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Self-Publishing Services — An Overview

A Round Up of Popular Self-Publishing Services


My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking

The Kindle self-published, first book by the wildly successful Amanda Hocking

Image: Amazon Kindle

You’ve done your self-publishing research and read the self-publishing success stories—and now you’d like to know more about your options.

Here’s a handy overview of some of the most popular self-publishing services. Each has their own pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, and proprietary features.


High-Quality Designed & Illustrated Self-Published Books

Blurb offers print-on-demand services and seems especially suitable for highly visual, "bookstore quality" book. As a testament to Blurb's popularity for visual artists, it was the service of choice for photojournalist Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post - he used Blurb to print his Pulitzer-Prize winning collection of photos of Ian Fisher, a young soldier sent to Iraq. Blurb also has a collaboration with Adobe Systems, featuring built-in Blurb bookmaking functionality within the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom product. This feature makes the process of book creation turnkey for those photographers and visual artists already using and/or conversant with the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software. Read more about the features of Blurb self-publishing service.

Got Its Start In An Indie Music Company
BookBaby seems friendly and accessible and offers up a number of free marketing resources, along with a friendly blog that dispenses regular advice. Read more about the details of what BookBaby has to offer indie authors.

Amazon.com’s CreateSpace Paperback Self-Publishing Service

Through CreateSpace, self-publishing authors can set up a basic book with no initial costs and get seamless access to it's parent company, Amazon.com's, powerful book distribution and merchandising channel. CreateSpace claims to offer "some of the highest royalties in the industry." as well as an easy e-book conversion through its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) electronic publishing program (see below). Get more details about Amazon.com’s CreateSpace.

iUniverse Guided Self-Publishing from an Author Solutions company

iUniverse uses the term "guided self-publishing" to describe its robust range of DIY publishing services, which are laid out much the same way as in a traditional publisher—at a la carte and package prices. If you want to see your book available both in print and in e-book formats, represented in stores and maybe even in the media--and are willing to pay for the privilege read more about publishing with iUniverse. And read more about other Author Solutions self-publishing companies.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Self-Publishing E-Books with Amazon’s KDP

Kindle Direct Publishing offers e-book-only publishing and the advantages of Amazon.com’s online distribution power. Read more about publishing with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

Kobo Writing Life
Kobo’s "Reading Life" Extends to Self-Published E-Book Authors

The Japanese-based cross-platform e-reading service Kobo launched the Kobo Writing Life e-book publishing service in Beta in June 2012. Offering key reader insights and marketing tools gleaned from their capabilities, the Kobo Writing Life aims to be “Best in Class,” helping self-published authors to “engage with fans on a global scale” through their e-reading service, and puts all aspects of publishing (setting prices, advertising, marketing) “in the hands of the writers helping them to maximize sales.” Read more about Kobo Writing Life.

Popular Lulu.com a Wide Array of Self-Publishing Print and E-Book Options

Lulu.com is a very popular self-publishing service that offers both print-on-demand book and e-book digital development capabilities and a wide array of publishing support options. The author picks the package and the price, and promotion is available through Lulu.com. Read more about Lulu.com.

NOOK Press
Barnes & Noble’s E-book Self-Publishing Platform

NOOK Press, from the major book retailer Barnes & Noble, offers the distribution of barnesandnoble.com and some of the useful promotional features of being associated with a major bricks-and-mortar stores. With NOOK Press, there are no upfront costs and competitive royalty rates. Read more about the features and capabilities of Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Press

A True “Indie” E-Book Self-Publishing Experience

With Smashwords, the author is considered to be the publisher of his or her own e-book. Unlike some other e-book self-publishing services, Smashwords allows its authors a great measure of control over pricing, and over access to the work. To exploit the Smashwords’ service to the fullest requires that the author to take a good deal of responsibility over the quality of the work that is uploaded to the service, as well as be fully engaged in other aspects of the process. Read more about publishing with Smashwords.

Tell Us About Your Experience!

If you've self-published your own book, please let About.com readers know how you rate your self-publishing service.

Or read reviews of other authors' self-publishing experiences.

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