Writing a book is a huge accomplishment – congratulations! But there’s still work to be done! Many authors operate with the assumption that once their manuscript is complete, their work is done. Unfortunately, it’s just the beginning. Now it’s time to find a publisher, which can be next to impossible these days. That’s why a lot of new authors are taking the self-publishing route, which means you’ll need to find the right platform and do the necessary marketing to promote your book and get people buying it. But don’t let that scare you. There are plenty of great services that help you publish your book yourself. And to make it even easier, we’ve done the research to help make your self-publishing journey a smooth one.
We’ve spoken to new authors who’ve spent countless hours Googling publisher after publisher without realizing that they can be their own publishers. Along with other perks, self-publishing allows you to turn your story into a book without waiting to be discovered by a traditional publisher.
Benefits of Self-Publishing Include:
Self-publishing is an artistic choice that allows you the freedom to refine your masterpiece on your own terms. If you sign with a traditional publisher, there is no limit to how much they can change – your book’s title, cover idea, and parts of your manuscript that were important to you.
It is true that ideas can start as one thing and evolve into something totally different. That’s the fun of creativity. With self-publishing, you approve all those changes – it’s your book, your story, your vision.
You Set Your Timeline
With self-publishing, you have more control over your timeline. Although many traditional publishers are great to work with, others require loads of patience as they are typically swamped, and may take weeks to respond to your questions. They may also need to schedule your book to be published further in the future than you envisioned. Some publishers could also demand you to meet unrealistic deadlines, forcing you to rush the creative process.
With self-publishing, you set the pace. You will be slightly dependent on the schedules of any third parties involved in producing your book (editor, illustrator, book designer, etc). In the end, however, you are the boss.
As a self-published author, you have the potential to earn more royalties per book sale. Traditional publishers often only give their authors 10-15% royalties for each book sold.
With self-publishing, the amount of money that you make on each book sold will vary significantly based on the price of each book, production costs, and the self-publishing services that you employed. Royalties are something you will need to take into account when choosing your self-publishing services but they typically fall within the 30-80% range.
Top 6 Publishing Services
If you Google self-publishing services, you’ll find an overwhelming amount of information. We’ve done our research and have come up with a list of the six best services for self-published authors:
BookBaby is a one-stop shop for your self-publishing needs. Their services include editing, book design, marketing, book distribution, and more. The price range is based on the length and genre of your book, starting at $100.
If you’re looking for full support from start to finish, consider going with one of their Self-Publishing Packages. That way, you won’t need to coordinate too much because BookBaby’s team will take care of everything. Their packages may seem pricey, but considering the costs involved in each step of the process, their price tags aren’t unreasonable. Also, BookBaby does not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, so each package is customizable.
Related Article: BookBaby Self-Publishing Review
With BookBaby, there are three self-publishing packages to choose from:
- Express: Costs $1090. You get 25 softcover books, eBook conversion and distribution, Print on Demand distribution, and two ISBN barcodes.
- Complete: Costs $2190. Like the package above, you get 25 softcover books, eBook conversion and distribution, Print on Demand distribution, and two ISBN barcodes. Plus professional cover design and book formatting for both print and eBooks.
- Deluxe: Costs $2890. You still get 25 softcover books, plus eBook conversion and distribution, Print on Demand distribution to retailers, and two ISBN barcodes. And similar to the Complete package, the Deluxe package also includes professional cover design and book formatting for both print and eBooks. In addition, you get Ads for Authors Campaign Development, Ads on Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn, and Display Ads. Plus a Bookshop promotion bundle and Metadata Optimization.
While BookBaby markets itself as having a real team of people to work on your book with, Amazon KDP, on the other hand, offers a different kind of self-publishing experience. Once you’ve written, formatted, and designed your book, you can upload your files and publish your book with just a few clicks. You will see your book on the market within 72 hours.
