Written By: Jackie Weger - Apr• 22•16

Do you need money to hire Beta Readers? Copy Editors? Cover Artists?

What about a bit of pocket change to promote your book?

Snipit dollar signsWell, most of us do. We indie authors are up against it. One lament I hear every single time I visit a forum or a Facebook group is: “I can’t afford _______.”  Just fill in the blank. Some of us lie to ourselves because we don’t want to afford those services.  And gosh, it sounds just fine to plead poverty. Gives the image of the struggling author living in a cold-water garret suffering for his craft. Some consider publishing a book an adventure. “Hey, if I make a little money on the side, great. If not, I’m in the groove. I’m a published author.” Chatting that up on a first date, or with the carpool mommies, or at cocktail parties has more cachet than saying, “I work at Walmart.”

BUT! If you are serious about your books and want the best for them, you have to find the money somewhere, somehow,  to hire a beta reader, a cover artist or fund that Bookbub slot. I’m gonna tell you some easy ways to get that money up. It’s nothing more than reallocating the resources you have in your pocket right now, curbing a few expenditures and perhaps a wee bit of sacrificing. Once you get that ball rolling and sell a few books and have a royalty check rolling in every month, you won’t have to continue budget tightening.

Snipit pennies

It’s Leap Year. Save all of your pennies and loose change in the kitchen for good luck. On December 31, you’ll have a couple of pounds of change. Bank it, and start anew . Pennies count.

TIP ONE: Did you know that if you are a household of one or two, you are spending not less than $400 a year on paper towels? Add a puffer-munchkin or two and that rises to not less than $600 a year. On paper towels. Here’s what I did. I pulled my oldest towels out of my linen box and cut those suckers up into six or eight. I haven’t bought a roll of paper towel in three years.

TIP TWO:  Turn off your hot water heater at the junction box at night, or during the day, if no one is home. I save $20 to $22 a month on my power bill doing so. $240 a year.

Just those two tips and you will have in hand enough $$$ for a beta reader or proof reader, a fantastic professional cover and enough to pay for a Bookbub promo slot for a FREE campaign. It is a fact, we spend the most money in our kitchen, bathrooms and laundry. And yes, I use cents off coupons. Once or twice a year, I plot an extreme coupon shopping trip. I order my coupons from Coupon Dede.  I recycle aluminum cans, too. Bought a can crusher at Ace Hardware and hung it on the back kitchen wall. I take cans to the recycling center twice a year. It is not much money, but it buys a tank or two of gas. I’m in the habit of doing those things, so I continue even as a royalty check rolls in every month. I use it to have memes designed or website banners and pay maintenance on my websites and blogs because I am not tech savvy.

If you are adult enough and focused enough to write a book and publish it, you have enough sense to look at your spending habits and how to budget. How dedicated you are to doing the best you can for your book will influence how serious you are or not about authorship.

Jackie Weger

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I’m Jackie Weger. Thank you for stopping by. Comments welcome. If you have a savings tip, please share it.

@Jackie Weger 2016



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  1. This is very true, Jackie, even if sometimes we get annoyed/depressed about it. In the end, though, if you were starting a business, you would put back a lot of your money back into it, wouldn’t you, to help it grow?

  2. As usual, great post, Jackie.
    All authors (both indie and the others) need to produce the best product they possibly can.

  3. Donna Fasano says:

    There are so many ways to conserve and save. Although my intention wasn’t to save money, I cut back on food consumption since last November. I stopped buying snacks altogether and focused on a fresh, plant-strong diet. I’ve lost 20 lbs. I have more energy. My mind is clearer. AND I have saved 30% or more on my food budget. That’s huge! Another idea would be to stop smoking. I’ve never smoked, but I know people who do, and I know cigarettes are extremely expensive. Another expensive habit is alcohol. Okay, I can’t give up wine altogether, but I have backed off. These money-savers allow me to increase my book-preparation budget. When you’re an indie author, it’s all about priorities.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you, Donna: Woot! Knocking 30% off your food bills is impressive. I stayed away from suggesting writers do away with what some call vices, like drinking or smoking…because many find those a moral issue. Author choice. There is such a thing as real poverty in the USA and elsewhere…but folks who can afford a computer or two, an iphone, an ipad, internet service and phone service, cable TV, flat screen TVs, two vehicles, an RV, a round of golf on Sunday–are ‘poor mouthing’ because they ain’t living in poverty.

  4. Great ideas, Jackie! After reading your post, I realized that I do spend a fortune on paper towels. Convenient? Yes, but what a waste of money. And, you’re so right, it’s money that could be spent on improving my books. Thank you so much for sharing these awesome ideas.

  5. Every little saving helps.
    I pack lunch for work instead of going out to eat – saves $ and healthier food.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thanks Aurora. Eating at your desk is a huge $$ saver… at least a savings of $50 a week, but you have to put that $$$ in a box or in your Paypal account to use for your book. It is what we save and next…where and how we apply the savings. It has to be actual cash.

