SF Nonfiction Books Blog/The 14 Best Self Publishing Services

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

The 14 Best Self Publishing Services

Unleash your creativity and reach a wider audience with these expert-recommended platforms, from user-friendly interfaces to powerful marketing tools - you are sure to find everything needed for self-publishing your masterpiece with ease and success!

Self-publishing has revolutionized the publishing industry over recent decades, and one of the key developments is self-publishing's rise. No longer restricted by traditional publishers' whims, today's authors now have direct control of bringing their work directly to readers. Self-publishing offers multiple benefits - creative control, setting your own prices and royalties structures, as well as publishing on your own timetable are just a few benefits of this form of publishing.

Navigating the self-publishing landscape can be daunting, especially given all of the services available. Self-publishing requires more than simply uploading your manuscript to an online platform: it involves professional editing, cover design, formatting for different book types, and effective distribution and marketing efforts. Thankfully, numerous self-publishing services have emerged to assist authors in successfully bringing their books to market, each offering distinct services with distinct offerings and advantages.

We will explore 14 of the best self-publishing services currently available on the market and dissect their features, discuss their pros and cons, and give you all of the information needed to make an informed decision regarding which service best matches your publishing goals - be they ebook, print book or both. There is sure to be one available that can help your book reach its full potential!

Top Recommended Service!

SF Nonfiction Books stands out among self-publishing platforms by catering exclusively to non-fiction eBook authors. Not only can this platform streamline self-publishing processes for authors, but they can also access tools designed specifically to create non-fiction digital content creation.

SF Nonfiction Books stands out by taking a holistic view of eBook publishing as a journey, rather than simply as a digital conversion process. Their resources on essential aspects such as e-logistics, digital marketing strategies, and eBook cover design help authors make informed decisions throughout their eBook launch journey.

Discover your options by following this link:


Factors to Consider When Choosing a Self-Publishing Service

14 Best Self-Publishing Services You Should Try

  • Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
  • Smashwords
  • Draft2Digital
  • IngramSpark
  • Lulu
  • BookBaby
  • Outskirts Press
  • iUniverse
  • Blurb
  • Apple Books
  • Kobo Writing life
  • Barnes and Nobles Press
  • Scribd
  • SF Nonfiction Books

Tips for Success in Self-Publishing


Factors to Consider When Choosing a Self-Publishing Service

When starting your self-publishing journey, choosing the best self-publishing service is essential for your success. While not all self-publishing services are equal, and what works for one author may not work as well for another. Here are some important factors to consider while deciding which self-publishing service to use:

  • Cost: When looking for services that are within your budget, bear in mind that some may involve upfront fees that may end up being more cost-effective in the long term.
  • Ease of Use: Because self-publishing can be difficult, having a simple service with clear instructions and navigation can be really beneficial.
  • Distribution Channels: Consider where and how your book will be distributed. Some providers have larger distribution networks than others; be sure the one you choose efficiently reaches your target audience.
  • Royalties: Consider the royalty rates provided by each provider to verify you're getting a reasonable share from book sales.
  • Customer support: Because self-publishing may be difficult, having access to an experienced and prompt customer support staff when needed is important.
  • Additional Services: Does the business provide extras such as expert editing, cover design, or marketing aid, which might be very useful for first-time authors? These supplementary features may be extremely useful.
  • Reputation: Read internet reviews and author testimonials to determine a service's reputation. A dependable service should be able to demonstrate this by pleasing a large number of authors over time.

It is important to note that selecting the best self-publishing service is largely dependent on your individual demands and ambitions as an author. Take the time to thoroughly explore each choice while keeping these variables in mind - after all, this is your baby, and it deserves every advantage on its way to publication!

14 Best Self-Publishing Services You Should Try

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) stands out as one of the premier self-publishing platforms on the market today, thanks to its comprehensive and user-friendly services that appeal to novice and seasoned authors alike.


