Even if you are not an aspiring author, writing a book and getting it published can be a great source of second income for you. The idea is simple, the more books you sell the more you earn. While previously authors needed to befriend traditional publishing networks, things have drastically changed over the past few years.
Today in the current era we have self-publishing platforms that can remove many a hurdle to help you connect with the right audience and start making your earnings. Plus writing a book itself is by its very nature is an extremely introspective and thoughtful activity. However, no two self-publishing companies are the same and this is where you need to know the ins and outs of each available option.
Fundamental Types of Self-Publishing Companies
Before we jump into the various self-publishing companies on today’s list, I think it is better that we establish first the core and different types of self-publishing companies that are out there. This will help you understand how each self-publishing company differs from the rest thus assisting you to make an informed decision. So without any further a due, here are the key categories of self-publishing companies you can opt for:
These are publishing platforms that distribute your work to several online retailers. Working with an aggregator enables you to save energy, money, and time. All you need to do is upload your book and aggregators will distribute it to over thirty-plus channels.
Aggregators are often considered to be the first step when it comes to publishing with a self-publishing company. Moreover, aggregators can help you place your book in wider channels to cater to a larger audience.
Also known as self-published author services, they mainly provide authors with self-publishing services. Services can include book editing, cover designing, formatting, ghostwriting, providing illustrations, and much more.
While they are considered reputable but not many of them are broadly reflected upon as publishing companies. However, there are some scammy companies out there that are simply vanity publishers that not only overcharge authors but also do not deliver quality services.
These are the type of self-publishing companies that provide educational programs for authors through self-publishing courses as well as coaching. Through them, authors can get help to understand the overall self-publishing process and build a nice career. However, it is important to know that these sites generally don’t indulge in selling out books through their platform. You can use them to learn a proven process for self-publishing.
When we talk about a self-publishing retailer it means a platform that exclusively sells books through its own retail store. All you need to do is upload your books to these platforms and start selling. Retailers pay writers directly and some even offer exclusive programs. Plus, retailers can help you make more books sales by publicizing your book directly onto their marketplace. You can use them when you want to need a platform to sell your book.
The Best Self-Publishing Companies You Need to Know About
With a range of opportunities available, every self-publishing company comes with its own features that make them different from the rest. To ease out your pain points here is a quick list of the finest self-publishing companies you can reach out to in 2023:
- Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
- Apple Books
- Barnes and Noble Press
- KBook Publishing
Considerably one of the best book retailers in the world and also topping our list for the best self-publishing companies out there, Amazon is a force to be reckoned with, no doubt whatsoever. Perhaps the first thing you need to know is that it offers a free service to upload your book. Next in comes the royalties. For every e-book charged with a price range of $2.99 to $9.99, you can earn around 70% as royalties or 35% if the price tag is below $2.99.
With a huge customer base of around 310 million active users worldwide, Kindle Direct Publishing makes up for more than 6 million e-books with the majority of them self-published books. But there is more here than what meets the eye. As one of the best self-publishing companies, it offers enrolment for two very beneficial incentives namely the KDP Select and the Kindle Unlimited.
KDP Select vs. Kindle Unlimited
The KDP Select enables you to run advertising campaigns for your book by even setting it up for free for a limited time period. On the other hand, Kindle Unlimited can help users to subscribe to read an unlimited number of books per month. It is however important to note that KDP Select is Amazon’s exclusivity program which means that you can only sell your book on Amazon.
Next on our list of the best self-publishing companies is Apple Books. Launched as a self-publishing platform in 2010, it is fairly easy to upload your book, which is free. Royalties on most books are 70%, and by 2012, Apple announced that over 400 million books were downloaded through their platform. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the number of books sold equals the number of books downloaded.
Built for Apple Product Users
Nevertheless, Apple Books still get a fair amount of eyes. Plus with the help of iBooks Author, self-publishing authors can quite easily upload their titles onto Apple Books without having to pay a fee. While monetizing your books isn’t easy on Apple Books, still you get a chance to connect with a huge customer base with direct marketing to iPhones and Mac users.
