SF Nonfiction Books Blog/Your Path to Publication: A Comparison of the Best Self-Publishing Companies

Friday, May 19, 2023

Your Path to Publication: A Comparison of the Best Self-Publishing Companies

Explore the journey to becoming an author with our comprehensive guide. Compare top self-publishing companies, understand their benefits and drawbacks, and find one that best matches up with your manuscript. Get expert tips to turn writing dreams into published reality!

Are you a First Time Author?

Authors today can take control of their work and establish themselves more easily than ever in today's literary landscape, thanks to self-publishing services available online. As traditional publishers become less influential due to digital formats, more authors are opting for self-publishing - but how do authors select an ideal partner on their journey to publication?

Welcome to "Your Path to Publication: A Comparison of the Top Self-Publishing Companies". In this comprehensive guide, we aim to assist in your journey toward publication by providing an impartial comparison between self-publishing companies in the market today.

Beginning by outlining why self-publishing companies should be part of your publishing plan, we will conduct an in-depth comparison among the top 10 self-publishing services, taking into account costs, customer service quality, and author experiences with each.

As part of our self-publishing journey, we'll also offer practical tips for authors embarking on self-publishing; including manuscript preparation advice and marketing strategy ideas. By the end of this article, our goal is to give you all of the knowledge and confidence you need to make the best choices for yourself and your publishing journey.

No matter if you are an established author looking for a change or an aspiring writer looking to share their voice, "Your Path to Publication" provides an in-depth guide to self-publishing in today's 21st-century publishing industry. Let us show you all of its exciting possibilities!

Best Publishing Company

Publishing involves more than simply printing books, and SF Nonfiction Books understands that. They provide invaluable resources on critical areas like publishing logistics, marketing strategies, and cover design - giving authors every tool necessary to make informed decisions each step of the way.


Why Should You Pair Up With a Self-Publishing Company?

Top 10 Self-Publishing Company

  • ​Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
  • ​IngramSpark
  • ​Draft2Digital
  • ​Smashwords
  • ​Lulu Press
  • ​Book Baby
  • ​Kobo Writing Life
  • ​Barnes and Noble Press
  • ​Outskirts Press
  • ​SF Nonfiction Books

Tips for Authors When Self-Publishing


Why Should You Pair Up With a Self-Publishing Company?

Authors often face a difficult decision between traditional publishing and self-publishing in their journey to publication, where each offers distinct benefits. While self-publishing gives authors greater control of their work, self-publishing also comes with obstacles such as technical complexity, marketing challenges, and breaking into an established market - this is where consulting a self-publishing company may make all the difference in reaching success.

By joining forces with a self-publishing company, authors gain a seasoned guide who can lead them through an unfamiliar landscape. These companies bring a wealth of industry expertise, professional services, and practical support, offering invaluable assistance at every step of book production from cover design, formatting, and distribution - so they can focus on what they do best: writing!

Self-publishing companies can also help improve your book's marketability, by keeping up-to-date on current market trends and offering advice regarding pricing strategies, cover designs, and marketing tactics tailored specifically for genre. With established distribution networks for physical as well as digital retailers as well as promotional tools tailored specifically towards reaching target readers quickly, self-publishing companies can also significantly enhance book marketing success.

At the core, choosing a self-publishing company is ultimately a personal decision that depends on your unique needs, resources, and aspirations. But for many authors, having knowledgeable support in their publishing journey can make the journey less arduous, more successful, and ultimately more satisfying.

Top 10 Self-Publishing Companies

Self-publishing has seen exponential growth over the past several years, providing authors with many options when it comes to publishing their work. But with so many self-publishing companies out there offering various services and packages for publication, deciding between them can sometimes seem like an impossible task; each self-publishing firm may offer different packages and pricing structures - what works well for one author may not suit another author.

