In the past, authors often faced significant hurdles in getting their work published and read by the masses. Traditional publishing could be a painstaking and lengthy process, often resulting in more rejection slips than accolades. But the digital revolution has transformed the publishing landscape, introducing an era where authors can self-publish their work with relative ease. Numerous self-publishing platforms now exist to cater to the varied needs of authors. Here, we'll review seven of the best self-publishing platforms to help you decide which one is the right fit for you.
IngramSpark is a popular self-publishing platform offering comprehensive services for both eBooks and print books. Its greatest strength is its extensive distribution network. IngramSpark connects your books to over 39,000 retailers and libraries, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent bookstores worldwide. This platform is known for its high-quality printing, but its services come with a cost. There are set-up fees for each book and potential revision fees, so it's worth considering if your budget allows for this. IngramSpark is best suited for authors planning for a long-term career who need an expansive reach.
Lulu is a versatile self-publishing platform that lets you publish print books, eBooks, photo books, and even calendars. Offering a straightforward publishing process, Lulu is known for its free-to-use platform, providing authors with 80% of the revenue from book sales. Furthermore, Lulu offers global distribution, making your work available on major retail sites such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others. If you're seeking a free and user-friendly platform with a decent royalty rate, Lulu is worth considering.
Draft2Digital is an excellent platform for publishing eBooks. It doesn't charge upfront fees and provides a host of tools and services for formatting, conversion, and distribution. This platform distributes to major retailers like Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others. Notably, Draft2Digital offers a Universal Book Link (UBL) feature that provides a single link directing readers to every store where your book is available. For authors interested in a no-hassle, cost-free eBook publishing process, Draft2Digital is a good option.
Barnes & Noble Press is the self-publishing arm of the renowned bookstore chain. The platform enables you to publish both eBooks and print books for free, with your books available on the Barnes & Noble website and its stores. This platform offers competitive royalty rates and monthly sales reports. Barnes & Noble Press also provides promotional opportunities through NOOK reading devices and stores. If you're interested in a platform with strong brand recognition and potential for in-store exposure, this is the platform for you.
Kobo Writing Life is the self-publishing platform of the global eBook retailer Kobo. The platform distributes your eBooks to readers in over 200 countries. Unlike many other platforms, Kobo Writing Life allows you to set your book price to 'free' at any time without any restrictions, making it ideal for promotional strategies. Additionally, it offers an intuitive dashboard, clear sales tracking, and promotional opportunities. Kobo Writing Life is a solid choice for authors looking to reach an international audience, particularly in Canada and Europe, where Kobo is very popular.
PublishDrive is a self-publishing platform known for its impressive distribution network, which includes over 400 stores and 240k digital libraries across 100 countries. PublishDrive charges a small monthly fee rather than taking a cut of your royalties, meaning authors earn more per sale. Furthermore, the platform provides useful analytics and marketing tools. If you're an author seeking extensive distribution and don't mind a subscription-based model, PublishDrive could be the choice for you.
Smashwords, one of the largest indie eBook distributors, has a reputation for being beginner-friendly. It offers free eBook publishing and distribution to major retailers like Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more. Smashwords also distributes to libraries through OverDrive, Baker & Taylor Axis 360, and others. Authors retain control over their pricing, including the ability to offer books for free. If you're a new author in the self-publishing world, Smashwords is a great place to start.
In conclusion, the choice of a self-publishing platform largely depends on your specific needs as an author. Consider factors like costs, distribution networks, the type of books (eBook, print, or both), and the provided tools when choosing a platform. Each platform listed here has its unique strengths, and understanding these can help you make the right choice for your self-publishing journey.
P.S. Check out my books on Amazon. No doubt about it, Amazon is still the big dog.