There are however some limitations and that is you have to be a Mac user in order to publish directly to the apple store, plus with Mac, you cannot read books in the browser. Moreover, iBook authors use the ePub format which isn’t compatible with most other platforms and is available in only select countries. The upside is that there are no exclusive contracts to weave through and you can discount your books for free at any time.
Formerly known as NOOK Press, Barnes & Noble Press is an American bookseller and a Fortune 1000 company with over 614 retail stores across 50 US states. The company is headquartered at 122 Fifth Avenue in New York City and by 2010 they launched their electronic book store overseeing the introduction of its electronic book reader the Nook.
Royalties & Other Benefits
The company offers both publishing and self-publishing services. While it has struggled for market share against Amazon, it offers a fairly easy-to-use interface and free uploading of your book with no exclusivity requirements. Royalties include 70% on e-books priced above $0.99 and for books priced from $2.99 to $9.99 the royalty rate is 65% which is still commendable.
Furthermore, as one of the best self-publishing companies, they offer helpful resources to authors including an advertisement portal in 2021 to create marketing campaigns for their books. Plus they have strong affiliations with some of the best service providers in the industry. All you need to do is set up a free Nook account and register as a vendor. Your book will be live within 72 hours of hitting publish.
Moving on with our list of self-publishing companies is Draft2Digital which is an aggregator and provides ease of access to some of the biggest e-book marketplaces in the world. Recommended for their user-friendly interface and customer service, they provide both e-book formatting and uploading for free. However, they charge 10% royalties on all sales but you also get the option to upload your book for free as well.
Why D2D is Recommended?
There are a lot of factors why D2D is recommended by other stores as well including a sleek website design and a user-friendly dashboard. Other perks include UBL (Universal Book Links) which makes your books discoverable by enabling authors to generate a link to each of their books. This link goes straight to the customer’s preferred books retailer.
Another perk that makes it amongst the best self-publishing companies is the “automated back matter tool”. This attractive and well-designed service spontaneously adds your afresh and published an e-book to the “Also by this author” section of any other book that you might have distributed through D2D. You can upload your book within minutes and have it live on the site within 24 hours.
Still hot on the trail for the self-publishing companies that you can reach out to is our next entrant that is none other than KBook Publishing. Offering online services for authors, KBook is what you need on your self-publishing journey to touch the state of nirvana. Considered as the top self-publishing company KBook offers an outlet for authors and publishing freelancers in the self-publishing industry.
KBook offers the support of an online software tool to help writers convert their manuscripts to files that are suitable for publishing purposes. Once the writer has completed their manuscript the editor software is then able to format it for publishing including ePub, Mobi, or PDF. Furthermore, the software documents cooperation at every step of the inscription process.
Online Community & Resources
Plus KBook also helps you to assemble a team of professionals to help you throughout the process through their online community of editors, writers, publicists, designers, and much more. They have a powerful outsourcing platform to help you connect with the right resources and through them, you get your book ready for publication as well as gain an editorial assessment of your work.
Continuing with our list of self-publishing companies is Kobo. Operating as a Canadian self-publishing company, it is a subsidiary of a Japanese e-commerce giant known as Rakuten. Kobo is a renowned self-publishing company that accounts for nearly 25% of all Canadian e-book sales. It is free to upload your book and royalties include 70% on e-books priced more than $2.99. The royalties are 45% for books priced below $2.99.
Kobo Writing Life
As a self-publishing company, it offers a strong reach in the international e-book marketplace. With their KWL (Kobo Writing Life) self-publishing service you can upload your manuscript and have it added to their catalog within 72 hours. Kobo as a self-publishing company has been praised for its user-friendliness and many proclaim that is the easiest way to self-publish an e-book.
Extensive Distribution Channel
Similar to KDP, Kobo is a self-publishing company that offers perks and promotions to its self-publishing authors. Back in 2019, it had a capacity of covering more than 150 countries and over 38 million users making it a worthy self-publishing company that you should keep on your list of options. Kobo as a self-publishing company offers support for over 5 million titles in several languages as well as exclusive promotion opportunities as well.
