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3 Best Self Publishing Companies to Use in 2020

best self publishing companies to use in 2020

3 Best Self-Publishing Companies in 2020

I’ve been testing the best self-publishing companies to use for some time now and I decided it was time to give you a good idea of what I have found to be the BEST ones based on my experiences, trial, and error. 

Each time I try a new self-publishing company, I test out a few things:

  • Shipping time
  • Quality of handling during packaging
  • How it was packaged
  • Quality of the book itself
  • How easy or difficult it is to use on my website for promotion
  • How easy or difficult it is to upload a book

Shipping is incredibly important because the customer experience will affect whether or not someone orders from you again. 

If there is anything else you want information on, please let me know by commenting and I’m happy to review for you. 

1. Self-publishing with Snowfall Press

One day, I decided I REALLY wanted to create a self-published book that was spiral bound.  So I decided to do a test run with Snowfall Press. 

Uploading: This was not too difficult, it required that I adjust my process, but doesn’t have a review process, so it was fairly quick and easy.  

Shipping time: The shipping for Snowfall Press was very slow.  I was pretty disappointed.  I live in Canada and they are in the UK, so I expected some delays.  It took 14 days for my book to reach me. 

Quality of handling during packaging: This was normal and as expected.  

How it was packaged:  I ordered multiple books, they came in a hard cardboard box with paper 

Quality of the book itself: The spiral bound only comes in plastic, but it seems decent quality and fairly strong plastic. 

The difficulty of adding to my site: I don’t see any way of adding this listing to my site, but I didn’t spend a ton of time testing it.  Since they are in the UK, I don’t expect to be using them for anything except bulk orders of spiral-bound books. 

Would I use them again and how would I use them?

If I was going to do a bulk order of spiral-bound, I would use this company again.  

2. Lulu Self Publishing

Lulu has its regular platform at lulu.com and lulu express. 

The main difference is that lulu express can be integrated into your Shopify store. 

For the purposes of this review, I’m referring to Lulu.com.

Uploading: I found the uploading process to be quite simple and user-friendly.  No complaints. 

Shipping time: I tested priority shipping and standard shipping during peak times (Q4) and during regular time. I found that peak times did slow down the process, but I was still surprised.  The priority shipping actually showed up as expected.  

Quality of handling during packaging:  There was nothing to indicate they were mishandled in any way.  The book I ordered was a white cover, so it’s easy to see blemishes.  All books were in perfect condition. 

How it was packaged:  I was BLOWN AWAY at the quality of shipping.  Each book came individually packaged in a thick, hard cardboard package for protection.  I tested this several times to see if it was a fluke.  They came perfectly protected and packaged EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!

Quality of the book itself: Lulu is by far my favorite company to order print-on-demand books from.  The quality of their books far outweigh the quality of any other company I used.  I would expect that Lulu Express would be the same, but I have yet to test it. 

Difficulty in adding to my site:  Lulu.com does not allow the option to add to your site, but Lulu Express has the option of integrating with Shopify.  I have not done this yet, but it is on the to-do list. 

Would I use them again and how would I use them?

Absolutely, 100%.  I intend to add Shopify to my site and integrate it with Lulu Express.  When I make bulk orders, I will use this site. 

Other pros and cons of self-publishing with Lulu

I’ll start with the pros:

  • The cost to print is low, but was still in the $7.00 range for 1 book with approximately 180 page, 8×10.  Considering the quality of book and print, I think it’s worth the cost if quality over quantity is your goal. 
  • They don’t take a percentage of your sales, the price is the price. Whether you price it $100 or $10, they make the same.
  • Lulu also offers several options like hardcovers that other platforms like Amazon KDP do not offer. 

best self publishing companies

3. Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)

Amazon is well known in the print-on-demand world. 

They do t-shirts, pop sockets, hoodies, and all kinds of things.  

They offer services like audiobooks (this is called ACX if you want to do your own book), print-on-demand paperback books, ebooks, and more. 

