Self-publishing is an intimidating experience if you are a first-time author. There are many things to consider like:
- Should you have a printed book or an eBook?
- How can you get a book cover that really represents what your book is about?
- Where do you distribute your book?
- How can you get people to buy it?
BookBaby makes the self-publishing process easy for you. Its experts help authors get to the marketplace by taking care of all phases of self-publishing. This support really makes the difference if you don’t know where to start. Many writers are skilled at expressing emotions and ideas in their writing but don’t necessarily have the promoting, editing, or design skills needed to create a final product that sells. That’s where BookBaby comes in!
This company will help you in every step from proofreading your work to paying out your royalties. Read on for a complete review of BookBaby services, what they can do for you, pros and cons, and how it stacks up against other self-publishing services.
What Is BookBaby?
BookBaby launched in 2011 and its success is based on a print-on-demand business model. The company has helped thousands of writers publish their books. BookBaby has experts in each area of the publishing process including cover designing, formatting, editing, printing, global distribution, marketing, multi-store publishing, and obtaining ISBN (International Standard Book Number).
BookBaby promotes book genres such as:
- Fiction and nonfiction
- Religious & spiritual
- Art & photography
- Sci-fi fantasy & comic books
- Self-help & how-to guides
- Academic textbooks
- Journals, magazines & booklets
In addition, BookBaby offers services in English and Spanish and commits to publishing your book or eBook in well-known stores like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Apple Books, Powell’s Books, Walmart, and many more. This way, you’ll receive higher profits from your book’s royalties.
BookBaby Packages and Services
BookBaby offers complete self-publishing packages depending on your needs. To take advantage of services such as design, editing, formatting, printing, and marketing, just send the files to the BookBaby platform and its team will do the rest. They will help create an eye-catching cover design and interior layout, as well as proofread and edit your entire book.
If you have a print-ready file in MS Word, Adobe InDesign, or PDF, you can go directly to distribution (in the US or worldwide). To help you get print-ready, BookBaby will advise you along the way, from making sure you have high-resolution images, the right margin size, a file free of sticky notes or comments, and error-free writing.
1. Print on Demand
BookBaby’s print-on-demand business model is a convenient solution for self-published authors. It allows writers to distribute their books directly to retailers and readers, without having to buy and store thousands of books. With print-on-demand services, you make sure that:
- Your book is always in stock. Your book will be in stock 365 days a year because you work directly with the printer. You have complete control over your expenses and profits.
- Your book is always updated. You can easily make changes to your book and upload it again. Then, your next printed books and eBooks will reflect the changes you’ve made.
- The financial risk is lower. There’s no need to predict demand. This is a pay-as-you-go strategy, in which you can start with just one printed book.
- No need for a big publisher’s approval. You have absolute control over your ideas and creativity. No one will tell you what to write. You take on all the risks and responsibilities for the promotion and marketing of your book.
- Faster printing. As you work directly with the printer, you can have your book on the shelves in a couple of weeks.
- You get higher royalties. With traditional publishing, you get low royalty rates (8 to 20 percent) and your publisher has creative control over your work, makes all marketing decisions, and takes on financial risk. With BookBaby’s print-on-demand services, you can receive 50 percent royalties on your book’s retail price.
BookBaby print-on-demand packages start at $99 for BooksShop Only (BookBaby’s own store) and $399 for global distribution. The company can print books from 24 to 840 pages, and all printing is done in the United States.
2. Editing and Formatting
BookBaby editing services are extensive, which is great because even the best author needs a pro editor! So, this additional service is quite popular. The team will evaluate the structure of your ideas, your writing style, and review elements such as grammar issues, misspellings, and capitalization. Here’s a brief breakdown of BookBaby’s editing prices:
- Line editing $10 per page
- Copy editing $7 per page
- Proofreading $3 per page
- eBook formatting starts at $299
3. Publishing: Print and Electronic
Before your book is released, you need to decide where you want to publish it. Do you want to promote it in the US? Would you like to use international platforms to have a global reach? You also need to decide if you want only an eBook, a printed version, or both. BookBaby will take care of formatting your book to EPUB files or Mobi files, and for printed books, you can choose from predetermined sizes in hardcover or paperback.
Prices for publishing with BookBaby vary depending on the number of books you need (and additional services). There are three main packages:
- Express: 25 softcover books and eBook distribution with two ISBN barcodes for $990.
- Complete: Express package plus book cover and interior formatting for $1990.
- Deluxe: Complete package plus marketing services (BookShop promotion and advertising in social media) for $2590.
You can get a printed copy for as little as $49. But this option is mostly for trying out BookBaby to get an idea of its quality and customer service.
4. Cover Design
BookBaby has two cover design services for printed books and eBooks: Basic cover design and deluxe cover design. Both options are high-quality, but deluxe cover designs are more eye-catching and stand out to help you get more sales. Their prices are as follows:
- Basic cover: $449
- Deluxe cover: $599
- Basic cover: $299
- Deluxe cover: $399
However, if you have your own book cover, upload it to the platform and you can skip this service.