In this section, we provide an overview of the top 10 self-publishing companies currently dominating the industry. Our goal is to assist you in making an informed decision regarding which one of these is the right match for your specific needs and publishing goals. Here's our list of the top 10 self-publishing companies:

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), one of the premier platforms for self-publishing authors, provides an efficient and cost-effective platform for authors to publish both eBooks and paperbacks. Backed by its enormous retail power, KDP allows authors to publish both eBooks and paperbacks efficiently and affordably.


  • ​Ease of Use: KDP's user-friendly interface makes publishing books simple for authors. With its step-by-step publishing process and clear user instructions, even newcomers to book publishing can find KDP straightforward to navigate.
  • ​Expanded distribution: Books published with KDP are made available across Amazon platforms around the globe, giving their authors global reach that few other platforms can match.
  • ​Royalties: KDP offers competitive royalty rates of up to 70% for eBooks and 60% for paperbacks.
  • ​Print-on-Demand (POD): KDP's Print-on-Demand service eliminates the need for large upfront print runs; books can instead be printed as they're ordered, reducing risk and upfront costs.


  • ​Limited Distribution outside Amazon: While KDP provides impressive reach within Amazon's ecosystem, its reach beyond can be limited for paperbacks.
  • ​Customer Service: Some authors have reported concerns with KDP's customer service, citing slow response times and lack of personal care from KDP staff members.
  • ​Formatting Options: While KDP offers simple publishing solutions that meet most authors' needs, those seeking more complex or unique book formatting options may find its simplicity to be restrictive.

Overall, Amazon KDP offers self-publishing authors an ideal and economical platform to publish and distribute their books globally. Its extensive reach and competitive royalty structures make Amazon KDP especially desirable to authors looking to maximize their earnings potential.


IngramSpark is an esteemed figure in self-publishing, famed for its global distribution network. Backed by Ingram Content Group - one of the world's premier book distributors - IngramSpark offers both eBook and print-on-demand services to both authors and publishers alike.


  • ​Expanded Distribution Network: IngramSpark's distribution channels covers more than 39,000 retailers, libraries, and schools worldwide.
  • ​Print Quality: Renowned for its exceptional print-on-demand services, IngramSpark provides an array of print runs spanning trim sizes, binding types, and paper qualities for custom projects.
  • ​Returns Program: Unlike many self-publishing platforms, IngramSpark provides an attractive returns program, making your book even more enticing to brick-and-mortar bookstores.


  • ​Fees: IngramSpark charges setup fees when publishing both eBooks and print books through them; while these aren't excessive, they can add up quickly for authors publishing multiple titles.
  • ​Complex Interface: Some users find IngramSpark less user-friendly than competitors, with a steeper learning curve and more difficult interface.
  • ​Customer Service: Unfortunately, as with many larger companies, some users have reported issues with IngramSpark's customer service, including slow response times.

Overall, IngramSpark is an invaluable platform for authors seeking wide distribution and premium print-on-demand services. With its close ties to Ingram Content Group, this platform gives authors an advantage when reaching retailers and libraries alike.


Draft2Digital is an industry-leading self-publishing platform known for its user-friendly interface and wide array of services, specifically catering to eBook authors. Draft2Digital provides automated formatting tools, broad distribution channels, and marketing services that allow authors to meet their publishing goals more easily.


  • Ease of Use: Draft2Digital is widely known for being user-friendly and intuitive; even new publishers find the process of uploading, formatting, and publishing books easy and straightforward.
  • Expanded Distribution: Draft2Digital distributes to multiple online retailers such as Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo to ensure authors reach a wide global audience.
  • ​No Upfront Costs: Draft2Digital is one of the few platforms that don't charge upfront costs for publishing books; instead they take a small commission off of its retail price as payment for service rendered.


  • ​Limited to eBooks: Draft2Digital specializes primarily in eBook publishing; therefore authors looking to focus on print books may require to pair this platform with another service.
  • ​Royalty Rate: While Draft2Digital's commission may seem fair when combined with that of retailers like Barnes & Noble or Kobo, authors may end up receiving less of their royalties than anticipated.
  • ​Limited Formatting Options: Draft2Digital's automated formatting tool can provide basic book layout options; however, authors requiring more intricate or unusual book designs may find its capabilities limited.

