A Survival Guide to Self-Publishing
The digital age has made everything easier, and self-publishing is no different. Authors have the freedom to build successful, viable careers, but most don’t know what services are out there. It isn’t easy to keep track, which is why I’ve done it for you! In this survival guide, you’ll find a handful of things every author needs to know and a detailed comparison of the most reliable services. I want you to make the right choice when it comes to your work.
Kindle Direct is likely the self-publishing platform that you are most familiar with because the Amazon Kindle is such a massive e-book platform. They promote themselves as being the fastest to market internationally, allowing their authors to maintain control and publish in multiple mediums.
Features: They do both e-books and paperback books for their authors. There is no set-up cost and they allow you to bring your own ISBN. They have excellent customer service and a simple process to publishing. Kindle Direct also offers a 70% royalty on their platform.
Distributors: Kindle Direct only publishes to Amazon, which is a major downfall for this service.
Lulu is one of the most prominent self-publishing outlets, with free distribution and sales tracking for their authors. They pride themselves on providing additional paid services for authors who need help, with competitive royalty rates.
Features: Lulu offers hardcover and paperback books, as well as an e-book service. They provide ISBNs to their authors and allow them to bring their own. Their service is not as user-friendly as others, but they do provide templates to format e-books. Their service is primarily print-on-demand.
Distributors: Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, Kobo.
Draft2Digital is a smaller platform, but that doesn’t mean they should be discounted. They offer free formatting for e-books, complete control over the list price, where it is distributed, and ways to track your sales. They also protect your copyright and have no restrictions on how you use your e-book.
Features: Draft2Digital offers both e-books and audio-books. They only take a 10% royalty. There is no set-up cost. You can provide your own ISBN or use one of their free ones under your publishing company. They are easy to use and have excellent customer service. They also offer an author page, marketing tools, and a promotions option.
Distributors: They distribute to Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Overdrive, Playster, Tolino, 24Symbols, bibliotheca, and Baker & Taylor.
BookBaby ultimately offers the most for any self-published author. They have the largest e-book retail network, great customer service, no commission, marketing services, and other optional services. However, they make you pay for every service. Publishing one book could likely bankrupt an author if you need all the services they offer.
Features: They offer hardcover and paperback books, e-books and audiobooks, and a print-on-demand service. They provide a purchasable ISBN number for your book and allow you to provide your own. They also offer services like format conversion, cover design, and marketing.
Distributors: Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Overdrive, Scribd, and select bookstores.
Smash Words prides themselves on making monthly payments to their authors, with daily sales reporting from their platforms, and their own exclusive promotions.
Features: Smash Words only offers e-book services, with free ISBN numbers and format conversion to those who publish with them. They are not a user-friendly platform, but have excellent customer service. Each author receives access and control to an author’s page. However, they have a 60% royalty which is far less than most other options.
Distributors: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo.
The Winner: Draft2Digital
Choosing the right self-publishing platform depends on the writer, but Draft2Digital is the only company that I see myself working with. Draft2Digital offers more publishers every day and want their authors to succeed. They have a better design than every platform I’ve looked at. They’re easier to use and navigate. Customer service is responsive, friendly, and helpful.