Self-publishing a book can be a costly process. Luckily, there are several financing options for aspiring authors trying to break into the industry.

You can get a loan to write a book. In fact, there are loan programs specifically geared towards authors who are trying to self-publish but need some financial help. Several financing options for self-published writers exist, including loans, crowd-funding, sponsorships, and grants. 

If you have a decent proposal, getting funding for a book is easier than it might seem. Read on to learn more about the different funding options and how to get them. Nothing in this article should be considered financial or legal advice: remember to always consult a financial advisor or lawyer before acting on anything you read at Letter Review.

How To Get a Loan To Self-Publish a Book

Self-publishing a book is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking, which can damper the excitement for your upcoming bestseller, but it doesn’t have to. Authors can get loans to help them fund publishing, as long as they can show they’re reliable, have a legitimate business practice, and are able to pay back their loans.

Proving you’re reliable is crucial. 

Lenders must compete with major publishing organizations and may not consider self-published authors as reputable. Because they are already potentially reluctant to lend to you, proving that you’re trustworthy is a must if you want to get a loan. 

This level of trust fluctuates depending on the self-published ebook market and how successful it is at that time. 

You’ll have to keep up with the trends to ensure your timing is right.

Loan Programs for Self-Published Authors

Some organizations are dedicated specifically to authors trying to self-publish their books, including the award-winning MindStir Media, which offers authors loans in various packages.

SmartBiz provides small business loans to authors specifically interested in publishing ebooks. Their page and information are detailed and transparent, so your application process will be straightforward and informed. 

If you don’t entirely trust any external organizations or don’t like their packages, you can apply for a personal loan at your bank.

There is potential for a business loan, but this requires you to confirm a legitimate business, provide financial records, and offer collateral if you can’t repay the loan. Personal loans are straightforward to arrange, and common uses include weddings or emergency debt payments. 

You do have to have a decent credit score for either loan type, though.

How Much Does Publishing a Book Cost?

Publishing your book can become quite expensive, depending on what you want the final product to look like. Questions will influence the cost, such as: 

  • Will you print hard copies? 
  • Will you hire a designer to create a cover design? 
  • Will you outsource marketing?

Publishing a book can cost anywhere from $300 to $3,000, with the average being closest to $3,000. This includes paying for editing and proofreading services, designers, marketing and advertising, and production, especially if you opt for a hard copy route.  

This cost is not fixed and can also vary according to the book’s genre. 

For example, comic books are relatively cheap to produce, whereas historical nonfiction is on the more expensive end of the slider.

So, before getting a loan, consider which genre you’re writing for and how much fact-checking, research, and editing it will need. After all, a considerable part of this total cost is dedicated to paying professional editors to ensure that your use of language is perfect. 

Even small mistakes here and there can lead to bad reviews, effectively ending your career before it’s taken off. 

Why Taking Out a Loan To Self-Publish Might Be the Wrong Choice

Ask anyone in a forum, whether it’s a professional or amateur, if you’ll be allowed to take out a loan to self-publish a book, and they will say yes. Unfortunately, this “yes” is immediately followed by a huge “but.” 

This means that if you have to take out a loan to self-publish, then maybe you shouldn’t be self-publishing.

The chances of your book making it big aren’t bad, but they aren’t great either. You’ll likely find that after you take out the loan, publish your book, and sell it, you’ll struggle to make this money back.

If you struggle to make money, your best-case scenario is making back just enough to repay the loan. But that doesn’t really allow you to live on your royalties because you’ll need to pay back your loans. 

You might have published your book, but you’re not making a living. 

Publishing a book is rarely the path to your big break, and taking out a loan will probably put you in a worse position than the one you started in. If you’re dead set on self-publishing but need financial assistance to do it, consider funding alternatives like crowd-funding or publication grants. 

Other Funding Options for Publishing a Book

Publishing a book with high-quality writing that looks good is a costly business, but you don’t have to pay straight out of your pocket for this big project.

There are three main options for funding an upcoming book:

  • Crowd-funding
  • Sponsorships
  • Publication grants

An additional option is to sell your writing or editing services. 

However, this is time-consuming and will likely take away time you could dedicate to refining your book. This is still an excellent option if you feel you can still reach your writing goals. 

Crowd-Funding 

One of the simplest ways to finance any project is crowd-funding through a legitimate crowd-funding organization, app, or website. Starting a GoFundMe or a Kickstarter is a simple and easy way to gather resources to start a project and keep it going. 

Though not all those who use crowdsourcing offer something to their donors in return, it’s recommended that you do. You can offer every donor a free copy of the book or promise a percentage of the amount sourced to charity. 

Sponsorships

Depending on the subject matter of your book, you could ask sponsors from a related cause, industry, or organization to sponsor your book in return for a donation or even a mention in your final work.

A great example is if you’re writing a book about US history, even if it’s historical fiction, you could ask the American Historical Association to sponsor you. In this case, it’s who you know, not what you know. Network, make connections, and even if you think your chances of getting sponsored are slim, ask anyway because you never know what might happen.

For more information on partnerships, sponsorships, and making professional connections, visit Grammar Factory Publishing Company’s guide. 

Publication Grants 

Receiving a grant to self-publish a book isn’t something people think about often, but there are a considerable amount of grant opportunities out there for authors. Some grants favor academic publications, such as US art history, but others extend to grants offered specifically to women, fiction grants, or overall writing grants. 

The Write Life lists 20 publication grants, which are worth thousands of dollars for aspiring writers, and information on how to apply for them. 

But you’ll need to research their application cycles before applying. 

For some valuable tips on applying for grants, Izzard Ink and Pen & the Pad discuss how to write a proposal, marketing, and other excellent advice you need to know. 

Key Takeaways

It’s not difficult to take out a loan to self-publish a book, and in fact, it’s pretty simple if you can prove that you’re financially reliable. That said, loans are a tremendous responsibility that might land you in debt instead of with a bestseller. 

There are many other funding options for the aspiring writer, which, when all things are considered, are safer options for your investment than a loan. Remember to consult a financial advisor or lawyer before taking any financial / legal action.

Categories: Funding

Ol Adams

Letter Review is currently edited by Ol Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Ol Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. Ol has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.