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The Best Self Publishing Services

What's the Best Self-publishing Company?

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.

Saturday, February 4th

2023 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 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.

Book Baby Review 4.5 Star Rating

Book Baby

4.5 Star Rating

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 Review 4 Star Rating

Virtual Bookworm

4 Star Rating

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.

Draft 2 Digital Review 4 Star Rating

Draft 2 Digital

4 Star Rating

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 Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating

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.

Lulu Review 3 Star Rating


3 Star Rating

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 Review 2.5 Star Rating

Kindle Direct

2.5 Star Rating

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.

Publish Drive Review 2 Star Rating

Publish Drive

2 Star Rating

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 Review 1.5 Star Rating


1.5 Star Rating

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 Review 1 Star Rating


1 Star Rating

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.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

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:

  • Anticipated Costs and Fees. While some self-publishing services are "free", almost all of them take a percentage of your profit when you sell copies of your book. What will you expect to pay upfront, and what will your royalties be?
  • Range of Services. What does the self-publishing company offer you as an author? How much work will you need to do with your manuscript before you submit it for publishing? Are these services included with any fees paid, or will you pay a la carte for each one you need?
  • Reach. Where will your book be made available for sale? Will your work be listed on some of the most well-known online bookstores, or just within the self-publishing company's internal bookstore?
  • Reputation. What do other authors say about the service? Did they have a smooth experience getting their book self-published? Does the company have a good track record of client service, including knowledgeable, friendly reps who can answer your questions along the way?

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!

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.
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