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When you self publish a book, you need to create a budget for marketing, printing, and editorial help. Most experts suggest setting at least a $2000 budget for production and editing, and another $2000 for marketing. If you can spend more than the suggested budget, then your book may have an advantage, (know that when you self publish a quality book it can be expensive when you first start up your company).
Self published books require two kinds of investments: investments in capital and investments in yourself. As in any businesses, there must be enough money to print the book, send out review copies, sustain a successful advertising campaign, etc. The amount of investing you will have depends on many factors:
If you're thinking about self-publishing your first book and quitting your day job, that may not be realistic. It takes time to build up any business, and it will take time to build up your self-publishing business. It's not fair to say that many self-publishers are not profitable—they are. However, like most businesses, self-publishing is not a "get rich quick" scheme and it shouldn't be seen as one.
Yes, you do have to pay for book overruns up to 10% of your ordered quantity when you self publish a book. If, for example, you order 200 books, and 210 or 220 books are shipped, you must pay for the extra 10 or 20 books. The reason is that book printers cannot estimate spoilage in the printing press process exactly.
According to the custom, a 10% book overrun or a 10% book underrun counts as a complete job. You get charged for a book overrun and credited for a book underrun. If you absolutely must have a minimum quantity of self published books, then the spoilage factor doubles to 20% on the plus side. If your minimum is 200 books, for example, then you must accept an overrun of up to 240.
If you don't have enough money to finance a print book, try some creative ways to generate cash to help raise money for the self publishing cost.
You will not receive payment for late delivery of your books, unless you have a written guarantee of a specific date spelling out the conditions and/or consequences if that date is not met. Book printers have a general idea how long it takes to print a book in their plant. The actual time it takes depends more often on you. There are many questions to consider, including:
When you set a budget for your self publishing cost, don't forget the cost in time and energy. You will have to devote a large part of your time to marketing and promoting your book. Do you have that time to invest? If you can honestly say "yes," then get that book published! If you have a busy schedule that you can't push aside for a while, then self publishing is not an option. Self publishing takes up a large amount of time. And, if you want to be successful, it can't take a backseat to anything else.