Draft2Digital offers authors looking for an efficient, cost-effective means of publishing eBooks an effective route. Their extensive distribution network and user-friendly platform make this an attractive option for new authors as well as experienced ones.


Smashwords, one of the pioneers in self-publishing, provides an innovative platform that allows independent authors to publish and distribute eBooks independently. Committed to author profits and boasting an expansive distribution network, Smashwords has helped thousands of authors realize their publishing dreams.


  • ​Wide Distribution: Smashwords offers broad distribution via online retailers such as Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more as well as libraries through OverDrive and Baker & Taylor.
  • High Royalties: One of Smashwords' standout features is its dedication to author profits. It offers up to 80% royalties on sales from its own store and 60% for sales through major retailers.
  • Free ISBN: Smashwords offers authors free ISBNs for eBooks, saving them the cost of purchasing their own.


  • ​Formatting Requirements: for Smashwords distribution, books must meet certain formatting guidelines which may be difficult for some authors to navigate.
  • ​Smashwords Doesn't Offer Print Versions: Smashwords is exclusively an eBook platform; authors who would like to offer print versions must utilize another service in addition to Smashwords.
  • Website Design: Some users have criticized the Smashwords website as outdated and less user-friendly than its rivals.

Smashwords offers authors who value broad distribution and high royalties an excellent opportunity for eBook publishing. Authors willing to abide by its guidelines can find immense value in using Smashwords as an eBook publishing platform.

Lulu Press

Lulu Press is an established self-publishing platform that caters to both eBook and print-on-demand authors. Their focus is author control; Lulu offers various formats and binding options as well as distribution to key retailers.


  • ​Control and Customization: Lulu Press offers unparalleled control and customization, from book sizes, binding types, and paper quality options to their extensive author services. This gives them complete control over how their books look physically.
  • ​Distribution: Lulu offers distribution through major online retailers, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and our own Lulu Bookstore to give authors maximum reach.
  • ​No Upfront Fees: Since Lulu operates under a print-on-demand model, authors don't incur upfront costs - instead, Lulu simply takes a commission off each sale made through them.


  • ​Royalty Rates: Whilst Lulu offers competitive royalty rates, they may be lower than some other platforms if sales come through third-party retailers.
  • ​Customer Service: Some users have noted their dissatisfaction with Lulu's customer service, including slow response times and no resolution of their issues.
  • ​Learning Curve: Lulu offers many customizable features, making the platform difficult for first-time users.

Lulu Press provides authors with maximum control and customization, making it the ideal platform for authors with specific book production visions. Furthermore, its wide distribution options and tailored book options make Lulu an attractive option among self-publishing authors.


BookBaby is an all-encompassing self-publishing platform offering eBook and print book production, cover design, editing services, and marketing solutions - making it the go-to place for authors who prefer an effortless publishing experience.


  • ​Comprehensive Services: From professional editing and cover design to book formatting and distribution, BookBaby offers a full spectrum of publishing services, making it a convenient option for authors who would rather take care of every aspect of publishing in one location.
  • ​International Distribution: BookBaby offers distribution services on an expansive variety of platforms, such as Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo - providing authors' books with a global reach.
  • ​Customer Support: BookBaby takes pride in its outstanding customer support services, always having someone available via phone or email to assist authors with any inquiries they might have about publishing a book with us.


  • ​Costs: While BookBaby offers comprehensive services, these come at a cost. Upfront fees can be higher compared to other platforms and make BookBaby an expensive way of self-publishing books.
  • ​Royalty Rates: BookBaby has lower royalty rates compared to some other platforms, which may impede authors' earnings potential.
  • ​Less Control: BookBaby offers convenient full-service publishing, but this means authors have less control over specific aspects of their publishing journey.