  • Global Reach: By publishing with Amazon KDP, authors gain immediate access to millions of readers worldwide. Books published through KDP can be made available across all Amazon marketplaces for maximum exposure - providing authors with an unrivaled global reach that's hard to match elsewhere.
  • Rights Retention: Authors maintain full control of their book's rights and can modify or withdraw it from the market at any time. Royalties: Amazon KDP offers competitive royalty rates of up to 70% for eBook sales (less printing costs) and up to 60% (minus printing costs) when selling print books (as measured against eBook sales).
  • Print on Demand: Amazon KDP utilizes a print-on-demand model for print books sold through them, meaning your book is printed only when orders come in, eliminating any upfront investment needed in stock.
  • KDP Select Program: When an author enrolls in KDP Select, their eBook becomes part of Kindle Unlimited and Owners' Lending Library with the potential for increased exposure and royalties.


  • Formatting: Whilst Amazon KDP offers formatting tools, these may prove insufficient and even difficult for beginners or complex projects.
  • Exclusivity: By enrolling your eBook with KDP Select, Amazon grants an exclusive contract for 90 days that forbids other platforms from selling it during this time.
  • Royalty Rates: Royalty rates can reach as much as 35%; this applies to eBooks priced below $2.99 or above $9.99, with larger file-size books incurring delivery cost deductions from their royalties.

Overall, Amazon KDP provides self-publishing authors with maximum visibility and control of their work. As with any platform, authors should carefully assess its benefits and drawbacks before determining if it meets their needs.


Smashwords is an established self-publishing platform catering to independent authors and publishers, providing services designed to streamline publishing processes while increasing author visibility.


  • Wide Distribution: Smashwords' vast distribution channel connects your work with retailers and libraries worldwide, expanding its potential readership. Author-Friendly Royalties: With up to an 85% royalty rate for sales made directly on their platform and 60% on partner and affiliate sites, Smashwords provides author-friendly royalties that keep work within their community of readers
  • Pricing Flexibility: Authors have full control of their eBook prices with Smashwords, with an option to offer books for free as a marketing strategy for new authors.
  • No Exclusivity: Authors retain full rights over their work and can publish it simultaneously on various platforms.


  • Formatting Requirements: Smashwords has specific formatting requirements which may prove challenging for some authors. The process of creating a 'Smashwords Edition' of your book can be time-consuming and intimidating - especially for beginners.
  • Royalties Delayed: Due to delays from third-party retailers, authors may not receive their royalties immediately upon the sale of a book.
  • Smashwords Doesn't Offer Print Options: Smashwords offers only eBook services; authors who require print versions will need to seek other platforms or services for this service.

Smashwords is an ideal platform for authors looking for eBook publishing with wide distribution networks, making it a smart option when choosing self-publishing services - it should always be tailored specifically to the project at hand but Smashwords should definitely be on the list of potential options to consider.


Draft2Digital has quickly become a leader in self-publishing, thanks to its user-friendly platform and comprehensive selection of services tailored specifically to authors in every phase of their writing careers.


  • Ease of Use: Draft2Digital stands out for its intuitive user experience and straightforward publishing process, making it an excellent option for self-publishing beginners.
  • Automated Formatting: Our platform automatically converts Word documents to professional-quality eBooks, with pre-designed themes available to customize its interior layout.
  • Wide Distribution: Draft2Digital offers wide distribution through major eBook retailers, subscription services, and digital libraries. Royalties for Authors: In most cases, authors receive 60% of retail price sales through most vendors as royalties.


  • Limited Retail Partners: Draft2Digital offers distribution to multiple stores, but their number of direct retail partners remains lower compared to other platforms.
  • No Print Option: Draft2Digital does not currently provide print book publishing options; authors wishing to do so must use another service instead.
  • Automatic Pricing: Draft2Digital automatically sets prices for international markets based on US pricing strategies, which may not always fit with an author's preferred pricing approach.

Draft2Digital provides authors who want to self-publish eBooks with an invaluable tool for publishing them themselves. Its user-friendly platform, combined with its wide distribution network and competitive royalties make Draft2Digital the go-to choice of many self-publishers; however, authors should consider their specific needs and goals before determining if Draft2Digital is indeed appropriate for them.