What’s more? Publishing your book with Amazon KDP is free. There is a catch, though. The free price tag means that if you want your book professionally edited, designed, and marketed, you will have to pay to outsource talent. That being said, Amazon KDP does offer free tools to help, such as their Kindle Kid’s Book Creator and free author page to help with marketing.
IngramSpark has a lot in common with Amazon KDP, however, there is a bit more support available. It costs $25 to publish an eBook with IngramSpark. For both eBook and print, the cost is $49. (If you’re considering this option, sign up for IngramSpark’s newsletter as they often offer promo codes for free services.)
Similar to Amazon KDP, you will need to coordinate your own book design, editing, and any other services you need. IngramSpark does offer book design tools, as well as links to numerous experts such as marketers, editors, book reviewers, and more. Getting your book into the retail market seems to be pretty easy and straightforward, as they supply books to over 40,000 stores around the world.
Like Amazon KDP, Draft2Digital is free to use. Self-Publishing your book with Draft2Digital is relatively simple, and they have tools to help authors convert PDF Files into eBooks. The company also provides free author pages which you can link back to on your social pages.
Draft2Digital does offer distribution and has a list of retail stores to choose from. Their distribution’s reach, however, is not as broad as IngramSpark or BookBaby.
Kobo is another easy and free option available to authors who want to self-publish eBooks. The company advertises that you can get your book up and ready for readers in just six steps, and its website includes tools to keep track of sales. Because it all happens digitally, your stats will be updated as soon as a sale is made.
It is important to note that Kobo does not offer printing services, but don’t let this deter you. An increasing amount of readers love the ease and convenience of eBooks, and Kobo can be used in conjunction with any other self-publishing service that does offer printing.
Last but not least, Lulu, a self-publishing company that offers a huge amount of support to authors from start to finish. Their website is like a candy shop for new authors, with pictures of different book sizes, paper types, and bindings that help you picture what your book will look like. Each book type has its own template to help you create and design your book.
Lulu offers distribution in their own bookstore, as well as in over 40,000 bookstores and libraries around the globe. They do, however, have the reputation of having higher printing costs compared to the publishers listed above – meaning fewer royalties in your pocket.
How to Reach Your Self-Publishing Goals
So where do we go from here? If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t worry. There is a lot of work to do and you are new to this, so we’ll leave you with some tips to help you get started:
Tip #1: Be Open to Change
As writers, we understand that your book is your baby, but don’t be afraid to let it grow and evolve. Make a list of key elements of your book that are most important to you – your opening line or a key scene that will transport your readers to a different world. With your list handy, you won’t lose sight of your original idea.
Tip #2: Build Your Dream Team
Pick your talent and self-publishing services wisely. Reach out to your local network to see if anyone you know personally has ever self-published a book and can point you in the right direction. If you don’t know anyone in the industry, do a ton of research and read reviews to find quality professionals who you can trust.
Tip #3: Make a Plan
Your plan will vary depending on your goals, project, and experience. Make a to-do list of everything you need to get done and go from there.
- Book design
- Get ISBN
- Obtain copyright protection
- Arrange distribution
- Marketing and promotion
- And more!
Tip #4: Manage Your Money
If your self-publishing service is distributing to retailers, make sure you read the royalty agreement carefully before moving forward. Also, keep track of your spending to ensure you aren’t burning too big a hole in your pocket. Most authors, especially newer ones, understand that it takes time to make any money off your book, which is OK.
Tip #5: Ask for Help When You Need It
If you get stuck somewhere in the self-publishing process, chances are that you aren’t alone. You will find like-minded authors in writer’s groups who want to support you and have likely been through this process themselves. Even virtual groups on Facebook and Instagram can be super helpful.
Also, if costs are piling up and you’re having trouble funding your project, help is available. Some authors choose to explore crowdfunding options, such as Kickstarter, to make their dreams a reality.
Self-Publishing Made Easy
Whether you’ve written a children’s book about animal friends or a self-help book that will transform lives, sharing your work is an exciting step in your journey. We hope that this article will help you make decisions that will serve you best and get your book out into the world!