Is your manuscript itching to get read?
Maybe you should publish it yourself.
The Joy of Cooking was self-published before it got picked up by Bobbs-Merrill and went on to become amongst the most influential cooking titles of all time.
There are many reasons people pick self-publishing over traditional publishing houses – maybe they want more control over the final product, or maybe they’ve faced rejection from publishing houses and decided to head out on their own.
This Author Earnings report from February 2016 shows self-published earnings at a glance – self-publishing is on the rise at a rapid rate.
Not bad, don’t you think?
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Check out these 10 self-publishing companies/platforms for getting your book out there:
What will I learn?
Lulu is one of the most popular self-publishing platforms out there. In 2012, they hit ten years of helping authors get their work out there.
There are no costs involved to get your work published with Lulu, and they work with both good old print books and e-books.
As far as distribution goes, they offer globalREACH (to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Ingram network).
See the Lulu Knowledge Base here for the ins and outs.
Update: Amazon is slowly phasing out CreateSpace. According to the company, “You can now manage your CreateSpace content on Amazon’s improved publishing sites.”
CreateSpace is part of Amazon.
There are no upfront costs to publish with CreateSpace, and your book is made available on Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, and Kindle.
If your book meets their Extended Distribution requirements, your book is also distributed to CreateSpace Direct, bookstores on- and offline as well as libraries.
Go here and click on Royalties for their royalty calculator.
Also technically part of the larger Amazon, KDP (or Kindle Direct Publishing) allows you to get your e-book showcased on the Kindle.
This can be used in conjunction with CreateSpace, or as a stand-alone option.
Their “how to publish” guide is over here.
Kobo’s Writing Life page takes you through self-publishing your e-book in five steps:
- Describing your e-book,
- uploading your content,
- choosing the relevant rights,
- setting the price for your work
- and finally clicking “publish”.
Your e-book comes out the other end in ePub format.
Royalties are via direct deposit once you’ve reached $50.
Blurb offers photo books, trade books, magazines, and e-books.
You can hire one of their experts to help you out if you get stuck.
Through Blurb, you can distribute your work through Blurb, Amazon.com or the Apple iBooks store.
Check out their free design tools here.
And see their pricing guide here.
Xlibris deals with print-on-demand work.
Royalty payouts are quarterly.
Bookbaby offers publishing options in the form of “packages” – which, being pricey, doesn’t make this option the highest up on the list.
Single book printing starts at $19, and custom book printing gives you 100 novels for $499.
They also offer editing and formatting services.
See their pricing guide here.
BookRix sticks to publishing e-books.
They are free, and your work is distributed to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, Baker & Taylor and more.
Royalty payouts happen monthly.
Here is the link to their guide on exactly how to publish with BookRix.
Smashwords is a big player in the e-book publishing market – and they were voted one of the best in 2013 and 2014 by Forbes.
Some of what they offer include free ISBN numbers, marketing tools (like the Coupon Manager if you want to give readers a special deal once in a while).
Their distribution reach is extensive, and they also distribute to libraries across the globe.
Here’s how to publish on Smashwords.
I’ve never heard of Draft2Digital before writing this – but according to their website they also offer free ISBN numbers and distribution to retailers like Scribd, Inktera, and Tolino in addition to the usual Kobo, iBooks and Barnes & Noble.
All you have to do is upload what you’ve got, choose your markets, set your price and publish.
Royalty payouts are monthly, with a threshold of $10.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if and when you decide to self-publish your first book:
ISBN for Your Book
Your book might need an ISBN number.
Many sites on this list can help you out with that. For more information on what an ISBN is and why you need one, check out this guide from The Book Designer.
Also, look at the International ISBN Agency.
Formatting Your Book
Take advantage of what’s on offer.
Most of the sites on this list offer formatting guides that tell you how to format your book or e-book for publication. Take note and stick to their guidelines!
Editing Your Book
Make sure your literary creation is ready.
Unless you’re a professional editor yourself, this might involve getting in extra help – consider hiring a pro.
Your Book Cover Art
Cover art deserves special attention.
See our article on selling art for cash which includes 31 sites that people can use to sell their art work. For you, many of these sites are great platforms to purchase and commission cover art at good rates.
Do It Right
If you’re going to self-publish, self-publish well. You have a responsibility towards readers not to half-ass it!
Don’t Forget to Promote Your Published Book
Promotion and getting people to buy it is usually up to you.
Make use of promotional channels, social media and set up your own website – how can people buy your book if they don’t know it’s out there?
Who knows? The manuscript you’ve been hiding could be the next literary big thing; now might be the time to send it out into the world and start building your base of Constant Readers.
Consider self-publishing, even if you feel like you’ve only got one or two books in you for your entire career – but remember: With great ideas come great responsibility (but also, great potential!).
Hopefully this list of self-publishing companies will inspire you to start the process of self-publishing your very first book – and make some money as an author.