IngramSpark is an extremely popular choice among self-publishing authors who require print-on-demand services and widespread distribution of their works.


  • Print and eBook Options: IngramSpark stands out among other platforms by supporting both print and eBook formats for authors' convenience. This gives more freedom of creativity.
  • Global Distribution: Through Ingram Content Group, authors can reach over 39,000 retailers and libraries - such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble - via global distribution.
  • Quality Print-on-Demand Services: IngramSpark has long been known for providing top-quality print-on-demand services, producing professional-grade books that adhere to industry standards.
  • Authors Have Complete Control Over Pricing and Returns: Authors have full freedom over setting retail and wholesale pricing as well as their return policies.


  • Setup Fees: IngramSpark differs from some platforms in charging set-up fees to publish titles ($49 for print or eBook, respectively). Complex Interface: Some users find IngramSpark less user-friendly and harder to navigate compared with other self-publishing services.
  • Customer Service: There have been occasional criticisms regarding IngramSpark's customer service quality and responsiveness.

Although IngramSpark may have its drawbacks, it remains an excellent option for self-publishing authors who require print-on-demand services and wide distribution. Authors should carefully weigh both benefits and drawbacks when selecting their self-publishing service provider.


Lulu is a well-recognized self-publishing service that has been serving authors since 2002. Renowned for both quality and customer service, this self-publishing platform remains popular with authors looking for self-publishing opportunities.


  • Print and eBook Publishing: Lulu offers print and eBook publishing options to give authors maximum flexibility when publishing.
  • Quality Printing: Lulu has long been recognized for the quality of its printed books. They offer hardcover and paperback options as well as various paper types and dimensions to meet every taste and book size need.
  • Wide Distribution: Lulu offers wide distribution services that enable books to become available across Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retail channels as well as the Lulu bookstore.
  • No Upfront Fees: Lulu operates as a print-on-demand system, meaning authors don't incur inventory costs until their book sells.
  • Helpful Tools and Services: Lulu provides helpful tools and services such as ISBN services, cover design tools, and formatting guides that authors can utilize when publishing with Lulu.


  • Royalties: Lulu does not charge upfront fees, however, they take a commission percentage on sales as royalties; this could result in lower royalties than some other self-publishing platforms.
  • Design Limitations: While Lulu does offer cover design tools, some authors have reported them as lacking when compared with what other platforms provide.

Lulu stands out as an attractive platform for self-publishing authors due to its combination of quality publishing, broad distribution options, and user-friendly an interface. However, like any platform author should carefully assess their needs as well as potential benefits and drawbacks before committing.


BookBaby is a self-publishing service known for providing authors with comprehensive editing, book design, printing, and distribution services. Thanks to their commitment to customer service and quality work, BookBaby has quickly become the go-to option among many self-publishing authors.


  • Wide Range of Services: BookBaby offers an expansive array of services, spanning editing and design through marketing for authors wishing to publish a book.
  • High-Quality Print: BookBaby offers high-quality printing options in various formats, such as hardcover, softcover, and eBooks. In addition, global distribution services reach over 60 stores around the world such as Amazon, Apple Books, and Barnes & Noble - among many others.
  • ​Customer Service: Authors often praise BookBaby for its outstanding customer service, with guidance at every stage of the process provided by its team of professionals.
  • Author Retains Rights: At BookBaby, authors retain 100% of their rights and royalties - a major advantage over competitors that sometimes limit rights management for authors.


  • Cost: BookBaby offers comprehensive services at a cost, making their packages more expensive compared to other self-publishing platforms.
  • No Free ISBNs Available: BookBaby does not provide free ISBNs like many other self-publishing platforms do, which adds another cost factor to their packages.

BookBaby is an ideal solution for authors who desire a comprehensive yet hands-off self-publishing approach and are willing to invest in premium service. Authors should consider both their budget and return on investment when selecting their self-publishing platform.

