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First Time Author Guide to the Top Publishing Companies – Part 4

This is the final part of this guide where we look at our last three companies.


Draft2Digitial doesn’t have as many retail partners as Smashwords does but it will distribute to Amazon as well as most of the biggest eBook retailers. They also offer eBook formatting for free, a huge bonus. Their commission is 10% of the retail price.


Lulu is a well-known name in self-publishing circles and is a distributor of both print and digital books. Published books are retailed through their bookstores and distributed to online stores such as Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Amazon, Kobo, and more. They offer books in paperback and hardback as well as digital. They also offer free services for converting eBooks, publishing and distributing but they do sell other services – editing, marketing, cover design, and so on. They charge 20% commission on books that sell through their stores after production costs for print books are deducted.


Bookbaby has their own bookshop where they sell books and they also have a list of retailers that they distribute to. They also sell editing, design, marketing, and other services which can be bought individually or as a package. For eBooks, once retailer commission is taken off, royalties are 100% of what’s left. With their own Bookshop sales, royalties are 85%. They also offer print-on-demand with royalties between 10% and 30% being paid.

So, which one offers the best value?

That is all down to personal opinion and will depend entirely on what you want from a publishing company. Nobody can tell you that one is better than another because what works for Joe Bloggs won’t necessarily work for you. All you can do is weigh up the pros and cons of each one, work out the royalties and take your pick. There are a few things to consider when you are making your decision though.

Amazon is the market dominator, responsible for 80% of the world eBook market. If you choose Amazon, forget using an aggregator; sign up to their KDP program instead. If you opt to steer clear of Amazon and choose one or more of the other publishers, go through an aggregator or distributor.

If you decide on Amazon exclusively, you will have access to a lot of very powerful features and tools for marketing and a higher rate of royalties. However, because your book will be exclusive to Amazon, you may not reach its full potential in terms of sales. The best option is to try them all before you settle on one.

If it’s print books you want and you have a KDP account for eBooks, head to CreateSpace. Alternatively, go to Bookbaby, IngramSpark or Lulu – they provide print-on-demand as well as eBook distributions. Remember that, to sell a print book you need an ISBN number – get this yourself rather than taking what your publisher offers.

Lastly, not all companies will take books written by authors outside the US. Do check what the payment frequencyand process is – this will also differ from company to company – and don’t forget to read their FAQ for any other information.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds