7 best self-publishing companies every writer must know
“If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.”
When it comes to publishing a book, you basically have two options- traditional publishing and self-publishing, each has its own set of perks and drawbacks. Some of the perks of opting for self-publishing books are you have the ownership of your content, control over your story, on the right of your book, and control over the cover. However, self-publishing usually does not include editing, cover design, market, and the sense of urgency as there are no deadlines. An increasing number of people are exploring the options offered by self-publishing companies since so much of the publishing process is autonomous. As a result, there are many self-publishing companies out there in close competition, trying to have an edge over one-another. Read on more to know about the best self-publishing companies:
BLURB is easily one of the popular self-publishing companies out there. It has a clear, sharp, and clean interface that is appealing and tends to attract people to it. It allows anyone and everyone to create any kind of book they want. Whether it is your secret thanksgiving recipe which you want the world to know, impart wisdom to the millennials, or simply unleash your creativity, you can do any and all of it on BLURB. Once your book is ready and you have decided to publish it, it is your choice to keep your book private or public. You can choose to sell the book on the website by making your book public. You can also offer a preview of the first 15 pages of your book if you wish, making it more convenient for the buyer to decide if they want to purchase it. Adding subtitles, categories, tags, and descriptions will further increase the ranking of your search. You can contact a “Custom Bookmaker” if you feel you need help in developing your book. BookSmart is also a free software that will assist you in developing your book and lets you have the option to import your own designs. However, you cannot build your own templates or layouts. The pricing of BLURB for softcovers starts at $12.95 and for hardcovers starts at $22.95
CreateSpace provides a self-publishing platform for aspiring authors. It is a subsidiary of Amazon and hence, it is easy and quick to sell your books published on CreateSpace through Amazon. However, the drawback of the same being that the retail is exclusively on Amazon unless you opt for an expanded distribution program. Under this program, you can make the books available to offline and online retailers as well. Like some of the best self-publishing companies, you can choose whether you want to keep your book public or private. The only format of book accepted by this company is PDF for both the text and image content. However, one drawback is that there is no option to create hardcover copies. Apart from this, it lacks some of the social media tools, messaging, and groups that other self-publishing companies provide. Users can participate in the CreateSpace message boards where they are encouraged to put forth questions and get any query on the process of publishing answered. The standard black and white book starts at $3.66 per book, while standard color ones start from $6.55.
Xibliris was founded back in 1997 and happens to be one of the first self-publishing companies in the industry. The process of self-publishing the book begins by having a consultation with a person-in-charge about what you need and the correct packages that meet those needs. The company then creates a sample version of the full design of the book and sends it to you for further approval and feedback. Once you have finalized the design of the book, you can choose to opt to publish the book whenever you want and have access to round-the-clock customer support. One of the unique features offered is a free consultation to ensure that you get all the help that is needed. They also have leather-bound editions for your book. The biggest drawback of Xlibris is that the prices may seem comparatively quite high as they start from $299.
Lulu is one of the well-known websites that offer a self-publishing facility. The company pays attention to details and has over 1000 new titles every day. They know how to format, create a package, and push the book out there to its maximum potential. The ton of services available easily gives Lulu a spot on the best self-publishing companies list. Apart from publishing the book, other facilities that you can avail of to ease the process are proofreading, marketing, and editorial services. You can download and print a proof of the book before finalizing your copy. When you feel your book is ready to be published, you can sell it on your customized storefront. Users can also place their book content in Google’s search results by using Google Book Search (Beta). When users click the link of your book, they are directly taken to a Google-hosted web page that links to Lulu. You can also join groups and advertise your book in the groups that are selling similar books on their store. One of the remarkable features provided is an FTP website for uploading files that are larger than 300MB. The softcovers start at $7.60 while hardcover pricing starts at $17.48.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
KDP is owned by Amazon and allows publishing ebooks that can be read on Kindle devices or other devices that have the Kindle app. It is one of the best self-publishing companies that an independent author can simply not ignore. Around 80% of all ebooks in the English language are sold through Amazon, self-publishing titles account for 42% of this figure. KDP gives the author a global reach along with the ability to update and change the book even if it is online. You can also enroll in KDP Select if you are willing to give Amazon exclusive distribution rights to your ebook for a period of 90 days. KDP Select is a marketing program that allows authors to promote books largely through countdown deals and discounts. If the program works well for you, you can re-enroll into the same as many times as you want. Unlike most publishers who use EPUB, Kindle ebooks opt for the MOBI format. There are free software available online where you convert your Word file into a MOBI format. KDP pays royalties of 35% or 70% to the authors on the list price of their book.
