Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

The Best Self Publishing Services

What's the Best Place to Self Publish?

Congratulations! You're an author, and now you want to share your writing genius with the world. But working with a traditional publisher can be hard. With the extra step of finding an agent and the back-and-forth with editors, there's a lot going on in the publishing industry just to get your book on the publisher's desk. Lucky for you, there's a host of self-publishing options out there to support brand-new and established authors.

Self-publishing has become an increasingly popular option for writers who want to get their work out into the world without the assistance of traditional publishing companies. One of the biggest advantages of self-publishing is the control it gives the author over their work. Instead of having to conform to the demands of a publisher, authors can use self-publishing to retain complete creative control over their work.

Friday, June 21st

2024 Self Publishing Service Reviews

Outskirts Press Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating

Outskirts Press

5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Outskirts Press has earned a solid reputation in the self-publishing industry and has maintained a top spot on our list of recommended services for years. This is supported by the company's "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau and nearly two decades in operation, which provides reassurance to both new and experienced authors alike. In contrast to many companies in the industry, Outskirts Press has proven itself to be a trustworthy and reliable option and should be your first choice for self-publishing your work.

Book Baby Review 4.5 Star Rating

Book Baby

4.5 Star Rating

BookBaby is a self-publishing company that assists writers across all genres who want to publish their work successfully. The company offers a free guide and access to professionals who can help writers with every step of the publishing process, from cleaning up their copy to strategizing their marketing approach and publishing their book. BookBaby offers several pricing options for self-publishing and provides a strong guarantee and reputation - earning it a third-place spot in this review, closely following our second-place choice.

Publish Drive Review 4.5 Star Rating

Publish Drive

4.5 Star Rating

Standing out as one of the only options to offer a monthly subscription, PublishDrive is a unique but high-performing option in this review. This self-publishing platform offers a range of subscription plans to fit your needs and budget, with prices starting at just $14.19 per month. With four different service levels to choose from, you can select the plan that best suits your needs to publish your next novel (or even a series), from the Starter Plan to the Pro Plan. While the royalty costs could be cheaper, it's still a top-tier option for self-publication.

Barnes & Noble Press Review 4 Star Rating

Barnes & Noble Press

4 Star Rating

Barnes & Noble Press is a great name-brand option for self-publishing, and it's completely free. With Barnes & Noble Press, you'll earn up to 70% of royalties for eBook sales and 55% for print sales, minus printing costs. Barnes & Noble Press doesn't require exclusivity, so you have the option to publish at multiple venues for the widest reach possible. The company also offers a resources page to connect authors with preferred partners for editing, audiobook creation, publicity, and marketing assistance. However, one potential drawback is the limited reach, as the company only distributes books within the United States. Overall, Barnes & Noble Press is a valuable tool for independent authors looking to publish their work.

Draft 2 Digital Review 4 Star Rating

Draft 2 Digital

4 Star Rating

While there are many self-publishing companies out there, Draft2Digital is a newer player in the market that has quickly established itself as a popular choice among writers, particularly for those focusing on eBook distribution. With a focus on user-friendly formatting and distribution services, as well as affordable pricing, Draft2Digital offers an accessible solution for writers who want to self-publish their work as an eBook.

Virtual Bookworm Review 3.5 Star Rating

Virtual Bookworm

3.5 Star Rating

Virtual Bookworm offers a reasonably priced self-publishing service that provides authors with a range of options for publishing their work. Its commitment to reviewing each manuscript for quality and content ensures that authors aren't publishing books with numerous errors. While it does require an exclusive agreement and has higher pricing than some competitors, the benefits of full distribution and the option to terminate the agreement provide some flexibility. While we like some of the add-on options, there are also a lot of extra costs not included in packages, so it might take a little extra math to get your numbers right with Virtual Bookworm.

Smashwords Review 3.5 Star Rating

Smashwords

3.5 Star Rating

Smashwords is an eBook distributor that has been helping authors for over a decade. While their website may not have the sleek design of some of their competitors, Smashwords offers a variety of free services to authors, including author profile pages, marketing tools, and access to their extensive distribution network. It's worth noting, however, that authors are responsible for their own marketing efforts and it may not be the most user-friendly option.

Kindle Direct Publishing Review 3.5 Star Rating

Kindle Direct Publishing

3.5 Star Rating

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has the advantage of being owned by Amazon, and offers you the ability to self-publish your book for free. You'll still pay royalties on any sales, and distribution here is much more limited than with other platforms. There are some benefits to using KDP, but we encourage you to look at rival options before committing to publishing your work with this service.

