introduction to UK Book Publishing Costs

We know how much time and effort goes into writing a book. But the work doesn’t stop there. Turning your manuscript into a physical book requires input from experienced professionals to ensure that the finished product is high-quality and well-produced. Our many years in the publishing industry mean that we have developed a highly polished system that allows us to provide an extremely affordable self-publishing service. Here we will break down how much does it cost to publish a book and the associated costs of producing your book so that you fully understand all the steps involved.

Average Prices Associated with Book Production

There are various steps to work through to publish a book. Each of these will piece together to turn your manuscript into a physical book that is designed to be attractive, engaging, and of high quality. We will work with you throughout each step, transforming your story into a published book.


You will have edited your book, again and again. You will have asked for feedback from trusted friends and family to ensure that your book is the very best that it can be. However, it is always sensible to have a professional editor to edit your book. Editors charge per word, and if you hire a freelance editor this cost can vary. Experienced editors will charge more, whereas a copy editor who is starting their career, may work at a reduced rate, though it will still cost within the hundreds for a good service. Here at ShieldCrest, we offer proofreading and editing at a reasonable rate, with clear pricing and excellent and experienced professionals ready to polish your manuscript. As an example, the proofreading costs for a 60,000-word novel will be around £360.


If your book is a non-fiction book then it sometimes helps to have an index, usually at the rear of the book. Indexing is another skilled job, requiring extreme attention to detail. If you hire a professional indexer, this could cost you around £400 to £500 depending on the number of pages and level of indexing required. ShieldCrest does indexing in-house so the cost is usually much lower. Indexing is not required for fiction books.

Cover Design

Although we know the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover,” sadly this is exactly what happens. People will pick your book up based on the cover design, the cover design will give them an insight into what your book is about. There is nothing more confusing than a book that does not match its cover. A good book cover design can tempt people to pick up your book and open the pages, then they will be hooked. Cover design can cost anything from the hundreds to the thousands, however, our publishing package includes a front and back cover, so you can take advantage of our in-house designers.


Formatting is another essential part of the publishing process of your book, which ensures that all the pages are numbered correctly and that the text is laid out correctly on the page. A book that is in a bad format will put readers off. We offer book formatting as part of our self-publishing package so that you can be sure that your book will have been correctly laid out.


Physical books are heavy in large quantities, they need storing and shipping, which all have associated costs. We include distribution as part of the service that we offer. However, if you are choosing to distribute your book yourself, then you will need to store your books and ship them as required to customers or distributors. While this cost may not be high, it is important to still consider it, when you are working out the average cost of publishing a book.

Book Marketing and Promotion Expenses

You can spend any amount of money on marketing your book. However, if you want people to buy your book, they need to know that it exists. Figures show that between 180,000 and 200,000 books are published each year by mainstream publishers, with an incredible 750,000 published through self-book publishers such as ShieldCrest. Amongst that quantity, how do you get your book noticed? Marketing. If you have a limited budget, you can just spend time on book marketing. Running your own social media campaign can be done for free, talking to people about your book – free, contacting your local papers, and local bookshops, all free. However, bear in mind that your time does have an associated cost. Not everyone feels comfortable doing their own marketing, and we offer a full range of marketing services to support the marketing and promotion of your book. This will give you access to an experienced marketing team, with excellent industry connections and networks.

Other Expenses

While we have covered the main costs connected with the average cost of getting a book published, there are a few other areas that it is worth considering. An ISBN registration gives you a unique reference code for your book, we offer this as part of our self-publishing package so that you have one less thing to worry about. Many authors like to have a headshot on their books. It is worth using a professional photographer for this, and costs will vary according to location and experience. If you are working out how much it costs to publish a book, then make sure you include all the potential costs, so that you don’t get surprised by additional costs at a later date.

Types of Book Publishers

There are two types of publishers; traditional publishing houses, and self-publishing houses. In ShieldCrest’s case, we have both. Our parent company, Pressman House Publishing, is a mainstream traditional publisher.

How much does traditional publishing cost?

In a traditional book publishing house, the publisher carries the costs of the publishing process. As an author, you will receive royalties for the sales of your book. Bear in mind that to get your book even looked at by mainstream publishers, you will have needed to get an agent, who will also take a cut. Your royalty payment will be quite small. Needless to say, very few new book authors are able to get their books published by a traditional publishing house as the risk of not being able to recover all the costs involved is too great.

How much does it cost to self-publish a book through ShieldCrest?

Here at ShieldCrest, we offer two different packages based on your needs and these are described in detail here. We will advise you on the best fit for you. We can also offer advice and other services to support you throughout the publishing process. Although you will need to pay some of the publishing costs yourself, you are likely to receive a far higher proportion of each book sale than through a traditional publishing house.

Publishing Costs By Book Genre

Different genres of books will incur different book publishing costs. The types of professional input needed for your book will affect how much it will cost.


Cookbooks will require exceptionally good photographs to go with the recipes. This can add to the book publishing costs. Some people hire a recipe tester, a professional who will ensure that your recipes are easy-to-follow and accurate. This may be worth considering, prices of recipe testers will vary according to experience and location.


Poetry books tend to have fewer words than novels, so you can save money on editing, and proofreading costs. However, poetry is a specialist area and often does not require editing. Some poets may want to consider investing in the investment of a dedicated poetry editor.


Children’s books have a lower word count which again can reduce the editing and proofreading costs. However, children’s books usually have illustrations. We have professional illustrators who can work with you to capture the essence of your story.

The Comic Book

Similar to children’s books, comic books will have a reduced spend on editing and proofreading, but a higher spend on illustrators. Or if you have produced a comic book in collaboration with an illustrator, then your costs may be low, but you will be splitting the profits.


The cost of publishing a novel will balance on the word count or length of the novel, as this is the variable associated with a novel. Editing is based on a price per word, so a longer novel will be more expensive.


Nonfiction books are costed on the same basis as novels unless they require indexing which is an additional cost.

Science fiction/fantasy

Science fiction or fantasy tends to be longer than standard novels. An average novel is around 60,000 words, whereas the average length of a science fiction book is 120,000 words. This additional word count will push your editing and proofing reading costs up.

Historical fiction

Historical fiction requires detailed fact-checking, which carries an associated cost, however, this is important for books in this genre.

How to Get Started with Book Publishing?

Don’t let your dreams of publication be derailed by the average costs of publishing a book. Regard it as an investment in your creativity. While it is theoretically possible to publish an ebook without spending a penny it is not something that is recommended. To persuade people to part with their hard-earned cash, they want to receive a product that is of high quality, well-presented, interesting, and engaging. They need to be able to locate, read, and enjoy it so that they can recommend it to others. This all requires input from different professionals who have worked for many years to understand and excel in their field. They all work together to transform your manuscript into a finished and sellable product.

ShieldCrest is here to bring your stories to life, no matter the type or genre of your writing. If you have the germ of an idea, then get writing, as we like to see your whole manuscript. If you have your manuscript ready then what are you waiting for? Our expert team here at ShieldCrest is ready to bring your book to life!

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