If one of the large Publishers likes your writing they will probably draft a Profit and Loss statement for your book. The P&L includes costs such as editing, jacket design, image settings, print settings, page layout, printing costs, and overheads such as, marketing, administration etc. The profit side is estimated by the number of expected sales which in the main will be for books but could also include other spin offs such as the sale of TV and film rights. The estimated profits will probably be based on the returns they have had from similar books.
The new Self Publisher will not have had much experience to make a judgement about estimated profits. Although they may have done some market research which is easier with nonfiction than fiction as the market is less difficult to define.
It will greatly help put the project in perspective by listing all the costs entailed. Self Publication is a business and as such needs a business plan. However, unlike most business plans where there is the need to satisfy potential investors, the planner must look at the reason why he or she wished to self publish in the first place. If it is to make a profit they should stop at this point. If it is a desire to see one’s work in print and have it read by others then it will help to work out how much they can afford to spend.
A good Self Publication plan will prevent a novice writer’s dream from turning into a financial nightmare. The book may even sell enough copies to attract the attention of a mainstream publisher. Presenting them with a well set out realistic plan may even tempt them to take you on and by doing so use their greater marketing resources to further your dream of becoming a successful published writer.