When it comes to design, of course, saving on the cover is not an option. You have to hire a professional designer. I’m pretty photoshop savvy and I can mock up a decent cover, but there are rules and guidelines a lot of people who don’t design covers for a living don’t know about: fonts, elements positioning, colors and other things (especially for full wraps). So, I definitely recommend hiring a professional designer, but my budget ratio for 1:10. I spent 10 times more on editing/development than I spent on my cover. The designers’ prices range anywhere from $100 to $1000 (and more), so there’s some flexibility to budget for that.
I would recommend a developmental editor for a newbie. I had two rounds of betas: pre-editor and post-editor. The things that I learned from the developmental editor are priceless. I am applying all that knowledge to my next project, but I think as the author starts releasing more books, using only betas is probably a good alternative too. I hope to get to that point in a couple of books.
As for copy editing, I agree. That’s where most my budget went: developmental and copy editing.
Anna Todd! If you’re on Wattpad, you need to know who Anna Todd. Just kidding. But yes, she made it big with her fanfiction she wrote on here, got a publishing deal, got a movie deal. She’s done very well. And she started writing on here. There was an interview with her recently (can’t remember what publication) where she shared her experience about self-publishing her latest work after being originally a trad author. It was an interesting read.
I’d say romance genre has been developing a little differently in term of self-publishing. I wasn’t reading much of it until I realized it’s something that comes naturally to me when I write. So most of my research is done in that niche. And I have to tell you, I’ve learned a lot of tricks for the past few months.
I’ll come back here in a few weeks after I see how things are going.