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Publishing a book used to be an expensive chore both in terms of time and money. You had to submit your work to a major publishing house, hope that it was accepted by their editors and review boards, and pay exorbitant publishing fees. After all that, there were extensive marketing and distribution methods and fees - all of which conspired to force many would-be authors to abandon their craft.

Start Your Self Publishing with Outskirts Press Today! Thankfully, times have changed. Today, anyone can have their work professionally printed, marketed, and distributed through a variety of self-publishing services.

Self publishing companies create books for thousands of authors every year thanks to advancements in computer technology and a concept called Print-On-Demand (POD) publishing. This concept allows for books to be quickly printed and shipped as they are ordered, which eliminates the need for large upfront costs and storage.

However, not all self publishing companies are created equal. There are a wide range of services that are (or are not) offered by these companies, including professional editing services, custom graphic work, book cover options, personalized photos, marketing methods, distribution services, fees, and perhaps most importantly, royalties paid to you, the author.

There are a number of self publishing companies that exist today. They all have different fee structures and specific services that they can provide. You should consider important aspects of each self publishing company before you decide to choose one. Some of these aspects include:

  • Cost and Fees. What is the cost to self-publish your book? Will they keep a percentage of each future sale?
  • Included services. Does the company provide a wide range of self-publishing services for one set fee, or do they provide a list of services that you can choose from?
  • Turn-around time. How fast can the self-publishing company produce your book?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best self publishing companies available today. We hope this information helps you start your publishing career right away!

Disclosure: We pay our reviewers and we are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details.

Self Publishing Reviews

5 stars
Outskirts Press

OUTSKIRTS PRESS Visit Site

Cost:

From $199 to $1,099

Author Royalties:


100%

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Outskirts Press is a self publishing company built for authors. With superior services, upfront pricing, and honest business practices, they are dedicated to ensuring the success of their authors.

Outskirts Press offers a number of affordable programs while still giving you a high level of service. Ranging from only $199 all the way up to $1,099, these levels let you choose which services can fit into your budget, while still letting you keep 100% of your royalties.

Outskirts Press offers a choice of 5 self-publishing programs ranging in cost from $199 for the most basic "Emerald" package to $1,099 for the most feature-rich "Pearl" package. These packages are clearly presented and allow for an easy side-by-side comparison of features.

All five packages provide a good set of basic services, including:

  • Customizable covers. Depending on the package you choose, you can select from between 2 and 25 customizable covers. For additional fees you can have their graphic artists design a completely unique custom cover - or, you can upload your own.
  • Paperback format
  • Standard interior formatting
  • Author marketing toolkit
  • Free author webpage

Depending on the self-publishing package you select, you also have a range of additional services available. Some of these include:

  • A choice of trim sizes and paper color
  • One-on-one assistance from a dedicated author representative
  • Document evaluation, including a marketability analysis of your book and suggestions for increasing its success
  • ISBN and Bar Code
  • Wholesale distribution to Ingram and Baker & Taylor
  • Distribution to several retail locations including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million
  • Online Marketing Coach toolkit
  • Additional manuscript discounts

In addition to all these features, Outskirts Press offers dozens of additional services for additional fees. These include such things as copy editing, illustrations, content indexing, bookmarks, business cards, posters, press releases, and more. This is a convenient place to supplement your basic book publishing needs.

Outskirts Press allows authors to keep 100% of the royalties from the sale of their books. This incredible feature sets this program above the rest of the self-publishing services.

Outskirts Press is an excellent self-publishing service. They offer a range of resources tailored for the budget-minded author, and allow you the flexibility to pick and choose those features that you're most interested in. Their focus is to provide you with the services you need while allowing you to maximize your profit without any hidden fees. Outskirts Press sets the standard by which all self publishing companies should be judged and clearly earns our highest rating.

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4 stars
Virtual Bookworm

VIRTUAL BOOKWORM Visit Site

Cost:

From $360 to $2,350

Author Royalties:


50%

Virtual Bookworm provides full service publishing services at a reasonable price. This comprehensive company excels at providing fast publishing services. On average, Virtual Bookworm can turn around an order in 4 to 6 weeks. This makes Virtual Bookworm one of the fastest services available

Virtual Bookworm has a number of publishing packages they offer to meet individual needs. They provide manuscript formatting, the assignment of a Library of Congress Control number, original cover design, author discounts, web domain registration, web design, the printing of bookmarks and more. They also provide information for authors related to writing and marketing.

As the author, your royalty is set at 50% of the sales price of the book. While Virtual Bookworm has flexible publishing options and quick turnaround they have room for improvement with their ability to sell books. Virtual Bookworm uses the wholesalers Baker & Taylor, Inc. and Ingram Book Group for distribution. Virtual Bookworm does not yet have experience printing thousands of titles.

