Best Self-Publishing Companies [Get Everything Done for You]
Are you an author looking to self-publish a book? Instead of managing file formatting, cover design, distribution, and marketing yourself, you can get a service package from a professional firm, which will handle the entire process for you. All you need to do is give them your manuscript. In this article, I offer a list of the best self-publishing companies, starting with my top recommendation.
Best self-publishing company
My top recommendation for self-publishing companies is BookBaby. They offer an end-to-end service, which is perfect for authors who love writing, but lack the time or desire to master the other skills needed for a successful book. Plus, they are very reputable, with over 4,000 reviews on Trustpilot, with an overall rating of "Excellent."
Why is BookBaby the best place to self-publish?
Unlike other companies, BookBaby is a one-stop solution. The BookBaby Deluxe Self-Publishing Package covers all of the services needed to self-publish a book. They'll manage the entire process for you. Their experienced team of specialists has completed over 30,000 projects, spanning many genres in fiction and non-fiction, like:
Here's a look at the services included in the Deluxe package:
Book cover design service
Your book cover is critical. A good cover conveys your genre and premise and catches the attention of potential readers who are browsing books online. BookBaby's professional designers will create an appealing, custom cover for you. Here are some examples of others they've done:
Book formatting and conversion service
Once you've completed your manuscript in your word processing program, the file needs to be formatted and converted for ebook and paperback publication. Text must properly appear on e-readers like Kindles, Nooks, and iPads, and inside of physical books. Doing this yourself can be tedious and time-consuming.
ebook distribution service
After your ebook file has been formatted and converted, it needs to be uploaded to retailer sites, like Amazon, so readers can purchase it. Though choosing an exclusivity option with Amazon can be a good idea, if you don't want to go that route, BookBaby can get your ebook on over 60 other online stores, too.
Print on demand distribution service
BookBaby not only enables you to sell ebooks, but paperbacks. You don't have to worry about storing and shipping them yourself. With BookBaby print on demand, any reader can order your paperback on Amazon or another retail site, and BookBaby will take care of printing it, shipping it, and paying you a royalty.
Book advertising service
Once your book is published, advertising is crucial if you want to sell a lot of copies and become a bestselling author. BookBaby can create an advertising campaign for you, including ad graphics, ad copy, and audience targeting, and run ads Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Ready to learn more about self-publishing with BookBaby?
Visit their site and create an account. You can read about their self-publishing services in detail and contact their support team via email or phone if you have any questions.
Additional BookBaby self-publishing services
The BookBaby Deluxe Self-Publishing Package, described above, is a simple, one-stop solution for turning your manuscript into a potentially bestselling book. BookBaby offers various other services that you can add onto your self-publishing package, if you'd like:
What's the cost to self-publish a book?
The BookBaby Deluxe Self-Publishing Package costs $2,590. Two cheaper packages exist. Complete - which doesn't include marketing - is $1,990. Express - which doesn't include cover design, paperback formatting, or marketing - is $990.
In addition, BookBaby offers a Premium package, which includes everything in Deluxe, plus:
This package is $4,699.
None of these options are cheap, however, they're in line with the average cost to self-publish a book. Other self-publishing options are laid out later in this article.
Whether you go with BookBaby or an alternative, cost is inevitable. However, once your book is published, it will be for sale on Amazon and other major retailer sites. As people purchase it, you'll collect royalties. These royalties will continue to come in, year after year.
Look at working with a self-publishing company as an investment. You pay a single upfront cost to open yourself up to an ongoing flow of earnings. If your book is even somewhat successful, the royalties you generate can pay back this upfront cost fairly quickly. All additional income, for years to come, will be profit.
How should you self-publish your book?
For a self-published book to be successful, at a minimum, it should have the following:
Do you personally know a good proofreader or cover designer? If so, you may be able to get a deal on either of these services, and you can choose a BookBaby package that does not include them.
Even if you have editing skills, I wouldn't recommend editing your book yourself. An outside perspective can help you catch certain issues you simply haven't tuned into. If you happen to have design skills, unless you're a specialist with book covers, I'd recommend someone else.
File formatting and marketing can be done by you, but don't try to save a little money doing them yourself if you're not great at them.