Outskirts Press

Outskirts Press is an acclaimed self-publishing company, known for providing authors with an array of services from editing, book design, marketing assistance, and more. Recognized for its quality production and personalized customer service, Outskirts Press has quickly become an option trusted by many self-publishing authors.


  • Customized Publishing Packages: Outskirts Press provides authors with customizable publishing packages tailored specifically to their individual needs.
  • Author-Friendly Policies: Their author-friendly policies also make Outskirts Press an attractive choice, as authors retain 100% of their rights and royalties--making Outskirts Press an attractive option for many authors.
  • Individualized Attention: Outskirts Press offers personalized publishing assistance to each author, offering them guidance throughout the publishing process and creating an enjoyable publishing experience.
  • Marketing and Promotion Services: The platform offers marketing and promotion support services that enable authors to reach a wider audience.


  • Higher Costs: Relative to other self-publishing platforms, Outskirts Press may offer higher fees and fees that might impede some authors.
  • Quality Variability: Although Outskirts Press has earned a reputation for high-quality production, some authors have reported inconsistency in the quality of services such as editing and book design.

Outskirts Press offers authors who desire a personalized and hands-on publishing process an attractive solution. When considering this platform, authors must consider both their budget and desired level of involvement to ensure it fits with their goals and expectations.


iUniverse is an internationally-recognized self-publishing company offering authors an impressive array of services. Renowned for its editorial excellence, attractive book designs, and marketing support services, iUniverse stands out as a premier choice among authors looking for full-service self-publishing experiences.


  • Editorial Quality: iUniverse has earned recognition for providing top-quality editing services that ensure self-published books meet industry standards.
  • Marketing Assistance: iUniverse offers authors an array of marketing and promotional services, such as press releases, author websites, and book trailers.
  • All-in-One Packages: Their wide variety of publishing packages has been specifically curated to suit the needs of different authors, streamlining the publishing process.
  • Potential for Traditional Publishing Deal: Since iUniverse is affiliated with traditional publishers, titles that achieve high sales or editorial standards could potentially qualify for traditional publishing deals.


  • Higher Costs: Due to its comprehensive services, iUniverse incurs higher costs compared to do-it-yourself platforms such as Lulu.
  • Royalties: When compared with other self-publishing platforms, iUniverse takes a higher percentage of royalties for itself than some competitors do.

Overall, iUniverse is a great option for authors who value editorial quality and want a comprehensive self-publishing service. Additionally, traditional publishing deals may present opportunities with this publisher; however, authors should carefully consider any higher costs or royalty rates before making their final decision.


Blurb is an innovative self-publishing platform known for specializing in photo books, cookbooks, magazines, and other visual mediums, making it an excellent option for authors or creators with visual-based content.


  • Offers Variety: Blurb supports the creation of photo books, magazines, trade books, and eBooks on its platform - providing users with an array of book options to select from.
  • Design Software Integration: Blurb offers integrations with Adobe InDesign and Lightroom as well as their own BookWright software to give authors full control over their design process.
  • Global Distribution: Blurb books can be sold across Amazon, Apple iBooks, and the Blurb Bookstore to reach a global audience reach for authors.


  • Pricey Printing: It can be more costly compared to other platforms for color-intensive books.
  • Limited Writing Support: Blurb offers limited writing support, with their emphasis being more on design and printing aspects of publishing than manuscript editing or support for writing support.

Blurb is an appealing solution for authors and creators who place emphasis on design and visual content within their works, thanks to high-quality print services and integrations with professional design software. However, those looking for additional writing/editing support may require additional resources beyond Blurb itself.

Apple Books

Apple Books is an effective self-publishing platform tailored to Apple devices' wide user base, making it a smart choice for authors seeking to reach an international and tech-savvy readership.


