Current fees and costs


Custom title
I would like to have an idea of the actual costs I would need to face if I want to produce a "professional" product.
The assumption is a new rulebook of approx 200 pages.
To my knowledge the costs are:
1. Proofreading (the assumption is 200 A5 pages)
2. Editing (meaning the production of the final layout of the book, including fonts, background images for the interior pages)
3. Artwork for the cover (1 color piece of art)
4. Artworks for the interior (assuming one piece of art every 4 pages, we have 50 b/w pieces of art)
5. Maps (i assume 4 maps to be realized)
6. Final editing for a digital edition (tranformation in a pdf)
I assume no publishing costs as the solution would be Lulu, Drivetru or Amazon...

What would be your estimation for each lineitem and then the total cost?


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Well, that was fun
Staff member
It's impossible to say. Layout (which you call editing) say 2K, cover art say 500 (low end, can go into thousands depending), interior art say 5K, maybe lower if it's b/w, editing say 3-5c/w, which is low, so 200 x (guess 400 w/page?) is 80K words, so about 4K. I mean this is total guesswork as it varies enormously. You can save a lot by using stock art. Don't skimp on the editing. I'm assuming you are writing it yourself, as you haven't accounted for writing there. So in the 10K region total. Kickstarter is your friend!

(Obviously you can skimp on stuff, pay lower than average etc., but I'm assuming you don't plan to do that).


Small God of the Dozens
On the art front I can only speak to the one game I recently bought art for, after some searching around. I ended up paying $300 CDN for 6 half page B&W spreads (for a perhaps 50 page game), and they are really nice, so I was pretty happy. I have no idea how that compares to any kind of 'average' though. I'm doing the writing, editing and layout myself, so I haven't looked into those. That said, if my learning curve with Affinity doesn't get any smoother I may outsource the layout just to save my sanity. :) I think Morrus' comment about editing should be repeated as well. I am going to do my own editing, but I'll still need at least one other set of eyes as editing your own stuff is actually really hard.

Art Waring
Hiring freelance artists to do illustrations can get pretty expensive very fast, depending on who you are working with and what you are asking for.

If possible, try getting some stock art or getting a friend you know to do some cheap preliminary sketches to at least get an idea of what you want visually on the cover, then try and work with an artist to accomplish what you can together given your budget.

If you are writing the book yourself this cuts down on costs considerably, but you will be doing all the work up front yourself.

My advice is to keep working on what you have in front of you, keep your own pace so you don't burn out, and take breaks so you have time to think about what you are writing away from when you are actually at your desk writing.

Additionally, I had to learn this the hard way, but there's nothing wrong with coming to a point in the project where you realize you cant do everything by yourself.

I was originally making all of the art, doing all the writing, editing, and layout and it was starting to feel like serious full-time work. Hiring a freelancer can take some of the load off of you, but there are no surefire solutions. Especially for indie content creators on a limited budget.


Bear in mind that most people are amateurs when it comes to writing. Sure you can put words on a page to share information, just like you can pick up a pencil and sketch a wizard or a goblin. But your readers will see the standard of quality, just as they would with an amateur's art - and while some of the drawings in the old 1st edition AD&D books had a goofy charm about them, bad writing is almost always off-putting.

This applies at every single level of your text: the order of the chapters of your book, how the sections within those chapters are organised, how the information is structured and presented (right down to the word order in individual sentences), and of course vocabulary, spelling and grammar.

Do yourself a favour and don't cheap out on the editing and proofreading. Don't think that whatever writing course you took at uni is enough. Writing and editing takes lots of practice, and even if your readers don't actively appreciate the effort and cost, they'll resent it and feel disrespected if the text doesn't meet a decent standard.

Disclaimer: I'm a professional editor and have strong feelings on the subject.


Small God of the Dozens
The above is solid gold. I happen by circumstance to have a whole lotta writing under my belt, of many sorts, but even then still need someone to reign in my more baroque linguistic habits. Editing, just to reiterate, is NOT easy, and having your buddy read something isn't the same as having it edited by a pro. This isn't grade six Language Arts any more. :D


Custom title
Thanks a lot for your advices!
Just a couple of additional questions:
  • do you think the layout/background of the page is smtg important or a detail which can be skipped?
  • what are stock artworks? Apologies this is an unexplored field... Do you mean that there are websites where i can buy fantasy images? But once i use them, i can find the same images also in other books?
  • re to the proofreading (which i do not consider to be only this as "editing"), is it better to go with someone non-pro but expert in rpgs or a pro (who doesn't necessarily know about rpgs)? ...pls do not reply me that a pro in the rpg market is the best option...

A last comment (it is not a proper question): even the definition of "editing" is not clear to me, afaik there are two moments for the editing: the first one is when you organize the structure of your book, meaning the correct sequence of the topics and the way these will be written. Then there is a second editing, which is the revision of the contents, the proofread, the layout of the pages and the final definition of the structure of the book (which might differ from the one originally conceived). Is that all these things editing, or am i including too many activities within the word "editing"?


Custom title
Kickstarter is your friend!

(Obviously you can skimp on stuff, pay lower than average etc., but I'm assuming you don't plan to do that).
Well re to Kickstarter, I still do not understand the underlying logic... From one side I am aware of the fact the KS is born to help projects for people like me who are not a pro/company in the industry. On the other side my first thought goes against some projects done by companies in the industry which should not have the same need...
At the end of the day I think that I should be wrong with my first thought: if I want to do everything correctly, I have to bear an amount (say Morrus' educated guess of 10k); therefore I run a kickstarter; but time-wise there is smtg not working because even if I have everything ready from my side, I would need the time to do the editing, do the proofread, buy artworks, do the final editing... All these steps take a total timing by far more long than a KS campaign... As a conclusion, it seems more plausible to see projects done on KS by big companies...

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