5. Distribution and Shipping
BookBaby helps you analyze your target audience and its preferences. Also, they will ship your book to the delivery addresses you prefer. They also accept split shipping, so you can place orders for two or more locations. For instance, you can send some books to a distributor and to your house or to friends.
As soon as your order has shipped, BookBaby will send you an email with a tracking number. All shipping orders in the US use UPS, and shipping orders outside the US are delivered by DHL. You can place your orders from anywhere as BookBaby’s delivery list includes 170 countries. You only have to pay customs taxes according to your country’s laws.
6. Marketing Services
BookBaby’s marketing and promotion services are tailored to each author and the team will help you create marketing campaigns for your specific genre and audience. Marketing packages come in three plans:
- Social media
All plans cost $399. The experts at BookBaby will teach you how to optimize your marketing campaign depending on the channel you choose. For instance, if you choose social media book promotion, they will help you understand and design the best social media practices for engaging readers, promote your books through Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, and provide tips for tracking your social media analytics.
Facebook and Instagram Ads
BooksBaby gives you the possibility to promote your book through the world’s largest social platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. Two of the biggest social media platforms, these are reliable markets for independent authors, and promoting your book on them will increase sales.
In any case, BookBaby’s marketing packages require a minimum campaign budget of $100, and the cost per ad is $99. This service includes ad-related design, strategy, keyword research, and real-time metrics.
Review of BookBaby
BookBaby is a great solution for self-published authors during all publishing phases. Its customer service is one of the best in the industry, and its publishing specialists will guide you step by step. The available packages are easy to understand and have many advantages since the company takes care of the entire publishing process. As a result, BookBaby reviews are amazing, with 4.4 stars on Trustpilot.
But you should consider some of the services may not be the most affordable if you are on a budget. It might make more sense for you to look at freelance platforms, like Fiverr or Upwork, where you can find book covers starting at $15 instead of $299, or you can hire writers and editors to proofread your work.
- Multiple services. BookBaby services are extensive and impressive. Each phase of the publishing process is covered.
- Quick turnaround. There’s an extra Rush Service that allows you to get your book on the shelves in a couple of weeks.
- BookBaby Learn and other free resources. As part of its service, BookBaby offers templates and guides with comprehensive information on how to publish and write effectively.
- Payment options. You can pay for services with your credit card or PayPal account. And after selling your books, you can receive your royalties via bank transfer, check, PayPal, or Payoneer.
- Price. If money is a major concern, this is probably not the best option for you. Prices of some services are high. So, weigh up the investment and consider cheaper alternatives if your budget is small.
- Adding services racks up the bill. Some services are quite simple even for a first-time author and could save thousands of dollars if you do them yourself. Maybe you can learn how to transform your books from PDF to EPUB format, or how to upload your book to Amazon.
BookBaby Compared to Its Competitors
Before committing to any company, look into the pros and cons of different self-publishing services. Comparing BookBaby with its major competitors may help you decide which company best matches your needs.
BookBaby vs Lulu
BookBaby and Lulu offer similar services but Lulu works with third-party support as it connects with additional services such as Fiverr, ProWritingAid, and 99designs. Lulu’s production quality is optimal too, and it prints and distributes your books to popular stores such as Kobo, Scribd, Google Play, and Amazon.
However, compared to BookBaby, Lulu has mixed reviews. Lulu’s Trustpilot rating is 3.1 stars compared to BookBaby’s 4.4. Reading some of Lulu’s reviews online, it looks like their customer service is lacking, and if you have a complex project, you might not get much guidance.
BookBaby vs IngramSpark
IngramSpark has lower prices than BookBaby, with eBook packages starting at $25. But you’ll need to have some publishing knowledge and experience to get the most out of the available services. With IngramSpark, you save money, but you won’t have support in every step of publishing your book. BookBaby’s customer service seems to be a better option.
BookBaby vs Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, is Amazon’s platform for book publishing. It is the biggest player in the self-publishing industry. It’s a great option, and one many new authors turn to right away, but there is a do-it-yourself element involved.
With Amazon KDP, you won’t have any support beyond Amazon’s indications and requirements. So, if you are new to self-publishing, BookBaby offers more advantages with hands-on support whenever you need it.
BookBaby Is Definitely a Powerful Choice for Self-Published Authors
BookBaby is built to guide you in your first steps as a self-published writer. You choose when and where to publish and you’ll learn the basic steps to sell your book and earn more royalties.
If you already have experience publishing your own books, you can skip many of BookBaby’s services. But even if you have self-published before, you can still get a lot out of some of BookBaby’s services, especially when it comes to distribution and promotion. It’s a useful and efficient option if you don’t have the time to develop the creative processes of your book and can afford to put a bit more money into getting your book on the shelves.