SF Nonfiction Books Blog/How to Kickstart Your Author Journey with Self-Publishing Platforms

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

How to Kickstart Your Author Journey with Self-Publishing Platforms

"Discover the ultimate guide for self-publishing platforms to launch your author journey with self-publishing! Learn key steps, strategies, and tactics that will enable you to navigate this booming industry and unleash your creative side. Discover how popular platforms can help reach target audiences while building yourself as an author in digital era - make self-publishing part of an exciting literary adventure and leave your mark!"

Self-publishing has emerged as an innovative means for writers and creators to share their work with readers worldwide. Simply defined, self-publishing refers to publishing work independently without going through traditional publishing industry gatekeepers - most typically books. The process usually includes tasks such as writing, editing, designing, formatting, and marketing the book - with assistance from either freelancers or the author himself/herself.

Independent publishing has taken on greater significance in today's digital era. Thanks to the internet and technology, publishing barriers have been dismantled, enabling anyone with a story worth telling to reach an international audience almost instantaneously. It has led to an exciting democratization of the publishing industry; voices that might otherwise go unseen are now heard loud and clear!

Self-publishing allows writers to retain full control over content creation, design, and marketing decisions as well as receiving a larger portion of royalties, making it an attractive option for many aspiring authors. Self-publishing has opened up new realms of possibility while sparking fresh narratives that are revolutionizing the literary landscape. We will further examine its intricate details herein; specifically focusing on platforms fueling this revolution.

Best Choice!

Publishing involves more than printing books, and SF Nonfiction Books understands this. Their resources on topics like publishing logistics, marketing strategies, and cover design give authors all of the tools needed to make informed decisions throughout their publishing and writing journey.


Understanding Self-Publishing Platforms

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Self-Publishing Platform

Top Self-Publishing Platforms to Check Out!

  • ​Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
  • ​Draft2Digital
  • ​Smashwords
  • ​Lulu
  • ​Ingram Spark
  • ​Apple Books (formerly iBooks)
  • ​Kobo Writing Life
  • ​Barnes & Noble Press
  • ​BookBaby
  • ​SF Nonfiction Books

Tips and Strategies for Success in Self-Publishing


Understanding Self-Publishing Platforms

As we explore the vast world of self-publishing, it becomes apparent how vitally important self-publishing platforms are. Simply defined, they're online services that enable authors to publish independently; providing all necessary tools and infrastructure needed for authors to craft an edited manuscript into an appealing book or ebook before dispersing it to various retailers and libraries worldwide. Some platforms even provide print-on-demand services allowing authors to avoid investing in large print runs while managing inventory costs.

Self-publishing platforms offer many advantages for authors. First, they reduce barriers to entry in publishing by making book publishing possible for anyone regardless of experience or resources - effectively democratizing it! Second, authors who use self-publishing platforms gain complete control over every step of their publishing process from cover design and pricing decisions to marketing and sales strategies - not forgetting royalties that tend to be higher with self-published authors, making self-publishing potentially more profitable than traditional models.

Self-publishing platforms also come equipped with their own audiences and marketplace, making it easier for authors to reach potential readers. Furthermore, these platforms often include analytics tools for tracking sales performance as well as reader demographics. With such creative freedom, financial benefits, broad reach, and valuable insights available through self-publishing platforms redefining literary success are now easier than ever!

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Self-Publishing Platform

Selecting an ideal self-publishing platform can significantly impact your journey as a self-published author. Here are some factors you should take into consideration when selecting one that meets both your needs and ambitions:

  • Understanding Your Publishing Goals: It is key to setting clear publishing goals before selecting a platform for publishing. Are you seeking an eBook, print book, or both, with wide distribution or focused targeting of specific markets or are all rights being retained in case future opportunities such as translations or film adaptations arise? Knowing exactly what goals your book aims to fulfill will lead you toward finding an environment that best supports these endeavors.
  • Consider Costs and Royalties: Different platforms have different cost structures and royalty rates, from free publication with a percentage taken off your sales to upfront fees with higher royalty percentages. Understanding these financial aspects is crucial not only to afford publishing but also to maximize potential earnings.
  • ​Analyzing the Platform's User Interface and Ease of Use: Finding an intuitive, user-friendly platform can save both time and frustration when publishing online. Look for platforms with straightforward book creation tools, upload procedures, and clear guidelines; this aspect could drastically change your publishing experience if you intend on handling much of the work yourself.
  • Check for Distribution Channels and Reach: When choosing a platform for publishing books, its distribution network is key in reaching as many potential readers as possible. Some platforms partner with online retailers or libraries; others might focus on building their own marketplace. Consider your target audience's likely shopping habits when making this choice.
  • ​Evaluating Customer Support and Resources Available: As you explore self-publishing for the first time, customer support can be essential in providing guidance through this process. Make sure your platform offers live chat support, email assistance, or community forums, in addition to high-quality educational resources like guides, tutorials, or webinars which may prove immensely helpful when learning the process of publishing.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a self-publishing platform that not only meets your immediate needs but will also support the long-term publishing journey.

Top Self-Publishing Platforms to Check Out!

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is an innovative self-publishing platform offered by Amazon that allows authors to publish directly to its Kindle Store.


  • ​Easy to Use: This platform is easy and user-friendly, making uploading manuscripts, covers, and covers for pricing decisions straightforwardly intuitive.
  • ​Huge Distribution: Amazon provides authors with global reach; books published through KDP can be made available across Amazon marketplaces worldwide.
  • ​High Royalty Rates: Amazon offers between 35% and 70% royalties for ebook sales depending on list price and location - an amount often higher than traditional publishers offer.
  • ​Creative Control: Authors have full creative control of their book's cover design, interior formatting, pricing strategy, and marketing efforts.
  • ​KDP Select Program: By joining this program, authors have an additional avenue of income generation through Amazon Prime Reading and Lending Library services.


  • ​Exclusive Distribution: To take full advantage of KDP Select benefits, authors must agree to distribute their ebooks exclusively via Amazon.
  • Royalty Restrictions: When selecting royalty as an option, certain conditions apply - for instance, pricing restrictions and file size cost deductions may occur.
  • ​Formatting Limitations: While KDP supports most book formats, some complex formatting may not translate as successfully to its platform.
  • ​Attracting Attention in an Overcrowded Marketplace: With millions of books available through Amazon, getting noticed may require concerted marketing efforts aimed at standing out and becoming visible.

Overall, Amazon KDP provides an ideal platform for self-publishing authors, offering creative control, an efficient process, and access to an international readership.


Draft2Digital provides independent authors and publishers a platform to publish ebooks and print books without managing multiple individual accounts, simplifying distribution across platforms such as Apple Books, Barnes & Noble Kobo, etc. Draft2Digital currently partners with Apple Books Barnes & Noble Kobo among many others.


  • ​Broad Distribution: Draft2Digital provides access to an expansive network of ebook retailers, libraries, and subscription services, providing greater reach than many individual self-publishing platforms.
  • ​Ease of Use: Our platform is user-friendly with an intuitive, straightforward user experience from manuscript upload to distribution.
  • ​Automated Formatting Tools: Draft2Digital provides automated formatting tools designed to save authors time and effort when getting their books ready for publishing.
  • No Upfront Costs: Authors do not incur any upfront costs with Draft2Digital; its revenue comes through taking 15% of net royalties sold as payment for services provided.
  • Universal Book Links (UBLs): UBLs provide an easy and cost-efficient way to promote books on multiple storefronts at once, making promotion simpler and more effective than ever before.


  • Lower Royalties: As an aggregator, Draft2Digital takes a 15% commission from net royalties when sales occur through them; consequently, authors may experience lower royalties than when selling directly through certain platforms.
  • ​Doesn't Distribute To Amazon KDP: Draft2Digital currently does not distribute directly to Amazon's KDP ebook marketplace unless your country doesn't permit direct access. Amazon remains one of the primary ebook marketplaces.
  • Sets Minimum and Maximum Prices for Each Platform: Draft2Digital may set minimum and maximum prices across its distribution platforms, which may limit your control over how your book's price should be set.
  • ​Delayed Sales Reports and Royalty Payments: Reporting sales transactions or payout royalties may take longer when publishing directly onto individual platforms.

Draft2Digital provides authors and publishers with a user-friendly, cost-effective self-publishing platform designed to make book distribution simple.