Customer service and support at Virtual Bookworm is impressive to say the least. The representatives we talked to were well informed and very willing to answer all of our questions. We didn't sit on hold waiting to be served - this company is very responsive and exceeded our expectations.

Overall, we were impressed with the personal responsiveness quick turnaround offered by Virtual Bookworm. They offer a good list of publishing services that will meet the needs of most authors. However, we would have liked a longer track record in selling and marketing books, and a more attractive royalty program.

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3.5 stars
Books Just Books

BOOKS JUST BOOKS Visit Site

Cost:

From $350 to $695 plus initial book order

Author Royalties:


100%

Books Just Books approaches publishing differently than many companies on this list. Books Just Books is not a Print On Demand publisher; instead, they are a book printer, first and foremost. While their publishing services will be useful to most authors, they don't have a long list of extra services available

Books Just Books acknowledges that on demand is better if the author can sell only a few dozen or a couple of hundred books. Print On Demand can reduce an author's upfront publishing costs to just a few hundred dollars, and they don't have to stock inventory. However, if sales start to number in the hundreds, on demand publishing can actually decrease the author's profits.

With Books Just Books, the author has to order and pay for all the books he or she will sell with the initial order. This upfront fee can easily be $10,000-$20,000. This further emphasizes the author as both the book distributor and primary salesman. While this can be a negative for most aspiring authors, the profit potential of this option can be much more attractive if large numbers of books will be sold.

Books Just Books offers a surprising amount of marketing help for a company that is only a book printer. They assist their authors with getting listed in Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Books Just Books also has an online bookstore. They help each author with a website to promote and sell his book.

Books Just Books offers fewer services but allows the novice author to choose only want they want and need. We would have liked to have seen an on-demand option with Books Just Books to meet even more customer needs.

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3 stars
iUniverse

IUNIVERSE Visit Site

Cost:

From $599 to $2,099

Author Royalties:


20%

iUniverse provides an easy to navigate website and clearly laid out publishing package information. iUniverse provides on-demand printing and therefore does not require the author to purchase a specific number of books with the initial order. The only disadvantage to print on demand is the cost per book is slightly higher, but that is offset by not requiring a minimum upfront order size and paying for extra storage.

All packages offer a basic set of features, including volume book discounts, custom covers, ISBN assignment, and book distribution to leading bookstores.

With the two top packages the author can choose the best book trim size, from 5 by 8 to an 8 1/4 by 11-inch book. The book is available in both hardcover and paperback formats. They also include one round of author proof corrections and an editorial evaluation.

The Bookstore Premier Pro package also makes your book more attractive to bookstores by allowing them to return unsold copies. This encourages bookstores to stock your book and can improve your chances of scheduling book signings and appearances.

With all programs, you receive a number of free soft cover books for distribution to friends and family. With all of the programs, you can also buy copies at a discounted rate. The amount of the discount depends on volume.

Unfortunately, the author royalty provided by iUniverse is only 20%. This compares to 100% offered by our top-rated selections. That means for every $5 you earn from selling a book through them, you'll only earn $1 for selling through iUniverse.

Overall, iUniverse provides a good self-publishing site. They offer a range of services that should appeal to most book authors. Having said that, the author royalties at our higher rated sites are more, and the cost-per-book for printing copies is less. For these reasons, we suggest you first check out those companies for your self-publishing needs.

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2.5 stars
Trafford Publishing

TRAFFORD PUBLISHING Visit Site

Cost:

From $47 to $6,497

Author Royalties:


16.5%

The Trafford Publishing website could use a redesign. The top-rated self-publishing services provide a variety of publishing packages to choose from and list detailed information for each one. In comparison, Trafford presents long pages of text which yo must read through to find the information you're looking for.

After navigating through the various web pages we found that Trafford is an on demand publishing company. Trafford requires the author to buy a publishing package when they submit a manuscript. When the book is ready to go to print, the process stops until Trafford receives orders for the book. The author can order books at a discounted rate, but it is not required.

Trafford Publishing sells their books in their own online bookstore as well as other major online bookstores. Packages range from the "Press Ready" option at $547, all the way up to the "Signature" package for $6,497. With these packages, you get a basic list of services that include cover templates, an author support representative, and complimentary books.

The entry-level "Press Ready" package is extremely basic. Services such as revisions, templates, basic copy editing, and even distribution are all add-on services. Without these, the value of the "Press Ready" package becomes questionable. Unfortunately, the next service level provided by Trafford Publishing is the "Standard" package, priced at $1,297 - and even then, some services that we consider basic are still not included.