The next self-publishing company that we have on our list is PublishDrive which is relatively new to other publishing companies on this list. As a publishing company, they claim that you focus on producing content and leave the rest to them. Pricing for this publishing company is 10% of the retail price per copy sold or subscription pricing. Operations and distribution of this publishing company include amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Bookmate, Google Play, Odilo, OverDrive, Playster, Scribd, and more.
Found in 2015 this publishing company works with over 4,500 publishers and can help you connect with over 400 stores. It has all the qualities of other publishing companies that operate as aggregators including a modern and easy-to-use interface, regular updates, and sales reports to keep you in the know at all times. For only $100 per month, it offers established authors to keep all of their royalties and this is known as their subscription pricing option.
Foreign Access & International Reach
On the other hand, the distribution option for this publishing company gives you access to major western retailers as well as specializing in international distribution. As one of the major self-publishing companies, it can give indie authors access to foreign markets that are previously out of their reach. Publish Drive was created by Kinga Jentetics to help other authors launch their dreams with Forbes magazine naming her as one of the top female entrepreneurs under 30 and top 100 female founders.
Self-publishing has never been made as easy when it comes to Smashwords. It offers a self-publishing platform that can help to get your book into the bigger marketplaces by maximizing distribution. Pricing for this self-publishing platform is 15% on the retail price and 10% on other platforms per copy sold. Distribution for this self-publishing facility includes Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Blio, Kobo, Scribd, SmashwordsStore, and more.
However, on the brighter side of things, this self-publishing podium has got a slightly more extensive distribution network than D2D. Hence if you’re looking for a self-publishing stage to sell your books to smaller retailers then this self-publishing lectern might be the right choice for you. The cost for this self-publishing stand includes monthly payments made along with one penny payment threshold with PayPal. Royalties include earning up to 80% of your book if it is listed on the Smashwords Store.
Making the publishing process even easier is StreetLib which is a self-publishing podium that can help you to distribute a lot more than e-books. They can also help in the distribution of audiobooks, comics, magazines, online literature, and podcasts globally and in any language, making it one of the finest self-publishing companies out there. It offers an international self-publishing facility with the opportunity to reach international audiences.
The pricing for this self-publishing facility is 10% of the retail price per copy sold. As one of the topmost self-publishing companies out there it distributes to Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, Google Play, Kobo, Indigo, OverDrive, Scribd, and more. Moreover, its self-publishing facility is quite well known in Latin America and Europe. In fact, it is one of the few self-publishing companies out there whose dashboard can be configured in English, Hindi, Italian, Spanish and other languages.
What Makes StreetLib Different?
StreetLib is perhaps the only Italian aggregator on our list of self-publishing companies and moreover, it provides a very strong international supply chain. Hence if you are a self-published author targeting worldwide sales then StreetLib should be on your watch list. Furthermore, if you want one of those self-publishing companies that can have your back with both the USA and the UK in your distribution list then StreetLibis perhaps one of the finest choices on our list.
Advertising themselves as an online self-publishing book and e-book company, Lulu can print, publish, and sell your books globally with their Print-On-Demand network. All of this is done while eliminating the risk and hassle of inventory and fulfillment. They also provide free resources and tools to you started with the process to become a self-published author.
Through Lulu, you can sell books directly to your audience via their free e-commerce apps and APIs. From journals, calendars to textbooks and coloring books, users can shop on their exclusive indie bookstore. Lulu also provides author services and its own retail store for your books. By 2016 over 2 million titles and more than 900,000 e-books were available on the Lulu store.
Royalties and Charges
When it comes to royalties, authors receive 80% for print books and 90% for e-books after a sale is made. Plus when it comes to cost the e-book conversion, distribution, and publishing services are free. However, if you need cover designing, editing, formatting, and marketing for your e-books then they offer you promotional services that come with a price tag.
Proclaiming themselves as Europe’s leading indie e-book self-publishing and distribution platform is XinXii which is a German self-publishing company. While initially, people might think that it can provide better links in China, XinXii has an effective presence and distribution links in Austria and Switzerland apart from Germany as well. It offers foreign distribution channels that might not be readily available elsewhere.