IngramSpark Review 3 Star Rating

IngramSpark

3 Star Rating

IngramSpark, owned by Ingram Publishing, is a self-publishing distributor that offers an inexpensive option for authors with setup fees of $49 per book. However, the additional fees for revisions and printing/distribution costs can add up quickly. While authors can make a decent amount from sales with IngramSpark, it isn't the most user-friendly platform, and many authors choose to publish somewhere else because of that problem. For these reasons, this option is much lower than its competitors in this review.

Lulu Review 2 Star Rating

Lulu

2 Star Rating

Lulu is a self-publishing company that has been in the industry since 2002. While they offer services in six languages, it can be difficult to find pricing and the site has received some poor reviews regarding customer service. However, Lulu does take lower percentages than some competitors, and their distribution channels are competitive. It may be worth a look, but only after you've given a thorough look to Lulu's higher-ranked rivals in the self-publishing industry.

Xlibris Review 2 Star Rating

Xlibris

2 Star Rating

Xlibris is a self-publishing service that has been operating for over 20 years. It allows authors to retain complete control over their books, from design to distribution. However, the pricing is expensive, and the most basic package may not provide authors with enough options. Furthermore, the distribution network is limited, and authors should not expect to make much money through Xlibris. Compared to other self-publishing services, Xlibris falls short in terms of what it offers and how much it costs.

iUniverse Review 1 Star Rating

iUniverse

1 Star Rating

iUniverse is a self-publishing service owned by Author Solutions, the second one in this review. Like its sister company, iUniverse takes high royalty fees ranging from 75-90%, which is much higher than other self-publishing services. Additionally, the publishing packages are expensive, starting at $1,999, with limited customizability. The availability of editing is also limited and only included in some of the higher-priced packages. Despite positive feedback from some users, the low engagement and negative reviews suggest that iUniverse may not be worth the investment for budget-conscious authors.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

There are several advantages to self-publishing a book. For example, an author can make decisions about everything from the book cover to the formatting of the text. This control can lead to a more authentic representation of the author's vision, which can be appealing to readers.

Another advantage of self-publishing is that it allows authors to reach a broader audience. Traditional publishers are often selective about the types of books they choose to publish, and many authors may struggle to find a publisher who is willing to take a chance on their work. Self-publishing, on the other hand, allows authors to bypass the traditional gatekeepers and get their work in front of readers who may be interested in their particular niche.

And the best part? Self-publishing can be more lucrative for authors than traditional publishing. Traditional publishing deals often involve the publisher taking a significant percentage of the book's profits, leaving the author with a smaller cut. With self-publishing, authors keep a larger share of their book's profits, which can add up over time. Additionally, self-publishing often allows authors to set their own prices, which can help them maximize their revenue.

Writing is a lot of work, but publishing doesn't have to be. To make sure you have the easiest path to getting your bestseller out to the public, we've researched the most popular self-publishing options so you don't have to.

If you're not sure where to start, here are several factors to keep in mind to find the best fit for you and your writing:

  • Cost. What is the cost to work with this publisher and how much will you make as the author? Costs include fees and royalties, so it's important to check both.
  • Specialty. Are you a poet or a playwright? Or maybe you prefer to write short stories or long sci-fi trilogies? You want to make sure the publisher you choose specializes in the kind of writing that's important to you. You want to be able to reach your ideal audience.
  • User-friendly tools. Are you looking for complete control over the final publication, or do you want a publisher that helps you along the way with technology tools?
  • Sales. Where does this self-publishing platform promote your work? Are sales integrated into the process or do you have to do all of the marketing yourself?

To help you make the jump from writer to published author smoother than ever, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked the best self-publishing companies out there today. We hope this information helps you get the book of your dreams in print and in the reader's hands ASAP!