  • Wide User Base: Apple Books takes advantage of Apple's vast user base to make your book accessible to millions of readers worldwide.
  • High Royalty Rates: Authors receive 70% royalties for all book sales regardless of price point.
  • Multi-Language Support: Apple Books supports books written in multiple languages, enabling authors to reach a global audience.
  • Integration with iOS Devices: Authors have direct access to Apple users via Apple Books on all their iOS devices.


  • Platform Exclusivity: Apple Books books are exclusive to Apple users and therefore limit your reader base.
  • Limited Formatting Options: This platform doesn't support as many formatting options as other self-publishing services do, further restricting potential sales.
  • Publishing Process Can Be Complex: Publishing on Apple Books can be more involved than on other platforms, especially for first-time authors.

Apple Books can be an excellent self-publishing option for authors looking to reach a global, tech-savvy audience while being prepared for an intricate publishing process and potential limitations due to reaching only Apple device users.

Kobo Writing Life

Kobo Writing Life is an independent author- and publisher-centric publishing platform offering them the tools needed to publish, promote, and make money from eBooks and audiobooks.


  • Global Reach: Kobo offers global reach, reaching readers in over 190 countries around the globe with your books. Pros
  • eBooks and Audiobooks: Kobo stands out among self-publishing platforms by accepting both eBooks and audiobooks for publication.
  • High Royalty Rates: Kobo Writing Life offers high royalty rates: authors will earn 70% royalties for books priced over $2.99 and 45% for those priced under this threshold.
  • Promotional Opportunities: There are also promotional tools such as price promotions that help authors maximize earnings.


  • Smaller Reader Base: Kobo's user base is less than that of many other big self-publishing platforms, such as Amazon KDP.
  • Complex User Interface: Kobo Writing Life may not be as user-friendly compared to some of its rival self-publishing platforms like Amazon KDP in terms of reader base or interface usability, according to some users.
  • Slow Sales Reporting: Authors have observed that it can take some time for sales data to appear on the platform.

Overall, Kobo Writing Life provides an unrivaled combination of features and reach that makes it a valuable platform for self-publishing authors. Although its reader base might be smaller than other platforms, its ability to publish audiobooks and access to global markets often outweigh this limitation for many authors.

Barnes and Nobles Press

Barnes & Noble Press provides independent authors and publishers a platform to publish their works directly into Barnes & Noble's eBookstore and bookstores.


  • Strength of Brand Recognition: Being published through Barnes & Noble carries immense weight due to its prominence in the book world.
  • Print and eBook Publishing: This platform facilitates self-publishing for both print books and eBooks, making it ideal for authors looking to provide their work in multiple formats.
  • Competitive Royalty Rates: Authors earn 65% royalties for eBooks priced over $2.99 and 40% royalties for print publications.
  • Promotional Tools and Resources: Barnes and Noble Press provides writers with promotional tools and resources to help them reach their target audience.


  • Limited Global Reach: B&N may have an impressive presence in the US market, but its international reach may be more limited compared to other self-publishing platforms.
  • Delayed Payments: Some authors have experienced delays when receiving their royalty payments from B&N.

Barnes & Noble Press can be an ideal option for authors who value the prestige of publishing with a well-recognized brand and want both print and eBook versions of their work available for sale. While formatting challenges and international reach may pose obstacles for some authors, many will likely find its advantages outweigh its drawbacks.


Scribd is an online library and subscription service offering eBooks, audiobooks, and comic books curated from user submissions..


  • Extensive User Base: With such an expansive audience already established on Scribd, your work could reach many viewers quickly and efficiently.
  • Easy Upload and Publishing Process: Scribd makes publishing books effortless with its straightforward upload and publishing processes.
  • Scribd Offers Diverse Content: Scribd's library offers more than books; there are audiobooks, articles, and academic papers on offer that could attract a broader audience.
  • Royalty Program: Scribd's royalty program is calculated based on how long subscribers spend reading your book, which could lead to significant earnings if your book becomes popular among readers.