Cost and Charges
The pricing for XinXii’s services includes 30% of net sales for books price more than $2.49 or 60% for books that are priced below $2.48. Distribution channels include Amazon, Angus & Robertson, Buecher, Hugendubel, Indigo, Kobo, LivrariaCultura, Scribd, Thalia, Whitcoulls, and more. While customer service may need improvement, XinXii is great if you need book marketing in German-speaking areas.
Helping Authors Along The Way
XinXii is also able to help authors in numerous ways. For instance, if you have an idea and want to write a book but have no clue how to start then they can help you organize your thoughts. Furthermore, if you already have your book well underway but hit writer’s block then they can help you overcome it. Plus they can also help you educate how to sell your book including their own site and many other stores.
Reasons Why You Should Write a Book?
Apart from knowing the best self-publishing companies, you should know that writing a book is an inward journey that helps you gain perspective about what really matters to you. There is a lot that can be learned by writing a book and apart from monetary benefits, you can gain more with writing a book than simply improving your financial status. Here is a quick rundown of what writing a book can mean to you:
When the writing process itself is considered then it’s clear that the practice will force you to turn your thoughts inward and this can help you determine what really matters to you. Plus when you commit to a writing project, it will teach you the novel value of your own willpower. Furthermore, it can also prove to be a powerful means to get in touch with your motivations in life and deeper thoughts.
Reignite Your Passion
As writing proves to be a journey of self-discovery it can also help to rekindle a long-lost passion of yours. That is to say with deeper you contemplate your thoughts the more you find the need to scratch the surface of your own being. And in those thoughts, you are able to renew what might have been considered lost or nowhere to be found during your busy daily schedules.
Practice Will Make You Perfect
No one can deny the beauty of human ingenuity and the more you delve into the subject you will find reasons to ascertain the fact that we get better with things the more we practice them. The same rule applies to writing as well where the more you write the better you become with time. This means that if you start writing now you will only get better at it the more you write.
Nourish Problem Solving Skills
Writing a book by no means is an easy task. It takes a considerable amount of time as well as effort on your part. Plus planning and laying out the structure of your book makes it one of the most enduring cognitive tasks that you will ever come across. It is a downright challenging undertaking which means it will help boost your brainpower and take the bull by the horns.
Improve Your Knowledge
If you are thinking that works like Lord of the Rings or the Harry Potter series were made with zero research then you can’t be further away from the truth. Writing a book takes a considerable amount of study and this means you have to perform substantial investigation beforehand which naturally leads to an increase in your pool of knowledge.
Benefits of Self-Publishing Your Book
So if you have a book ready and you are an indie writer what’s next? Do you pursue your luck with traditional publishing houses or reach out to a self-publishing platform? To answer this question how about we look at the benefits that self-publishing has to offer you which can help you make up your mind once and for all:
Better Financial Rewards
We all are in it when it comes to monetizing our work so would any writer not worry about missing out on an opportunity to earn better with their finished product. Plus it is your work and therefore why should you share your earnings for your own hard work? It simply doesn’t make sense. Self-publishing makes it possible for you to earn every dollar on your book that you sell and come back to you.
Perhaps the first thing a writer gets to have with self-publishing platforms is that they retain creative control over their work which many traditional publishing networks don’t offer. This means that throughout the stages of writing, designing, editing, and publishing, you can choose whether or not you would like to employ professional services. Plus it also means that you don’t have to answer to anybody else.
Since it is your work then it should be you who decides on how much should it cost and sell for right? Self-publishing makes it possible to set the price tag on your work according to your whims and wishes. While selling a masterpiece for a lower price can make it impossible to breakeven nevertheless it will help you gain more readership. So the choice is yours and no traditional publisher would offer you that much amount of freedom.
To sum it all up I guess the best way to put it is to say that you should never carry all of the eggs into one basket. There is a range of opportunities out there that are available right within your palms. So do your research and measure each option. Not every opportunity works out well so you have to weigh them accordingly and see which one works out the best for you.
I hope this post was able to offer you the insights you need to make an informed decision. However better still you should perform your individual research as well to find out more about self-publishing so that you are always in the know which prospect you should consider and which one you should just let it slide by.
If you think I missed out on any of your favorite platforms for self-publishing then do let us know by leaving a mention in the comment section below. Till then, happy reading and all the best for your future endeavors! CIAO!