The Best Self Publishing Services Compare Self Publishing Services Compare Self Publishing Service Reviews What are the best Self Publishing Services Best Self Publishing Service Reviews

Self Publishing Service FAQ

Absolutely! There's no need to wait for an acceptance letter from a big publishing house to get your work out into the world.
You can do either one. There are lots of self-publishing services that can help you with the entire process, including illustrations, editing, and even marketing, regardless of whether you're trying to get your book printed or made available as an eBook.
You definitely can take the steps to get your book published without using a service, but you may waste a lot of time (and money!) making mistakes that could easily be avoided. Self-publishing services already know all of the ins and outs of the process and can help you focus just on what you need to accomplish your particular goals.
That depends. The more bells and whistles you want, the more you'll usually spend. There are platforms that let you print out a single standard paperback for under $2, and comprehensive service packages upwards of $15,000! There are also options that are free for the publishing side, but you'll pay a certain percentage of any royalties your book sales generate. That's a great choice if you've got a shoestring budget and just want to get started right away.
Most self-publishing in the print world is print-on-demand, so no! In other words, when someone orders your book, the publishing service you're using will print off a copy and send it directly to your customer.
The sky's the limit! Some popular add-ons include cover design, author ads on social media platforms, internal images and graphics, and online distribution.
Some self-publishing platforms offer more "hand-holding" than others. If you think you might want a provider that has more of a team feel, choose a service that offers email and phone support with a designated representative, so that you'll always be working with the same individual.
While it's true that there are fly-by-night, "Get Published Fast!" companies out there, it's easy to find services that have a long history of providing reputable service to aspiring and experienced authors alike. Be sure to see what other clients say about the service you're considering, before you make a commitment. You can also look up the company's listing with the Better Business Bureau for more reassurance that you've picked a good one.

Compare Self Publishing Services

Select any 2 Self Publishing Services to compare them head to head

best-self-publishing-services
  • Outskirts Press
  • Book Baby
  • Publish Drive
  • Barnes & Noble Press
  • Draft 2 Digital
  • Virtual Bookworm
  • Smashwords
  • Kindle Direct Publishing
  • IngramSpark
  • Lulu
  • Xlibris
  • iUniverse
Outskirts Press vs Book Baby Outskirts Press vs Publish Drive Outskirts Press vs Barnes & Noble Press Outskirts Press vs Draft 2 Digital Outskirts Press vs Virtual Bookworm Outskirts Press vs Smashwords Outskirts Press vs Kindle Direct Publishing Outskirts Press vs IngramSpark Outskirts Press vs Lulu Outskirts Press vs Xlibris Outskirts Press vs iUniverse Book Baby vs Publish Drive Book Baby vs Barnes & Noble Press Book Baby vs Draft 2 Digital Book Baby vs Virtual Bookworm Book Baby vs Smashwords Book Baby vs Kindle Direct Publishing Book Baby vs IngramSpark Book Baby vs Lulu Book Baby vs Xlibris Book Baby vs iUniverse Publish Drive vs Barnes & Noble Press Publish Drive vs Draft 2 Digital Publish Drive vs Virtual Bookworm Publish Drive vs Smashwords Publish Drive vs Kindle Direct Publishing Publish Drive vs IngramSpark Publish Drive vs Lulu Publish Drive vs Xlibris Publish Drive vs iUniverse Barnes & Noble Press vs Draft 2 Digital Barnes & Noble Press vs Virtual Bookworm Barnes & Noble Press vs Smashwords Barnes & Noble Press vs Kindle Direct Publishing Barnes & Noble Press vs IngramSpark Barnes & Noble Press vs Lulu Barnes & Noble Press vs Xlibris Barnes & Noble Press vs iUniverse Draft 2 Digital vs Virtual Bookworm Draft 2 Digital vs Smashwords Draft 2 Digital vs Kindle Direct Publishing Draft 2 Digital vs IngramSpark Draft 2 Digital vs Lulu Draft 2 Digital vs Xlibris Draft 2 Digital vs iUniverse Virtual Bookworm vs Smashwords Virtual Bookworm vs Kindle Direct Publishing Virtual Bookworm vs IngramSpark Virtual Bookworm vs Lulu Virtual Bookworm vs Xlibris Virtual Bookworm vs iUniverse Smashwords vs Kindle Direct Publishing Smashwords vs IngramSpark Smashwords vs Lulu Smashwords vs Xlibris Smashwords vs iUniverse Kindle Direct Publishing vs IngramSpark Kindle Direct Publishing vs Lulu Kindle Direct Publishing vs Xlibris Kindle Direct Publishing vs iUniverse IngramSpark vs Lulu IngramSpark vs Xlibris IngramSpark vs iUniverse Lulu vs Xlibris Lulu vs iUniverse Xlibris vs iUniverse
Compare the Best Self Publishing Services
- VS -
Review the Best Self Publishing Services
See the Best Self Publishing Service
The Best Reviews of Self Publishing Services