Poor web design, steep prices, low author royalties, and missing services conspire to make Trafford Publishing a less-than-attractive option when it comes to self-publishing

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2 stars
Llumina Press

LLUMINA PRESS Visit Site

Cost:

From $799 to $999

Author Royalties:


30%

Llumina Press offers a middle of the road self-publishing service. Turnaround is slower than others at approximately 12 weeks. Services available are less lengthy than our higher ranked providers. They offer average royalties on the cover price.

You can anticipate 30 percent royalty on cover price of books sold direct through this publisher and only 10% if sold through a third party provider. Llumina offers the basic publishing services including Library of Congress Control Numbers and cover design service. One nice feature is that they are one of the few publishers to provide free editorial evaluations

For additional fees, Llumina will establish a web domain registration, as well as a bookseller return program. Marketing and promotional services are limited. They offer the facilitation of author interviews. While they do use Baker & Taylor and Ingram Book Group, there books are currently only sold at four major on-line retailers and this brings some concern. Llumina is far from the marketing powerhouse needed for those looking to make their first million.

Customer service was generally responsive and able to answer most questions. Overall, Llumina Press doesn't stand out in any areas of self publishing providers. For the same amount of money and perhaps better returns we recommend a higher ranked provider.

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Research and Markets: The Rise and Impact of Self-Publishing 2013-2014
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "The Rise and Impact of Self-Publishing 2013-2014" report to
Publication Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:04:00 -0700

BookVenture Opens Registration for a Pre-Launching Promo
The self-publishing company invites authors to visit bookventure.com to register and get the chance to avail a publication of their manuscripts at no cost.
Publication Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:46:47 -0700

Forget agents and big-time publishers, today's savvy writers are authors of their own destinies
A few years ago, the term "self-publishing" was often used disparagingly. "Oh, they couldn't sell their book to a publisher, so they self-published." Can't you hear the disdain?
Publication Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 01:14:32 -0700

Goin Mobile: Outskirts Press Announces Launch of Mobile Website for Easy Smartphone Browsing
Interacting (and interfacing) with top self-publishing service provider Outskirts Press just got a whole lot more convenient with the launch of the companys new mobile website.
Publication Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:32:02 -0700

Larry Harrison on self-publishing: 'we joined together in an informal cooperative'
A published academic author, Harrison wanted to reach a wider audience in fiction Glimpses of a Floating World was recommended by MarNYNY Why did you decide to self-publish Glimpses of a Floating World? As a Reader at the University of Hull, I was already a published academic author, and my books on alcohol and drug problems were selling well. I wrote a BBC radio feature on the history of ...
Publication Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:05:47 -0700

Lulu.com Introduces a New Print on Demand Platform That Gives Independent Authors Unmatched Flexibility and Control
Lulu.com, the pioneer in independent publishing, today announced a new print on demand platform to streamline the self-publishing process and create new opportunities for authors to increase their earning ...
Publication Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 06:22:47 -0700

Griselda Heppel on self-publishing: 'You have complete freedom!'
Undeterred by publishers' scepticism, Heppel self-published her rewriting of Dante's Inferno for young adults, and found an audience Ante's Inferno was recommended by ChrisM and trufflehunter. Scroll down to recommend your own favourite self-published books Why did you choose to self-publish Ante's Inferno ?: I tried the traditional route, sending my manuscript round to agents and publishers ...
Publication Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:48:47 -0700

Author Solutions Releases Its 225,000th Title
Supported self-publishing leader recognizes another milestone with the release of iUniverse title We Reap What We Sow; Envisions a Bright Future for Authors Worldwide
Publication Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 04:20:14 -0700

'You have complete freedom!'
Undeterred by publishers' scepticism, Heppel self-published her rewriting of Dante's Inferno for young adults, and found an audience Ante's Inferno was recommended by ChrisM and trufflehunter. Scroll down to recommend your own favourite self-published books Why did you choose to self-publish Ante's Inferno ?: I tried the traditional route, sending my manuscript round to agents and publishers ...
Publication Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2014 17:18:31 -0700

The all-new monthly literary prize for self-published authors
As DIY publishing gains respectability and established authors join the throng, the Guardian is joining forces with Legend Times to find the best self-published novels, in any genre, every month How to enter the Guardian Legend self published book of the month competition The Guardian is set to become the first national newspaper to champion self-publishing on a regular basis with the launch of ...
Publication Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2014 23:03:54 -0700

World-Renowned Soul Healer Master Zhi Gang Sha Featured Speaker on Soul Healing Miracles at New Life Expo, April 26, 2014 Plus via Global Webcast
Rare Opportunity For Private Meeting with #1 New York Times Author Master Zhi Gang Sha at New Life Expo, San Mateo, CA Booth # 315 on April 25 & 27, 2014
Publication Date: April 16, 2014

WebDAM Launches New Innovations for Enterprise Marketing & Creative Teams
Latest release advances mobile teams, delivers efficient file archiving, brand control, social engagement and more.
Publication Date: April 16, 2014

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