Smashwords is one of the world's premier ebook self-publishing and distribution platforms, founded in 2008. As an aggregator, Smashwords allows authors and publishers to reach multiple markets via one access point.


  • Wide Range of Formats: Lulu Press offers various formats and binding options for printing physical copies, giving authors more flexibility when it comes to creating the book they envision.
  • Lulu's Reach: Lulu provides books to major online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Apple iBookstore as well as bookstores through Ingram Content Group.
  • Print-On-Demand (POD): With this capability, authors can reduce upfront costs and risks associated with print runs by ordering as few or many books as desired at one time.
  • No Exclusivity: Authors maintain complete control over their work and can publish on other platforms concurrently.
  • Authors Have Full Control Over Pricing: Authors have complete freedom and independence in setting their retail price and profit margin for books sold at retail.


  • Higher Print Costs: Lulu's print costs may be higher than some other print-on-demand services, potentially impacting pricing and profitability for your book.
  • Formatting Assistance Is Limited: While Lulu does provide some advice when formatting their book, authors tend to largely be responsible for formatting their own work.
  • ​Paid Services Can Be Expensive: While Lulu provides basic self-publishing tools that are free for authors to use, their paid services - which include professional book editing services, cover design services, and marketing - may incur costs.
  • Delay in Customer Service Response: Some authors have reported slow customer service response times, leading to further delays during publishing processes if issues arise.

Overall, Smashwords provides authors looking to retain control while expanding their distribution networks with self-publishing platforms that give access to an expansive distribution network.


IngramSpark is an internationally acclaimed self-publishing platform known for its global distribution network and print-on-demand services, offered through Ingram Content Group one of the world's largest book distributors - Ingram Content Group is known as one of the biggest book distributors worldwide!


  • Global Distribution: With IngramSpark's expansive international reach -- thousands of retailers and over 39,000 libraries globally are reached - the company offers numerous advantages when it comes to global distribution.
  • ​Print-On-Demand and Ebooks: IngramSpark stands apart from many self-publishing platforms by providing both print-on-demand (POD) and eBook versions for publishing your book.
  • ​Variety of Print Options: IngramSpark provides various print options in terms of book sizes, binding types, and paper qualities for maximum customization of physical books.
  • No Exclusivity: Authors have the freedom to distribute their books through other platforms as well.
  • Wholesale Discounts: Authors can offer wholesale discounts to retailers and libraries to encourage them to stock their books.


  • Establishment Costs: Unlike many self-publishing platforms, IngramSpark charges fees for the initial setup and revisions of books published through IngramSpark.
  • ​Complex Interface: For those new to self-publishing, this platform may prove more challenging to maneuver than expected.
  • ​Customer Service: Some users have reported issues with IngramSpark's customer service, including slow response times and lack of support.
  • ​Marketing Responsibilities: Like with most self-publishing platforms, all marketing and promotion duties belong solely to the author.

Overview IngramSpark is an inclusive self-publishing platform known for its wide distribution capabilities and print-on-demand service. With access to various resources and tools on IngramSpark authors can make informed choices when self-publishing.

Apple Books (formerly iBooks)

Apple Books (formerly iBooks) is Apple's ebook and audiobook distribution platform, catering to millions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac users worldwide. Furthermore, through Apple Books for Authors, independent authors can publish and distribute their works directly to Apple's audience.


  • ​Large User Base: With millions of Apple devices being used worldwide, authors can reach an extensive global readership.
  • High royalty rates: its flat 70% royalty rate on books regardless of price point is without delivery fees and additional processing charges.
  • No Exclusivity: Authors can choose to publish their books across other platforms as well.
  • ​Visibility: Apple Books often features books of interest as promotional opportunities, providing visibility.
  • ​EPUB3 Support: Apple Books supports EPUB3, which enables more interactive and multimedia-rich ebooks.


  • Limited Market Share: Although Apple Books boasts an enormous user base, their market share compared to some other ebook retailers such as Amazon is relatively lower.
  • ​Publishing Process Can be Confusing: Some authors find publishing with Apple Books more complex than with other platforms.
  • Direct Publishing Requirement for Macs: For direct publishing to Apple Books, a Mac is necessary; otherwise you must utilize an aggregator service instead.
  • ​Limited Pricing Control: Apple Books provides minimum and maximum prices based on each book's region of publication.

