Self-published authors were once the subject of literary mockery. Laugh no longer. The traditional publishing model was turned on its head by the internet and 2017 is bringing increased competition between Indie authors and traditional publishers. Do you have a book up your sleeve? Go on people, your time is now. We bring you the best sites you need to know about self-publishing.
ALLI SELF-PUBLISHING ADVICE CENTER
First stop is the Alliance of Independent Authors’ advice blog. There is no magic formula to getting your book published but Alli’s site is a good starting block. This site, written by self-published authors, has grown significantly since its launch in 2014. Some contributors have just started their self-publishing journey and others have an established author brand. This huge free resource offers debates and advice on writing, industry news, marketing and promotion. In 2017, Alli is hosting three online events designed to help users develop as an author and provide information you need to publish and run your own indie author business.
One of the best known self-publishing platforms is Lulu, and for good reason. Since its inception in 2002, Lulu has produced nearly two million publications in more than 225 countries. The developers at Lulu know how to format, package and push your book out there to maximum effect. It is a one-stop-shop to create, publish and sell your book for free. The site is part of a group of self-publishing services allowing you to do most of the work yourself which lowers the price to print. The pricing is straightforward. Lulu performs print on demand so you can order less than 48 copies for a higher price. There is even a platform called Lulu Jr allowing children to become published authors.
Formerly Book Surge, CreateSpace is an offshoot of Amazon. This on-demand publishing platform doesn’t offer the gloss of Lulu but sitting under the bastion of book selling's umbrella can be no bad thing if you want to see your tome downloaded by the masses. This business started over a decade ago and now converts and publishes your kindle books on CreateSpace. Unique attributes include the ability to get feedback on your work via the preview tool and publish in multiple formats, such as MP3, DVD's and CD's. Last but certainly not least networking is the name of the game, with the legions of writers ready and willing to connect in the CreateSpace community. They sell themselves as risk-free publishing.
Blurb.co.uk is one of the most popular sites in the UK for making your own books, magazines or ebooks for iPad and Kindle. The clean, clear, sharp interface can't help but inspire confidence in their marketing and design skills for one, whilst the sheer variety of what's on offer beggars belief. Leaflets? Check. Blog books, planners, magazines? Check. Yes there's a whole lot more on offer than just your traditional print/e-book. Should you be the proud owner of a website with decent levels of traffic, then you can even make use of their affiliate program, and earn some commission every time a fellow writer publishes another book. Now that's some business acumen.
Consider yourself an ‘indie author'? Then this is the site for you. Yes Smash Words does exactly what it sets out to do; smashes the traditional publishing model with - you guessed it - ‘words!' Non-conformity is the ethos at this quirky, well designed site, but don't be fooled - there's some serious business acumen at work too, not to mention well thought out strategy. The business started in 2008 and has now published over 360,000 titles. Smash Words will distribute your e-book via the most beneficial channels, and most importantly support you along the way. We have to say, one of the most succinct, moving and accurate appraisals of the challenges facing authors comes in the form of CEO Mike Coker's manifesto
for the site. If you're looking for a site willing to take risks - this is your destination domain.
KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING
No list of this nature would be complete without a nod to the daddy of self-publishing, Kindle. The company waded into the game well before the tide turned, putting endless authors struggling for visibility slap bang on the top of the Kindle charts without so much as a ‘how's your father?' Again under the umbrella of Amazon, there's scarcely anything worth knowing about self-publishing that these guys won't be able to advise you on. The global reach, the ability to change and update your book (even once online) and the multiple languages facility, make KDP a global leader and for good reason.
AuthorHouse was founded in 1997 by an aspiring author who recognised the need for a simple and effective self-publishing process. is another worthy addition to the self publishing list. The UK based company present a slick coherent manifesto for letting them sprinkle their particular brand of star dust on your worthy tome. Claiming to be the world’s largest self-publisher, this site is worth a look. Setting itself apart from rivals, the site offers a high level of customer service. Each author is assigned a publishing consultant who spends hours guiding them through each step of the publishing process.
Perhaps the USP of iUniverse are their special recognition programs which identify, celebrate and support titles that show a high level of editorial quality and marketability. These programs, one presented to Barnes & Noble for in-store placement, are want makes iUniverse a leader in the self-publishing industry. We particularly like the live chat facility, allaying all fears about making the leap into becoming a self-published author. Further the author interviews are a useful bonus in deciding if this is the right publisher for you.
‘Write your own success' is the name of the game at XLibris and empowering writers is evidently close to their hearts. The slick, elegant interface can't help but inspire confidence to the hundreds of authors they publish each month. The reams of advice, testimonials, and the author awards and events are a nice added bonus to a site where professionalism and attention to detail are clearly core values.
Updated January 2017