From the perspective of an online business owner, Amazon is well known for two things:

  1. An incredible opportunity to reach a global audience. 
  2. Reminding you that you are not in control. 

Let me explain. 

Amazon is a MASSIVE company.  Their mission is to provide the world with everything they need. 

This means they have lots of programs so people like you and I can sell our products.  

Even when you buy toys, sometimes you are buying from a third party seller.  You may not even know it. 

Amazon KDP is an INCREDIBLE opportunity to reach a global audience organically, with ads, and through promotion on other sites. 

But, they still own the platform. 

Which means they can shut you down whenever they want for whatever reason. 

I’ve heard stories of accounts getting shut down for no reason all across Amazon. 

That being said, here is my review of Amazon KDP as it relates to print on demand paperback books.

Uploading: Uploading is pretty simple once you’ve done it a few times. 

They offer the option of entering keywords related to your product. 

Once you’ve uploaded all the details of your book, you are prompted to review your book for proof and errors.  

This. Takes. Forever.  

Well, sometimes it does.  There are times when it’s super fast.  But most of the time, it takes 5 or more minutes. 

Then there is a review period of approximately 72 hours.  I’ve had books get approved in less than 24 hours, and I’ve had books stuck in the review process for weeks. 

They prioritize actual books over low content books.  So if you are an author, your review time likely won’t extend past 72 hours. 

Also, keep in mind, this is business hours. 

Shipping time: I am always a bit disappointed in the shipping times.  

You have to allow about 5 days for printing, so using your prime membership doesn’t get you a 2-day delivery. 

I’ve tested this at multiple times of the year.  

I ordered priority and standard during peak time, they both arrived two weeks later, one day apart. 

I ordered a few books during slow times.  Shipping was a few days faster. 

I’ve ordered through prime and I’ve ordered author copies (through my KDP account) and it doesn’t seem to make much difference.

Quality of handling during packaging: I was DISGUSTED with this. 

I ordered author copies, they came with fingerprints all over the cover in a bubble wrap envelope.  The cover had creases and it was not usable. 

When I ordered replacement copies, they also came damaged and it took them weeks to respond to my emails. 

I ordered through prime, the copies showed up in a box, with a few fingerprints and some cover damage. 

I’ve ordered several times and this doesn’t always happen.  It’s pretty much a crapshoot. 

How it was packaged:  Sometimes they came in bubble wrapped envelopes, sometimes boxes.  It’s hard to tell when it will come in what package. 

Quality of the book itself: I ordered the same book four times and two copies each time.  

Out of those eight books, two came in perfect condition.  The rest had dirty fingerprints and creases in the cover.  

The quality of the printing is quite good.  It’s not nearly as good as lulu, but I  had not ordererd from Lulu, I wouldn’t know the difference. 

The difficulty of adding to my site:  The bonus of using KDP is you can use your affiliate link on your site.  You can see sales before they show up on KDP and get a commission (a tiny one). 

Would I use them again and how would I use them?

Yes.  I use KDP all the time.  The organic traffic is really good if you do the proper keyword research and make good quality books. 

Other pros and cons of self-publishing with KDP

Here are some pros:

  • There are a lot of people who use KDP, so there are a lot of videos and tutorials on how to get up and running. 
  • You can run ads in any country.
  • You can make your print book an ebook.

And some cons:

  • You don’t see your orders until they actually print.  Some third-party printers don’t report back to amazon for months, so there could be a huge delay in seeing your sales. 
  • You have no control over your account.
  • Your payments are on a 60-day delay. 
  • The cost of your book goes up with the price of your book.  Other companies have a solid print cost. 

So…Which Is the Best of the Self-Publishing Companies?

That is impossible to answer without knowing exactly what you are trying to accomplish.  

They all have their pros and cons.  

You have to weigh the options and the costs and decide which is right for you and your business.  

Leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve tried any self-publishing companies?

Looking for a way to earn money online as a freelance writer? Check out this review of Elna Cain’s Write to 1K Course. 

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