Apple Books provides authors with a powerful platform for self-publishing books, providing high royalty rates and access to an international readership

Kobo Writing Life

Kobo Writing Life is the self-publishing arm of the global digital reading platform Kobo, offering millions of ebooks directly to customers around the globe. Independent authors and publishers alike can publish and distribute their ebooks directly onto Kobo to reach an international readership.


  • ​Global Reach: Kobo has an established presence across international markets, giving authors access to audiences outside U.S.- and UK-centric platforms.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Kobo Writing Life has long been recognized for its user-friendly publishing platform.
  • ​High Royalty Rates: Authors may earn between 70-55% royalties depending on the book price and area in which it sells.
  • ​No Exclusivity: Authors have the freedom to distribute their work across other platforms as well.
  • Promotional Opportunities: Kobo Writing Life offers various promotional tools and opportunities, such as being included in promotional campaigns or email campaigns from Kobo itself.


  • Narrower Audience: While Kobo boasts global coverage, its customer base remains smaller compared to Amazon or similar platforms.
  • ​Limited Tools: Kobo may provide limited marketing tools compared to those found elsewhere.
  • Delayed Reporting: Some authors have observed that sales reporting can sometimes take more time compared to other platforms, which could impede tracking and marketing initiatives.
  • Limited Pricing Control: Prices will automatically adapt based on geographical region and exchange rates, potentially altering your pricing strategy.

At its core, Kobo Writing Life provides authors with a viable self-publishing option with global distribution, high royalty rates, and an accessible publishing process.

Barnes & Noble Press

Barnes & Noble Press is an author- and publisher-friendly self-publishing platform provided by Barnes & Noble - America's premier brick-and-mortar bookseller - to enable independent authors and publishers to publish and distribute ebooks or print-on-demand books directly to both their online bookstore customers as well as physical bookstore customers of Barnes & Noble.


  • ​Access to Physical Stores: B&N Press offers authors the unique benefit of having their print books sold and distributed throughout Barnes & Noble stores - something not possible through traditional self-publishing platforms.
  • No Upfront Costs: Authors can publish ebooks and print-on-demand books without incurring any upfront costs or upfront fees.
  • Royalty Rates: Authors could potentially see high royalties for both ebooks and print books.
  • ​No Exclusivity: Authors keep full rights over their work, which allows for publication across various platforms.
  • ​User-Friendly Interface: Our platform offers an effortless publishing process.


  • ​Limited Reach: Barnes & Noble Press serves the U.S. market exclusively, which limits its global impact.
  • ​Few Marketing Tools: In comparison with other platforms, Barnes & Noble Press does not provide as many tools for authors to promote their books on Barnes & Noble Press
  • Slow Review Process: Reviews may take multiple days before they can be approved and made available for sale, which delays publishing processes significantly.
  • ​Customer Service: Some authors have reported experiencing difficulty with customer service response times and issue resolution.

Overview Barnes & Noble Press provides an effective self-publishing platform for authors seeking to tap the vast Barnes & Noble customer base.


BookBaby provides comprehensive self-publishing solutions to independent authors. From ebook conversion and book printing services, cover design services, and editing support services right up to book distribution with major retailers around the globe - BookBaby provides everything needed for self-publishing success!


  • Wide Range of Services: BookBaby offers authors an assortment of services, from editing and formatting to cover design, printing, and distribution services.
  • ​Wide Range of Distribution: BookBaby provides global distribution through major online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books, and others.
  • ​Print on Demand: BookBaby offers print-on-demand for authors who need multiple copies without incurring large upfront print run costs.
  • No exclusivity; authors can distribute their books through various platforms without incurring penalties from BookBaby.
  • ​Customer Service: BookBaby stands out with its excellent customer service, providing authors with guidance throughout their publishing journey.


  • ​Cost: As with platforms that facilitate self-publishing alone, BookBaby offers comprehensive services at an additional fee; therefore it might not suit authors on tight budgets.
  • No Direct Royalties: BookBaby does not collect royalties directly from retailers, which could delay payment for royalties. Instead, BookBaby pays royalty payments through their platform instead.
  • Marketing Responsibility: Authors are ultimately accountable for marketing and promotion activities; BookBaby does provide paid promotional services as an option, however.
  • Paid Revision: Any revisions required after publication - such as price adjustments - require payment of a revision fee.