BookBaby offers an attractive suite of services, making it an attractive option for authors seeking an effortless self-publishing experience. The convenience of having all services under one roof combined with outstanding customer support makes this choice worth exploring for many authors.

Kobo Writing Life

Kobo Writing Life is the self-publishing arm of global digital reading leader Kobo. Aimed primarily at eBook authors, this user-friendly platform enables authors to publish their works and reach a global audience via Kobo's vast platform.


  • ​International Distribution: Kobo's global footprint makes sure books published through Kobo Writing Life can reach readers in over 190 countries, giving authors maximum exposure.
  • ​Ease of Use: Our platform is easy and user-friendly, making it effortless for authors to upload, format, and publish eBooks.
  • ​High Royalties: Kobo Writing Life offers highly competitive royalty rates that vary between 45% to 70% depending on the cost of publishing an eBook book.


  • ​Limited to eBooks Only: As Kobo Writing Life only supports eBooks, authors seeking to offer print versions of their book must use another service in addition to Kobo Writing Life.
  • ​Limited Distribution: Kobo lacks Amazon's reach in key markets like the US.
  • ​Lack of Additional Services: Kobo Writing Life differs from other platforms in that it does not provide additional services like editing, cover design, or marketing.

Kobo Writing Life offers authors looking to reach a global audience with their eBooks an attractive choice, thanks to its user-friendly platform and competitive royalties.

Barnes and Noble Press

Barnes & Noble Press is the self-publishing arm of Barnes & Noble's popular bookseller. This self-publishing initiative allows independent authors to publish both eBooks and print books through Barnes & Noble's expansive marketplace.


  • ​Brand Recognition: B&N offers unmatched brand recognition within the book industry and could lend your book extra credibility.
  • ​Print and eBook Options: Barnes & Noble Press stands out from other platforms by catering to both eBook and print-on-demand authors, providing multiple formats and print options.
  • Competitive Royalties: Barnes & Noble Press offers competitive royalty rates for ebooks and print books. 


  • ​Limited Distribution: Though books published through Barnes & Noble Press can be found on their own website, they don't enjoy as wide an international reach as some other platforms.
  • ​No Additional Services: Barnes & Noble Press does not provide additional services like editing, book cover designers, or book promotion services to authors who publish with us.
  • ​Attributes of Barnes & Noble: Although being associated with such an established brand as Barnes & Noble can be advantageous, their physical retail presence has been gradually decreasing over time limiting in-store opportunities.

Barnes & Noble Press offers authors an appealing alternative for publishing both eBooks and print books under a respected brand. While distribution may be somewhat limited compared to other platforms, its attractive royalties and range of print options make this an attractive option for many authors.

Outskirts Press

Outskirts Press is a self-publishing company located in Denver that offers authors professional design, production, and distribution of their books. Their focus on author satisfaction combined with various publishing packages has earned them the title "author-centric publisher."


  • ​Full-Service Provider: Outskirts Press offers comprehensive services for authors - everything from professional cover design and manuscript formatting, marketing and distribution assistance, and book distribution assistance - making them a one-stop-shop solution.
  • ​Customizability: With various publishing packages and services available a la carte, authors can personalize their publishing experience according to their individual needs and budget.
  • Author Ownership: Authors retain ownership of their book and receive 100% of net royalties compared to some full-service self-publishing companies.


  • ​Cost: Outskirts Press offers comprehensive self-publishing solutions, but its services may incur higher costs for authors only requiring help with specific aspects of their process.
  • ​Complexity: Outskirts Press offers many options and packages, making navigating their offerings somewhat daunting for some authors.
  • ​Quality Variability: Outskirts Press provides professional design and editing services, but some authors have reported variability in the quality of these services.

Outskirts Press provides authors with an excellent self-publishing experience with high levels of customization. Authors retain ownership and receive 100% of net royalties - two hallmarks of success for any successful author in self-publishing.