  • Limited Control Over Pricing: Scribd operates as a subscription model, so authors do not have control over individual book prices on Scribd.
  • Lack of Marketing Support: Scribd does not provide much in terms of marketing support and resources to promote your book, unlike some other self-publishing platforms.
  • Payment System: Royalty programs that take reading time into account might not yield as high of returns compared to more traditional royalty systems for shorter works.

Scribd offers authors an effective solution for reaching a wide and diverse audience quickly and without much hassle. Although its subscription-based model may pose limitations when pricing independently priced works independently, Scribd's extensive user base and straightforward publishing process could make up for any shortcomings it might present.

SF Nonfiction Books

SF Nonfiction Books stands as an incredible example of how dedicated and compact teams can revolutionize digital publishing. This self-funded enterprise specializes in backing non-fiction authors while staying current with industry changes to provide outstanding assistance and stay ahead of self-publishing trends for eBooks.


  • User-Friendly System: At SF Nonfiction Books, authors can take advantage of an efficient yet simple system for publishing eBooks across various platforms.
  • Formatting Services: Their formatting services meet professional standards on multiple platforms - perfect for self-publishers!
  • Cover Design: At SF Nonfiction Books, our talented cover design team excels at creating eye-catching eBook covers that draw potential readers right in.
  • Description Writing: At SF Nonfiction Books, our experienced team excels in writing engaging eBook descriptions that captivate potential readers while making lasting impressions on potential readers.
  • Self-Publishing Education: Authors gain insights into the intricacies of publishing across numerous eBook platforms.
  • Full Service: At SF Nonfiction Books, our full service can be tailored specifically to the needs of your project, from managing its entirety to offering targeted support when necessary.


  • Limited Genre Focus: SF Nonfiction Books may exclude authors writing other genres from taking advantage of their services due to their focus on non-fiction.

Overall, SF Nonfiction Books offer non-fiction authors who wish to self-publish eBooks an exceptional option. Not only can they assist in publishing your first or subsequent non-fiction eBooks; but their expertise as both independent eBook publishers and authors is sure to bring them to life across various self-publishing platforms.

Tips for Success in Self-Publishing

Entering the world of self-publishing can be both thrilling and intimidating, so here are a few tips to help make this journey seamless:

  • Understand Audience: Before you even begin writing, take time to identify your target readers. Doing this will inform not only your writing but also any marketing or pricing strategies you develop.
  • Professional Editing: Even great writers need an editor. A professional editor can polish up your work and eliminate errors, making your book more attractive to readers.
  • Quality Book Design: Your book cover design makes an important first impression; invest in high-quality professional designs that accurately depict its content while appealing to its target audience.
  • Formatting: Formatting is key when publishing a book; an attractively formatted one will make reading and looking professional easier for your readers.
  • Establish an Effective Marketing Plan: Books don't sell themselves; develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote and sell them using social media, email marketing, and other promotional methods.
  • Build Your Author Platform: Get online early by creating an author website, joining relevant social media channels, and potentially starting an email newsletter.

Stay mindful of these guidelines as you embark upon the thrilling adventure of self-publishing. Success might not happen overnight, but with commitment and perseverance, your story could reach readers worldwide.


As we bring to a close our comprehensive review of '15 Best Self-Publishing Services You Should Consider,' it has become abundantly clear that self-publishing has revolutionized literary publishing - providing authors with greater creative control, extensive visibility, and financial gain potential.

These services enrich the author experience, providing freedom from draft to manuscript creation to marketing and sales strategies - even planning sales strategies for books from all around the globe! Through them many voices can be heard, celebrating diversity while sharing stories that transcend borders.

SF Nonfiction Books stands out among these services by catering to both emerging and established authors alike, transcending its self-publishing platform status with an inclusive community that assists authors in realizing their literary goals. Boasting user-friendly features like expansive distribution channels, competitive royalty rates, and an active literary and readership community, SF Nonfiction Books sets itself apart in self-publishing.

No matter where your writing journey may lead you, SF Nonfiction Books stands ready to assist. Experience self-publishing through SF Nonfiction Books and let your stories resonate with readers worldwide - your self-publishing adventure begins here!

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