12 Best Self-Publishing Companies For Starting Your Writing Business
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
That astonishing bit of good news comes from William Somerset Maugham, one of the highest-paid writers during the 1930s. It’s good news because book writers like to push boundaries and walk through literature like Mark Twain was sitting on their shoulder.
Writers want to create stories and record observations and social interaction. And some of these hard-working writers want to see their names in lights.
You know. That 15 minutes of fame thing.
Some writers dream of being the F. Scott Fitzgerald of the day or the Oscar Wilde that stews over a play like a grizzly with her cubs. Some illustrious writers want the big traditional publishers to do the work.
They want the big boys to come up with brilliant cover designs, creative marketers, and fat cat publicists, so they can attend the fancy cocktail parties and multi-city book signings.
Some of those writers have that day when the seas part and the heavens open, or when they can no longer walk across the street without feeling like they have to go to the bathroom. Sure they get a book deal with a $1000 advance, but they forget the first rule of writing.
That is, you are only a writer when you write. So if your passion is creating a busload of characters and introducing people to worlds that are more than dream worthy, then self-publishing is for you. But before we go into the appetizing and juicy parts of self-publishing, let’s get real for a moment.
There are more than 750,000 books published a year. Some people say it’s more like a million. The people who track those kinds of statistics say half of those publications are compliments of self-publishers. And knows this.
On average, a self-published book will sell less than 300 copies a year, unless writers follow through and come up with a launch plan for a specific audience.
Hundreds of self-published authors sell thousands of books a year because that audience responded to that writer’s book marketing efforts.
(Sidebar: If you’d like to learn our strategies for writing a bestselling book, then I suggest checking out our free checklist, which is the exact 46-point guide we’ve used to sell one million copies of our books.)
- The Six Best Reasons You Should Self-Publish
- 12 of the Best Self-Publishing Companies For Starting Your Writing Business
The Six Best Reasons You Should Self-Publish
1. You Control Your Time.
The last thing any writer needs is pumping out what seems like an endless flow of query letters to snag an agent. The agent will look for a publisher and suddenly you’re on a time clock. You took the bait. Those suits are going to reel you in and expect stuff from you on a time schedule that you may or may not like.
2. You’re In The Driver’s Seat.
You choose the cover and the price. And you don’t have to change stuff like that title that you came up with while you were dreaming of that old high school flame. You have complete control. You can continue to write your book when you want.
3. The Royalties Are Bigger!
You’ll get money for each book that leaves the distribution center or when Amazon lets you know your eBook is selling, and you get all the profit. Traditional publishing companies can take up to 85 percent.
You might have enough left to pay the rent, but Forbes won’t be calling to put you on their richest people in the world list.
4. Now’s The Time To Become a Self-Published Author
The stigma and the stench of self-publishing are in the wind now. Thanks to the brave writers who wrote great books and self-published, and thanks to the Internet, all writers can self-publish with the click of a mouse.
5. You Can Market The Book, Dude!
Sure. Becoming a book marketer may not be that sexy. But with all the useful online tools available a six-year-old writer could do it. But you have to give it your best shot, by doing the research and by spending some of that grade school lunch money you hide under your bed.
6. This Is The Age Of Self-Empowerment And Enlightenment
Guess what? 50 Shades of Grey is self-published, and if that work can hit the writer’s jackpot, so can you.
12 of the Best Self-Publishing Companies For Starting Your Writing Business
Amazon’s Kindle store makes it easy for authors looking to find new readers by self-publishing on the Kindle platform. You can upload and submit your book to Amazon for review in under 10 minutes and can be live on the worlds largest online marketplace within 24-48 hours. It’s free to publish your book with KDP and you can earn up to 70% on your book royalties.
If you think of yourself as an “Indie Author,” this site is for you. Smash Words is not a traditional book publishing company. Non-conformity is the flavor of the day at this well-designed self-publishing business. Smash Words will support and distribute your eBook using all the right channels.
Smash Words may look like a quirky self-publishing resource, but there’s a method to their madness. And that madness is all about selling books. Smash Words is not afraid to take risks, and if you have a touch of risk-taking in your DNA, then this site might be your next best friend.
Lulu has a high-profile as one of the best self-publishing companies in the market. One of the reasons Lulu is so popular is, the company pays attention to details. Lulu publishes over a 1,000 new titles every day so the company has expert status when it comes to formatting, packaging, and pushing books.
The variety that Lulu offers makes this site the only game in town for some writers, especially if you want to add proofreading, editorial help, and promotion to your self-publishing mix. Lulu has it all in terms of getting your book out there in an appealing and professional way.
The clear, sharp and clean interface of Blurb inspires confidence in the writers who choose to throw their writing hats in the ring with this UK company. Blurb’s design and marketing skills are top-notch. The variety they offer in terms of blog books, magazines, leaflets, and planners, as well as eBooks and paperbacks, put this site in rare company.
Blurb is a multi-faceted self-publisher with a respectable amount of traffic, and an affiliate program where writers can earn a commission every time another writer publishes a book.
