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Choosing the right self publishing platform

Updated: Feb 14

So, you're in the final stages of finishing your book. What next? You have two options, self-publishing or the traditional publishing route. Each option has its own benefits, however that's another conversation for another day. If you've chosen to head down the self-publishing route, then it's time to start considering your options.

What is a self publishing platform?

A self-publishing platform is a service or platform that allows authors to publish their work without the involvement of traditional publishing houses or intermediaries. These platforms provide tools and resources for authors to format, distribute, and sell their books in various formats, such as ebooks or print-on-demand paperbacks. Some self publishing platforms often offer services like editing, cover design, marketing, and distribution assistance for a fee or a percentage of sales.

Popular self publishing platforms

The good news is that there are many platforms to choose from. As an author, you need to work out exactly what you want and consider your audience, genres and aims before choosing a platform. A good way to work out the quality of a platform is by checking out reviews of the platforms and connecting with other self-published authors and hearing about their experiences.

Here are several popular self-publishing platforms:

  • Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): Amazon's platform allows authors to publish and sell ebooks and paperbacks directly to Kindle readers and through Amazon's website. This is where I self published my first two books (The Way Back and The Way Out).

  • Draft2Digital: Similar to Smashwords, Draft2Digital provides ebook formatting, distribution, and sales tracking services to multiple online retailers.

  • Lulu: Lulu enables authors to publish and distribute both ebooks and print-on-demand books, including paperbacks and hardcovers.

  • IngramSpark: IngramSpark is a self-publishing platform that allows authors to distribute their books in both print and digital formats to a wide range of online retailers and brick-and-mortar bookstores.

  • Kobo Writing Life: Kobo's self-publishing platform allows authors to publish and distribute ebooks to Kobo's global audience.

  • Apple Books: Apple's self-publishing platform enables authors to publish and sell ebooks directly to Apple Books users.

These are just a few examples, and there are many other self-publishing platforms available, each with its own set of features, distribution channels and pricing structures. It's important to consider all of your options before making a final decision.

How to choose the right platform

Choosing the right self-publishing platform depends on your specific needs, goals, and preferences as an author.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting a self-publishing platform:

  • Distribution Channels: Look for platforms that offer distribution to the retailers and markets where you want your book to be available. Consider whether you want to distribute exclusively through one platform or reach a broader audience by distributing your book across multiple retailers.

  • Formats Supported: Determine whether you want to publish ebooks, print-on-demand paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks, and choose a platform that supports the formats you need.

  • Pricing and Royalties: Evaluate the platform's pricing structure, including any upfront costs, fees for additional services like formatting or cover design, and royalty rates. Compare royalty rates across platforms to ensure you're getting the best deal for your book sales.

  • Publishing Tools and Services: Consider the tools and services offered by each platform, such as formatting assistance, cover design templates, editing services, and marketing tools. Choose a platform that provides the support you need to create a professional-quality book.

  • Ease of Use: Look for a platform with an intuitive interface and user-friendly tools that make the publishing process straightforward and hassle-free.

  • Author Control and Rights: Consider the level of control you'll have over your book's pricing, distribution, and rights when choosing a platform. Some platforms offer more author control and flexibility than others.

  • Reputation and Track Record: Research the reputation and track record of each platform, including reviews from other authors and success stories. Choose a platform with a strong reputation for reliability, customer support, and author satisfaction.

  • Terms and Conditions: Carefully review the platform's terms and conditions, including any exclusivity requirements, contract terms, and rights agreements, to ensure they align with your publishing goals and preferences.

These factors are all so important as they will affect your self publishing journey, therefore you need to take your time and ensure you're making the right choice. The self published author community is great to be apart of, there are so many authors willing to share their experiences and opinions. This knowledge and advice is extremely useful to have.


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