Understanding the best self publishing companies is a guaranteed way to kickstart your career as an indie author in 2022. When you’re getting started as an author, especially if you’re writing a book for the first time, it helps to have as much knowledge as possible.
With a variety of resources available to you – from aggregators to print-on-demand services – knowing the biggest names in self publishing companies is key to getting your book out.
What is self publishing?
The act of getting your writing (whether that’s a novel, short story collection, comic book, and so forth) into the world by yourself is considered self publishing. The keywords in that last sentence are “by yourself,” so meaning without the assistance of an established publisher. Understanding how and why you should use some of the best self publishing companies is one piece of the ever-changing indie author puzzle.
What is an aggregator?
Throughout the indie world, you may hear the term “aggregator” tossed out. An example of an aggregator is Amazon KDP, where you upload your book manuscript and then allow a service like KDP to distribute your work across many channels.
What is a distribution service?
Another common phrase amongst the best self publishing companies is “distribution service.” Distribution companies – like IngramSpark – take your book directly from printer to retailer. These services cut out middlemen but do require work like cover design to be completed first. If you’re still wondering what distribution service is best for you, head over to our quiz!
Written Word Media’s List of the Best Self-Publishing Companies
- Amazon KDP
- Apple Books for Authors
- Barnes and Noble Press
- Self-Publishing School
Ready to dig in? Let’s do this!
Their name is synonymous with the best self publishing companies for a reason. Amazon KDP stands for Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. It holds at least 80% of the eBook market and is easily one of the most popular self publishing companies out there. For an overview of KDP, take a look at our video to see the ins and outs of this service:
Self publishing on Apple Books is yet another incredibly popular – and highly talked about – platform for indie authors. We have a step-by-step list of how to self-publish on Apple Books available, but first, you may be wondering why Apple Books. Our high-level answer? This self publishing option makes your eBook available on Apple Books as well as the “Books” section of iTunes. As Apple themselves said, digital book buying has boomed since 2020… And we all know that Apple claims a major piece of that market!
Yet another big-name self publishing company for all you authors is Kobo or Rakuten Kobo by its full name! One of the most exciting things about this company is that you can self publish on Kobo in as little as six steps. As a bonus, it’s completely free to get started! This means you can tap into the power of one of the biggest and best self publishing companies at no up-front cost to you.
Barnes and Noble Press, also referred to as Nook Press, is a self publishing option that puts your book out in front of millions of readers. Not only is it relatively simple to get started with, but there are additional tools through the B&N Press site (like a royalties calculator) beneficial to all types of authors. We’ve previously listed all the steps for how to self publish on Nook Press, so be sure to take a look and dive in.
Need an all-in-one platform for your self publishing needs? Then look no further than PublishDrive, which handles both the distribution and promotion of books. With a global reach that distributes print books, eBooks, and audiobooks, PublishDrive is ideal for the author who wants to take more of a hands-off approach to publishing.
If you’re looking for one of the highest-reviewed, best self publishing companies that seems to do it all… Reedsy’s your new friend. With book editing, design, and marketing services in one place, we recommend Reedsy for any indie author – but especially for those looking at how to publish and sell your first book. As we said with PublishDrive, this is a great option for those who want to write their book then put it into someone else’s hands for getting it to readers.
StreetLib is one of several self publishing distribution services that focuses on taking your book files and spreading them to a worldwide network. If you’ve produced an eBook, audiobook, podcast, magazine, or even comic book then Streetlib can distribute it. Their distribution network includes physical and online bookstores, so you can reach readers everywhere they go.
While we’re on the topic of distribution services, we can’t forget about IngramSpark! Their distribution network is one of the biggest in the world, reaching more than 40,000 stores. Like most similar services, IngramSpark is pretty easy to use. Create an account, upload your book details, and let IngramSpark take over. As an added bonus, they have additional services such as marketing assistance and design tools.
Lulu – also known as Lulu publishing, Lulu press, or Lulu.com – can really take the stressors of self publishing off an author’s shoulders. In efforts to house all needs under one roof, they provide print-on-demand, print and eBook distribution, resources, and much more. For those ready to get started, we covered the nitty-gritty details of how to publish with Lulu in this article.
One of the known perks of Draft2Digital is its ease of use. In our guide to the best self publishing companies that offer distribution services, we showed you how to format, publish, and distribute your book all through D2D. They are able to distribute your book across a vast network of retailers – including Amazon, Apple Books, and Scribd – and can even create a promotional homepage for you within their site.
On their website, Smashwords describes themselves as “the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.” Enough said! Use Smashwords to not only distribute your book to retailers and libraries but publish (for free!) directly through the Smashwords Store. As a note, if you choose to publish through the Smashwords Store you’ll earn up to 80% royalties. This is a big deal, particularly if you remember that Amazon royalties pay out at a maximum of 70%.
You’re likely noticing a common theme amongst many of the names featured on this list of the best self publishing companies: Nearly all of them offer book distribution services. The same is true for XinXii, which is capable of publishing both eBooks and audiobooks. You can register for free on XinXii to get started, create an author page, and have access to services like epub formatting conversion.
Self-Publishing School takes the idea of helping writers one step further – and goes to the very beginning of the writing process. From helping you develop your book idea all the way to publishing and promoting your title, they really do it all. While their publishing packages certainly come with a hefty price tag, they all include one-on-one coaching calls that any indie author would benefit from. This is the self publishing company for someone who’s starting from square one.
BookBaby can handle it all! Don’t believe us? Our 2019 guide reported that BookBaby’s many services include book printing, editing, design, and distribution. In 2022, BookBaby has grown to do even more – such as editing and proofreading. With so many best self publishing companies clamoring to serve authors, it doesn’t seem like these all-in-one services are slowing down any time soon.
Blurb’s bread and butter is the design aspect of book publication. Aside from printing photo books and wall art, their design software simplifies the creation of digital and print books. Hey, you can even design magazines if that happens to strike your fancy! Once your book is created, set it up and monitor sales on Blurb’s Bookstore (as well as other retailers). This in-house store reminded us of Smashwords’ platform.
Best Self Publishing Companies: Ok, What Comes Next?
Now that you know how to get your book into the hands of readers, it’s time to consider creating a marketing strategy. Here at Written Word Media, we have a bevy of promotional tools to effectively market your book to new audiences:
- Is your book free? Consider a Freebooksy promotion.
- If your book is priced under $4.99, a Bargain Booksy promotion is right for you.
- Promote Steamy Romance titles through Red Feather Romance.
- New releases under 4 months old can be promoted with NewInBooks.
- Are you promoting an audiobook? Head over to Audio Thicket.
- Promote Romance books in a dedicated newsletter with our latest brand: Limelight.
And if you’re ready to step up your promotional game with the help of Facebook Ads, we’ve got your back. Our Reader Reach Ads are the full-service ad solution for self published authors. Save time, save money, and get back to what you love most… Writing!
As always, authors, we want to hear from you. Have you worked with any of the self publishing companies on our list? What went well? What do you wish could have gone differently? Be sure to let us know – and until next time, happy writing and publishing!