Colorado-based Outskirts is in the popular-price self-publishing market. You might say they are the Payless Shoes of the self-publishing industry. If you want a site that offers what other self-publishing companies offer at bargain basement prices, then Outskirts is worth a look.
Some authors say Outskirts isn’t as cheap as they say, but the proof is in the pudding with this self-publishing company. In other words, you’ll have to check out the packages they offer and compare them to other publishing companies to get a feel for the actual cost savings you’ll get from using Outskirts.
Xlibris likes to empower their writers. The slick interface is elegant and appealing and it inspires confidence. The testimonials, advice, and awards that are part of the Xlibris stick are a nice bonus, according to some writers. But make no mistake when you’re looking to do business with this site. Xlibris has core values. And professionalism is front and center in their presentation and their packages.
Author events are also part of the marketing plan, so there are features on this site that are hard to ignore, especially if you want to get the biggest bang for your Internet greenbacks. This site has a lot of good features, and good features mean more exposure to some writers.
Here’s a novel idea. Authors and independent publishers have the right to maintain ownership of their files after conversion. If you pay for a self-publishing service like a conversion, then the files should belong to you. Not all self-publishing houses offer that important feature but Kobo does, and that makes this one of the best self-publishing companies that is popular with writers.
Kobo Writing Life lets writers keep their downloaded ePub file after conversion, and that’s a big plus because family and friends are able to share in the good fortune without coughing up money they would rather spend for something that has more personal worth to them. Kobo likes to offer perks that keep writers happy, and the company does a decent job in that regard.
If you are a newbie writer in India, NotionPress may be the site for you. NotionPress offers a plethora of professional tools that give writers a chance to take their work to the next level. This site helps writers print, publish, and distribute their book.
New authors get expert promotion guidance. And with a decent network of distributors and readers around the world, this self-publishing company makes it a little easier for new authors to get the recognition they deserve for sticking with the self-publishing process.
Book Baby likes to greet potential clients with the phrase, “Ready, Set, Publish,” when writers log onto the site. Book Baby is all about making the self-publishing thing easy. And according to writers who swear by them, Book Baby packages are a real value.
If you need a no-frills $99 package, then Book Baby is for you. But the site offers other packages with more bells and whistles for writers who want to cover all the self-publishing bases. And the good news is, Book Baby doesn’t take a commission on your sales. That’s a deal maker, according to the writers who want to keep the money they worked hard to get.
iUniverse likes to offer publishing deals that wet the appetite of some writers. There’s a 20 percent off deal going on in January and it’s worth a look. The live chat feature on this site removes some trepidations that new writers have when it comes to publishing their own book.
Interviewing an author before the deal becomes a marriage helps relieve the stress of becoming a self-published author for some writers. But other writers are price conscious, and iUniverse is not the cheapest self-publishing house in town. But the authors who stand by the site say they got a lot more value for the uptick in price.
You might want to develop every aspect of your new book with a self-publishing house, or you may need professional help. If you pick Fast Pencil, you can develop your book’s essential parts, but this site also has editors and graphic designers who have a boatload of experience helping writers develop appealing material.
Fast Pencil has the expertise behind it to make your book the professional work of art you dreamed it would be. The site has great tools that get you to the end of the publishing process with open eyes and a more than excited attitude.
Ingram Book Company is the largest distributors of books and one of the best self-publishing companies in the United States. And Ingram is the largest book wholesaler in the country.
Ingram is a 44-year-old publishing company, so it’s no surprise that IngramSpark will follow in the footsteps of big brother Lightning Source. Lightning Source is a fulfillment company with locations around the world, and IngramSpark has access to those distribution locations.
In 2013, Ingram wanted to add an easy-to-use publishing platform for writers who want to publish a book, but have limited resources. So IngramSpark came on the self-publishing scene with all the tools that Lightning Source has in its self-publishing tool shed.
The writers who want to get their book in the marketplace fast, but don’t want to deal with the complexities of mass distribution should take a look at IngramSpark.
IngramSpark has the tech know-how and the manufacturing, logistics, and distribution tools of Ingram in their publishing genes, and that makes a world of difference to some writers.
Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport have self-published some Wall Street Journal bestsellers this past year.
Are you ready to get started self-publishing your best seller?
What are the best self-publishing companies for your goals?
Congratulations for reading this far and showing that you take the idea of self-publishing seriously.
You are clearly one of those people who wants to manage your writing success on your own terms, and we think that’s awesome.
Yes, self-publishing does put the responsibility for your book’s success squarely in your hands, and that does mean more work for you. But . . . it also means you get to make the best decisions for you.
One of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing a self-publishing company.
That’s why we encourage you to research each of these companies, the services they provide, the costs involved, and the ease of use on their platforms.
Publishing your own book is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Be sure you’re clear on what you hope to achieve from writing and publishing your own book and what your limitations might be.
With that clarity, you now have a variety of excellent resources to choose from. May your next book be the self-publishing success you dream of — but even if it’s not, you have accomplished something amazing, so bravo to you!