BookBaby offers authors looking for assistance and convenience during the self-publishing journey, making it ideal for authors with little technical expertise or any desire for hands-off management of self-publishing processes.

SF Nonfiction Books

SF Nonfiction Books is a bootstrapped small business with a dedicated and small team that specializes in assisting non-fiction authors publish their own work. By staying current with self-publishing trends, SF Nonfiction has kept pace with this fast-changing industry.


  • Effective and Teachable System: SF Nonfiction Books offers an efficient and teachable system to publish your own work across various self-publishing platforms electronically or in print form.
  • ​Book Formatting Services: Get your manuscript professionally formatted for both eBook and Print versions.
  • ​Cover design: Attractive covers created for eBook and Print conversions are created.
  • ​Description Writing: Make your book descriptions memorable by producing copy that works effectively.
  • ​Learn the ropes of self-publishing: Find out the specific processes we employ when publishing on all major platforms. Starting from generating your book idea, book marketing, etc., SF NonFiction Books will definitely assist you.
  • Full Service: Bring us your manuscript and we'll handle everything else for you - be as hands-on or hands-off as desired.


  • ​Limited Genre Focus: As their name implies, SF Nonfiction Books specializes exclusively in non-fiction writing services; therefore if your writing falls outside this genre it may not meet all your individual requirements.

SF Nonfiction Books can assist you in your writing journey and self-publishing your first or future nonfiction book. We can release your work online and in print through various self-publishing platforms based on our real-world experience as authors and independent publishers.

Tips and Strategies for Success in Self-Publishing

Success with self-publishing does not come automatically; it requires careful planning, deliberate execution, and strategic decision-making. Here are some essential tips and strategies for success:

  • ​Professional Editing and Proofreading Are Essential: No matter how skilled a writer you may be, professional editing and proofreading of your manuscript are indispensable for its quality and readability. An editor can identify plot holes, inconsistencies, and weak points in the narrative that may have gone undetected by you; proofreading ensures your final draft does not contain grammatical errors, typos, or punctuation mistakes that undermine reader engagement while increasing credibility as an author.
  • ​Significance of an Engaging Book Cover: Contrary to popular belief, publishing industry professionals don't judge books by their covers. An eye-catching book cover designed by professionals can capture potential readers' attention, make an immediate first impression, and visually represent your book's content - oftentimes making the first impression on potential readers and boosting book marketability significantly.
  • ​Effective Marketing and Promotion Strategies for Self-Published Books: Marketing is vital to any self-published book's success, so create an ambitious marketing plan which includes social media promotion, email marketing, and collaborations with influencers or book bloggers in your genre. Doing this will create awareness for your book among target readers while ultimately driving sales.
  • ​Reader Reviews and How to Gain Them: Reader reviews provide not only valuable feedback but also serve as social proof, strengthening your book's credibility and attractiveness to potential readers. Encourage your readers to leave reviews on platforms like Amazon and Goodreads by including a polite request on your book's final page or offering advanced reader copies (ARCs) as an incentive. Early reviews can create buzz and enhance visibility upon launch day!


Self-publishing can open doors of creative freedom, wide distribution, and potentially profitable returns for authors. Self-publishing platforms give authors control over every step from the first draft to the finished product and beyond to marketing and sales - providing countless voices with an opportunity to be heard and stories to be told.

Among these platforms, SF Nonfiction Books stands out as an exceptional platform for both emerging and established authors alike. Not only does it offer a user-friendly interface, extensive distribution networks, and generous royalty rates but it also fosters a vibrant and supportive community of writers and readers. In essence, SF NonFiction Books serves not just as a publishing platform but as a launchpad to realize your literary ambitions!

No matter where your writing journey may lead, SF NonFiction Books offers an exceptional platform to bring your work out into the world. Their commitment to author empowerment combined with easy-to-use tools and broad reach make SF NonFiction Books stand out among self-publishing platforms. Experience firsthand why so many successful authors choose this platform for themselves as their self-publishing partner - let SF NonFiction Books help your story reach readers around the globe!

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