  6. Traci Hall says:

    Great tips–I don’t know that I could give up paper towels or wine, lol. But I drink my coffee at home instead of Starbucks and that saves $$

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Golly, Traci! When did a coffee become so costly? Or an event? If my nearest Starbucks was within walking distance–I’d live there. But the most astonishing thing to me is counter help expects tips. I grew up learning one tipped service people. Hairdressers–but never the shop owner because the shop owner takes 25% of the staff’s earnings. I have always tipped our trash pick up team and mail carrier at Christmas. Still do. So, you are saving an extra dollar every time you bypass a Starbucks.

  7. Laurie Boris says:

    You make some great points here, Jackie, thank you. If we want to produce a professional product and make a go at self-publishing, you may have to spend for a few services. I’ve started tucking away a monthly budget for promotion and editing, but I’ve also made a few adjustments to my spending. I’ve cut out the fancy coffees, I think two and three times before a purchase, and I don’t remember the last time we bought a roll of paper towels. This way, I’m usually ready if a good promo opportunity comes up.

  8. You have to spend money to make money – completely agree.

  9. Good insight, I am a proponent of breaking down a goals into smaller bite-sized pieces. They are so attainable then. The form of advice you dispense is transferable to many things. Don’t discount the small things, they add up.

  10. Lois Lewandowski says:

    Great ideas, Jackie.
    Most people have no idea how to budget. I bring my lunch to work nearly every day.
    Once we’ve celebrated my daughter’s wedding I’ve got a million blog and book promo plans. The budgeting I got used to in the past year and a half will be funneled into those projects.
    To produce a professional product you need to carefully choose your service providers. Beta-reading, editing, cover design, and formatting are requirements unlike a cup of Starbuck’s coffee. Although I do buy my coffee beans on sale. 🙂

  11. Thanks for the tips, Jackie. We eat at home 99% of the time, use cloth napkins (okay this is more a preference than a saving method, but they make great subs for paper towels when old), and use coupons. It hurts, but I buy a BookBub slot as often as they allow me to, but it always pays for itself in new readers. I have great beta readers and I get them by putting my email address in the back of every book and ask them to let me know it they spot a boo-boo. If they do find something and let me know, I offer them a Beta Read slot.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Smart you, Jinx Schwartz. I am going to use that idea to collect beta readers or something similar. From the get go I never told myself I could NOT afford a Bookbub. Instead, I asked myself, How I could afford it? I gave up Bingo. And I Luuuv Bingo.

  12. Annie Daylon says:

    This post doubles as Frugal Friday help for writers and Earth Day advice for all. Thanks, Jackie. 🙂

  13. TJ Shortt says:

    Eeek! Paper towels. Wow! I never realized how much cash is wasted on that little convenience.
    Great post, as usual. Thanks, Jackie!

  14. You’re right, Jackie. If authors aren’t willing to make the sacrifices necessary to promote their books, they’ll never be able to compete in today’s marketplace.

  15. Mimi Barbour says:

    I know what you mean by budgeting expenses for creating and publishing a good product. But we all have to realize that our books are a commodity we’re selling and that the competition is too darn high not to put out the very best. Thanks for the suggestions, Jackie 🙂

  16. Mary Smith says:

    I’ve already given up smoking (did it before they banned it in public places cos I so didn’t want to feel like a social pariah hanging out in doorways to smoke) but I’m not giving up my wine. I reckon I could give up paper towels, though – thanks for letting us know how much we spend on them.
    I make a habit of putting my loose change in a jar – call it my ‘mad money’. When the jar is full I take it to the bank which has a wonderful machine. I love pouring the coins in. It rattles away then gives me a slip with the amount on it. I can either take the cash or pay it in to my account towards my next promo. It’s cash I never miss and it’s surprising how it mounts up.

  17. Polly Iyer says:

    When I started this journey, I decided to learn how to do the mechanics: cover and formatting. Granted, I have an art degree, so the cover was a challenge I was up to. Computer techie I am not, but a friend taught me how to format. I have a good editor and a good critique partner. Learn to do the basics. It’s not hard once you learn.

    I will have to learn about shutting off the hot water, especially when we’re away. Good tips, Jackie.

  18. Julie Frayn says:

    This is true of so many things. If you truly want it, there is money to be saved. But paper towels? Noooo! I need those… 🙂 I could save a bundle if I gave up wine and beer. But I won’t. So this year, my savings plan is to buy no new shoes – note one pair – and no new clothes. Instead, I traded in my old car. Got a used car too (one with great gas mileage). Another way to save. Oh yes, it can be done. Even if it hurts.

  19. Great ideas for cost-saving, Jackie, and I agree with what Donna Fasano said. I don’t smoke either but I know from friends that if you cut down it’s a great saving. I live in Greece and over the years since the crisis began my husband and I have been cutting down on all extra expenses. For example, we installed a system on the boiler that provides hot water in the taps during winter when the oil heating is working. A solar concentrator takes care of the same problem in the summer. Other than that, we’ve cut down on petrol costs by using public transport whenever possible. The savings have been substantial.

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