SF NonFiction Books

SF Nonfiction Books is a bootstrapped small business with a small but dedicated team that specializes in helping non-fiction authors publish their own work. SF Nonfiction has kept up-to-date with the rapidly changing self-publishing environment. They will guide you in your self-publishing route toward success.


  • ​Efficient and teachable system: SF Nonfiction Books will help you out in publishing your own work electronically and in print across a wide range of self-publishing platforms
  • ​Book and EBook formatting: Get your manuscript professionally formatted for eBook and Print.
  • ​​Cover creation: Eye-catching covers made for conversions for eBook and Print.
  • ​​Description writing: Get copy that converts for your book descriptions.
  • ​​Learn to self-publish: Learn the exact method we use to publish on all the major platforms. Whether it be on Ebook Stores or Ebook Market, you will definitely be on track with SF Nonfiction Books' services. 
  • ​​Full Service: Give us your manuscript and we'll do everything for you. Be as hands-on or -off as you want.


  • ​Limited genre focus: As its name implies, SF Nonfiction Books specializes in non-fiction. If your writing falls outside this genre, their services might not fully meet all your specific requirements.

SF Nonfiction Books can assist you with self-publishing your first or future nonfiction book. We can help you release your own self-published book and in print across a variety of self-publishing platforms based on our real-world experience as authors and independent publishers.

Tips for Authors When Self-Publishing

Every author's self-publishing route is different, with its own set of twists, turns, and techniques. However, there are some general guidelines that might help you achieve your self-publishing objectives.

Here are some important considerations for any author considering self-publishing.

  • ​Importance of a professional book cover design: They say don't judge a book by its cover, but a great cover is essential in captivating readers. A quality cover design not only increases the overall value of your book but also expresses the genre and content in a single glance. Consider hiring a professional cover designer who knows the industry and can develop a cover that stands out in your category.
  • ​Proper editing and proofreading: A book packed with typos and grammatical problems might harm your author's credibility. Thorough editing and proofreading will ensure that your content appears flawless and respectable. This process may include self-editing, beta readers, professional editing services, or a mix of the three.
  • ​Marketing and promotion strategies: Without an effective marketing strategy, even the finest book will fail to sell. This can include things like social media promotion, email marketing, book signings, and even hiring a publicist. Determine your target demographic and how to reach them, and then adjust your marketing plan appropriately.
  • ​Building an author platform: Your author platform serves as a direct link between you and your readers and future readers. This might include your social media accounts, website, blog, email newsletter, or any other method by which you interact with your audience. Start setting up this platform as soon as your book is written, in order to have a ready audience when it is launched.
  • ​Networking with other self-published authors: Other writers can be a great help. They may provide guidance, share their expertise, and provide assistance throughout your publication journey. Writer's clubs, online forums, author events, and social media platforms may all provide networking possibilities. Collaboration typically outperforms competition in the field of self-publishing.


In conclusion, self-publishing companies present a myriad of choices for authors looking to take control of their publishing journey. Each offers different strengths, characteristics, and potential drawbacks, allowing for a wide range of possibilities.

SF Nonfiction Books emerge as a standout option amidst the crowd, particularly for authors writing in the non-fiction genre. This company's comprehensive approach provides invaluable support through every stage of the publication process.

They offer a range of services from expert editing and creative design to strategic marketing and distribution support. Each of these services is crucial in guiding authors and helping them make their mark in the publishing world.

What truly sets SF Nonfiction Books apart is their dedication to understanding each author's unique needs and vision. They take the time and care necessary to forge relationships that are based on respect, transparency, and commitment.

This careful approach guarantees that the final product isn't just a testament to an author's hard work and passion but is a true reflection of their vision and effort.

So, if you're exploring self-publishing as an option, remember to consider not just what each company offers but also how well they align with your personal vision. You might find that SF Nonfiction Books, with its tailored approach and comprehensive support, is the ideal partner on your publishing journey!

Check out all of SF Nonfiction Books author services here: https://www.sfnonfictionbooks.com/author-services

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