Smashwords is a popular option which people opt for as it distributes your ebook to all the top retailers like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBookstore. If you consider yourself an “indie author”, Smashwords is the ultimate self-publishing company for you. There are around 130,000 authors around the world that have published around 450,000 eBooks through Smashwords. It is one of the largest platforms available for independent authors. At Smashwords, they distribute your ebook to renowned distributors and also provide the support you may need along the way. This has lead to increased popularity for the self-publishing company. Apart from basic marketing, branding, and publishing services it also offers over 80% or more of the net sale revenues. Their publishing guidelines are easy and clear to understand making it convenient for you to get started!
As you log in to the Bookbaby website, the motive and focus of the website become pretty clear as the phrase “ready, set, publish’ appears. If you are seeking one of the best self-publishing companies on a budget, this is probably the one for you. It offers value for money with the packages starting from as low as $99. Also, apart from the basic publishing and distribution services, they also offer other handy services like the cover and interior design, editing, and marketing your book. You can either purchase these services individually or overall in a package. They also offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied. High quality and full-color in-house printing of books, free shipping on most books, a finished proof of your book, and 100% of the net eBook sales (zero commission) are some of the financial and marketing benefits of this company. Through Bookbaby, you can sell the printed version of your book through popular distributors like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookShop, INGRAM, and Baker & Taylor.
Self-publishing is a great option for anyone who wants to have a ṭotal control on his/her book. Additionally, it is also preferred by people who want to avoid going through the constant back and forth with publishing houses and rejections. It seems extremely handy to get the book available online through any self-publishing company instead of changing your writing or making alterations according to your agent/editor. However, with the freedom to publish your story, you also take a 100% accountability on how your book does. A lot of effort and persistence is required in the promotion and marketing process if you want your book to reach a wider audience. One huge consideration is that you have to handle the business side of publishing as well along with the creative one. Self-publishing is all about unleashing the entrepreneur in you along with the creator. Below are some tips that will help you know how to publish a book-
- Know why you want to publish
When you want to publish your book, it is important to stay motivated throughout the process. This will only happen if you know why you want to write and publish your book. Knowing the “why” behind this goal will help in staying motivated in the long run. Also, brainstorm as much as possible to get the best output.
- Writing the book
When you know you are going to self-publish your book, there is a tendency to be laid back as there are no deadlines to adhere to. Develop your own writing process to get going; an effective way to do so is simply to create a daily or weekly schedule of how you will go about writing, having an outline before you begin, and writing every day at the same time in order to create a habit.
- Get feedback!
It never hurt to let fresh eyes go over what you have written. Reaching out to friends or editors you know is a good way to receive some constructive feedback and improve. Look to people who you believe will have a critical eye and are unbiased so you can learn the most.
- Create an account with any of the best self-publishing companies
Create an account with a self-publishing company of your choice and follow the steps they have for joining their platform. Understand how to go about publishing your book on it and soon you will have a beautiful book of your own ready to be released onto shelves.
- Formatting the book
You can either hire someone or choose to opt from the plethora of free resources available online as well where you can format your book. Ensure that the person you hire is well aware of the format of your book genre or you can simply format it yourself.
- Decide the price
Determining the price is one of the crucial steps. Find a price that will attract maximum readers and drives long-term success. Instead of following any thumb rules, do the math carefully before arriving at a number. If you are struggling you can seek the help of your accountant or financial advisor as well.
- Self-publish your book
When you are confident enough that your book is ready to be published, you can upload it on the self-publishing company that you choose. Know that you are allowed to upload your manuscript as many times as you want and each upload overrides the previous one.
- Pay attention to marketing and promotion
Once your book has been launched, marketing and promotion strategies are needed to be implemented. Find the best ways to maximize sales by having book reading sessions, a launch event, and look to the self-publishing company you choose for pointers if the option is so available.