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Whether you've already tried the big publishing houses and gotten rejection letters or you just want to jump right in and take the do-it-yourself approach, self-publishing can get your books on people's shelves - both digital and traditional.
One of the first questions you'll need to consider is whether you want to publish your book in print, as an eBook, or both. Some services cater strictly to one or the other, so you'll want to give that decision some thought before you dive into selecting a self-publishing provider.
Friday, December 4th
Outskirts Press continues to be the best service for self-publishing. This company is a one-stop shop for all of your needs, for both eBook and print book distribution, and their packages give you access to services that would cost you thousands more with any other provider. And, authors keep 100% of the profit margin between their book's wholesale and base prices. Outskirts Press earns our highest recommendation.
BookBaby is well-rounded, affordable, and approachable when it comes to helping you reach your self-publishing goals. From eBooks to print - and all of the services to take your manuscript from draft to done - the team at BookBaby will work with you to get it done. Writers have plenty of praise for this self-publishing company, making it one of our highest-rated platforms for getting your book noticed.
Virtual Bookworm does it all, from eBook distribution to soft- and hardcover printing in BW and full color. You'll also keep more of your royalties than with many self-publishing services. Publishing packages are priced well, and you can add on services as needed. Be aware that your manuscript will need to be approved for publication by VBW's staff, because they want to ensure that only high-quality books go on their shelves. Virtual Bookworm is a solid option if you're looking for a wide spectrum of self-publishing services.
Draft2Digital is our favorite service for self-publishing in eBook format only. Their automated tools let you upload a manuscript in any Word-compatible format and get a beautifully-formatted, ready-to-distribute eBook - at no charge. The only fee you'll pay is 15% on any sales you make, but everything else is included for free. There's just no more affordable way to get your self-published book distributed on Amazon, Google, and most of today's top platforms.
Smashwords has one of the largest global distributions of eBooks in our review. The service is free to use, but you need to make sure your eBook is formatted according to their style guide. The Smashwords site can be a little long to read through, but the approachable, friendly tone makes it fun in the end. This is a good option for eBook self-publishing services.
One of the best-known names in the self-publishing industry is Lulu. On the market for more than 18 years, many authors have used the service to print novels, poetry, and much more. Lulu still has a good reputation overall, with thousands of satisfied authors, but the service has a much more limited distribution network when compared with rival providers of self-publishing options.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP for short) lets you self-publish at no cost. Your only fees come when you actually sell a book, either in eBook or paperback format. Those fees can add up, and using KDP means that your work is only being distributed through the Amazon platform. Other services include Kindle and dozens of other channels - which means that KDP is much more limited when it comes to getting your book noticed.
PublishDrive got its start in 2015 as a means of helping authors get their books distributed globally, through the industry's most recognized channels like Amazon and Google Books. This is one of the few self-publishing options that lets you keep all of your royalties, forever, because you pay a monthly subscription fee instead. But, PublishDrive has zero options for any print distribution, and dead links on their website - like their FAQ page - left us with a less-than-favorable impression of their service.
Xlibris offers expensive self-publishing packages that include many of the same features offered for less by their competitors. And, with a much smaller - and less clearly-defined - distribution network for selling your book, this company isn't likely to get you noticed. Plus, any books you do sell will only pay you 10-50% of the retail price, once Xlibris takes its share of the royalties. This is one of our lowest-ranked self-publishing services.
iUniverse is expensive on both ends of the self-publishing process. Their packages and royalties are some of the highest-priced we've found, while the services included are the same as (or less than!) comparable providers in the industry. Many customers have come away from the experience feeling cheated out of their hard-earned money when using iUniverse for self-publication.
A related question is your budget. How much are you able - and willing - to spend to publish your work? If you're starting out on a shoestring, you may want to give more attention to the self-publishing companies that will format, publish and list your book at absolutely no cost; you'll just pay out of the royalties on whatever you actually sell. On the other hand, if the sky's the limit and it's your dream to see thousands of copies on the shelves at your local bookstores and beyond, you'll find many services that will give you everything from full-color packages to marketing and beyond.
The good news is that technology has made it possible to get your work published with very few of the costs formerly associated with the process. There's no need for a warehouse stocked with your books when Print-on-Demand publishing has made it easy and economical for copies to be made whenever needed. You can still access any add-on service you may want, like professional editing or book covers designed by graphic artists, but most of the process of self-publishing takes out the guesswork and hassle - which saves you time and money every step of the way.
As you evaluate the many self-publishing companies available today, you'll quickly see that they vary widely in terms of services offered, costs, and reach for prospective readers of your work. Here are several handy criteria to bear in mind, to help you make your decision:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best self-publishing cmpanies available today. We hope this information helps you narrow down your options and find the perfect fit for getting your book published!
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