To do file formatting yourself, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the specifications of Amazon (and possibly other retailers), for both ebooks and paperbacks, then use software tools to assure your files are of the correct type and layout.
Even if you can pull this off without error, the time and tedium required may not be worth the savings in cost.
As for marketing, do you have a large email list? Are you knowledgeable in book ads? If so, you may be able to run your own marketing campaign. You can also consider using BookBaby's marketing service alongside your own promotion.
Ready to pick a BookBaby package? You can buy one online, directly from their site. If you're not yet ready for that, I suggest you make an account, learn more about each package, and contact BookBaby support with any questions.
What are the risks of self-publishing?
Before I go into more depth on self-publishing options beyond BookBaby, I'd like to point out the risks involved with self-publishing.
If you try to save money by doing too many of the publishing steps yourself, or hiring inexperienced service providers, you can wind up with a book that has one or more of these issues:
If your book has any of the first four of these issues, you may have to temporarily stop distribution, spend time and money fixing the issue, then resuming distribution.
Even if your book has none of the first four issues, if the marketing strategy is bad, you'll have to spend money fixing it. The days following your book's release can be critical to its success. If your marketing campaign doesn't start working till after this period, you'd be missing out on a lot of sales.
A reputable, full-service firm like BookBaby limits these risks. You can, however, still self-publish a successful book without BookBaby.
Alternatives to BookBaby
Three major types of BookBaby alternatives are out there:
Coordinating self-publishing freelancers
As mentioned, for your self-published book to be successful, it needs at least four key things. You do not need to get all of them from the same place.
Having a single point of contact - like BookBaby - for an entire project, does make things easier. You can take a step back while they handle everything, instead of being a project coordinator. But, if you don't mind coordinating freelancers, you may be able to self-publish a book at a lower total cost than with BookBaby.
Though some freelancers may offer self-publishing services at lower rates than BookBaby, make sure their quality level is strong. Do they have impressive portfolios? Do they have experience in your genre? Do they have good ratings online?
Remember, trying to save a bit of money self-publishing can wind up costing you money down the line. That being said, if you'd like to look into self-publishing freelancers, I recommend you find them on the popular platform Fiverr. Here are some links to browse freelancer profiles in the necessary self-publishing categories:
FYI, if you go this route, once you have your cover and interior files, you'd be responsible for adding them to the retailer sites yourself. Here's a list of the major ones:
Additional self-publishing companies
BookBaby isn't the only company that offers self-publishing services. Other firms can distribute and format your book. However, they're not a one-stop solution, offering cover design and marketing strategy. Here's a list of the best self-publishing companies besides BookBaby:
If you're going to use one, make sure you're well aware of what they don't include, and plan to fill in the gaps either yourself or with a freelancer (to find freelancers, use the links above).
With traditional publishing, a publishing company (which is different than a self-publishing company) will acquire the rights to your manuscript. The company will pay for editing, cover design, formatting, distribution, and marketing, and share the royalties with you based on an agreed-upon split.
In this publishing arrangement, the author does not have to pay any money. Though this is obviously appealing, your share of royalties can be considerably less than what it would be self-publishing.
Even with a lower royalty share, however, you may be able to make more money over time traditionally publishing versus self-publishing because of the marketing reach of traditional firms.
Traditional publishers, however, are quite selective about the manuscripts they accept. And the vetting process can take quite long. For instance, it might go on for up to a year, only for your project to end up rejected by all the firms you submitted it to.
The length of this process, and the high rejection rates, have made self-publishing grow in popularity in recent years. If you want to bypass a difficult vetting system, get a book out quickly, and keep the vast majority of its earnings, self-publishing would be a fit for you.
How long does it take to self-publish a book?
Once you have a finished, edited manuscript, the time to self-publish it can be within a week at minimum, to up to several weeks.
The timeline may go up to several weeks if you do multiple rounds of edits with your cover designer or interior formatter, or if one of the freelancers you're working with can't start on your project right away.
If you're factoring in proofreading, that can add another week, up to several weeks, onto the project. The proofreading timeline depends on how soon your editor can start, how long your manuscript is, how many proofreading errors it has, and how long you need to revise the manuscript to incorporate the edits.
Ready to self-publish?
Visit BookBaby to get started today:
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