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      July 25, 2017

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Best

Self Publishers

  1. Virtual Bookworm
  2. Books Just Books
  3. iUniverse
  4. Trafford Publishing

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Best Self Publishing Companies

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.

Thankfully, times have changed. Today, anyone can have their work professionally printed, marketed, and distributed through a variety of self-publishing services.

Continue reading below reviews

2017

Self Publishing Reviews

5 stars
Outskirts Press

OUTSKIRTS PRESS Visit Site

Cost:

From $199 to $1,099

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

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

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

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

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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Continued from above

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!

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Take the Steps to Self-publish Your Book

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How The Other Half Successfully Self-Publish

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Things to Know When Self Publishing a Book

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StreetLib is a viable self-publishing solution for Independent Authors

Streetlib is an online self-publishing solution that is geared towards independent authors. When you register for an account you can upload your e-book use a free ISBN that they give you. There are a ton of distribution options, but Amazon, Apple, Kobo ...

Published:  Sun, 23 Jul 2017 13:31:00 GMT



Professionalism in Self-Publishing

When a consumer purchases a book, they don't purchase it because a specific publisher published it. They purchase it because it fulfills a need and is well-designed and edited. This means there are no "get-out-of-jail-free" cards for self-publishers.

Published:  Tue, 18 Jul 2017 01:00:00 GMT



Xbox makes it easier For indie game developers to self-publish games

Xbox makes it easier For indie game developers to self-publish games The new program from Microsoft - and a new company called Jump - will give indie game developers more places to publish their work. Video provided by Newsy Check out this story on ...

Published:  Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:22:00 GMT



Self-Publishing vs Electronic Publishing

Which is best for a biography? Self-publishing or electronic publishing? I am asking this particular question because the project I am working on is a series of lineage narratives. They are sourced and documented life stories, and I don't know how well it ...

Published:  Mon, 17 Jul 2017 18:16:00 GMT



Self-Publishing Author Spotlight: Thelma Lewis

At Outskirts Press, Inc., we take great pride in celebrating the work of our successful self-publishing authors, and we do so each week through our Self-Publishing Author Spotlight. This week we highlight self-publishing author Thelma Lewis, who has ...

Published:  Thu, 13 Jul 2017 14:17:00 GMT



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