What do Fifty Shades of Grey, The Tales of Peter Rabbit, and The Joy of Cooking all have in common? These best-selling successes all started out as self-published manuscripts.

More and more authors are turning to self-publishing for several reasons: you maintain control over your own work, including the actual story and cover design; you can move at your own pace, often resulting in the book hitting shelves much quicker; you retain higher royalties; and not only is the experience highly rewarding and empowering, but you might just strike it rich.

Take control of your own book with one of these top self-publishing platforms that you can get started with today.



As part of Amazon, CreateSpace is the most direct way to make your book available on Amazon’s website, as well as on Amazon Kindle devices. You can use their free software (including their Interior Reviewer and Cover Creator) to create your manuscript with no fees attached, or you can use one of their paid services that includes things such as editing and marketing.

Books are printed on demand when customers place their orders, so manufacturing and shipping are taken care of for you. Once your book meets distribution requirements, you can also distribute through CreateSpace Direct, libraries, and other bookstores.

In addition, CreateSpace boasts some of the highest royalties in the industry (which you can calculate here). You can also check out Amazon’s other platform, Kindle Direct Publishing, which is comparable to CreateSpace.

Learn more here.



Lulu is an online print-on-demand, self-publishing, and distribution platform for authors. There is no fee to publish with Lulu, whether you want to publish a print book or an eBook. If you want more help beyond the free software, Lulu also offers publishing services that provide editing, proofreading, cover design, and more. Packages start at $999.

Books are made available in the Lulu Bookstore, and once they meet distribution requirements, they can also be distributed globally through such outlets as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple’s iBookstore.

The best part? You keep 80% of profit for print books and 90% for eBooks.

Learn more here.



This self-publishing platform tries to make the process as easy as possible for the author. IngramSpark distributes both print books and eBooks that you can create using an easy-to-understand package for a fee of $25-$49 plus the cost of printing and shipping. As they are primarily a distribution service, they do not offer editing or design services.

What makes IngramSpark competitive is that they are connected to the ordering systems of 39,000 independent and chain bookstores, libraries, and online retailers worldwide, plus all the major players (iBookstore, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook). This is a great platform to get your book out into the world.

Authors receive 45-70% of their list price on print titles and 40% of their list price on eBooks.

Learn more here.



Draft2Digital is a user-friendly platform that takes care of a lot of the hard work for you, such as formatting and assigning an ISBN to your book. All you need to do is upload your Word document and they’ll do the rest for free, though they do not currently offer editing, cover art, or other author services.

Your eBook can be distributed to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Scribd, Inktera, Tolino, and 24Symbols. They can also create paperback files for your eBook that you can print through any print-on-demand service you choose.

They only keep 10% of the profit, meaning you get paid 90% of the list price you choose.

Learn more here.



SmashWords is the world’s largest e-book distribution platform for self-published authors and small independent presses. It prides itself on being fast and free for any author to use. They provide free tools for marketing, distribution, metadata management and sales reporting, as well as free ISBN assignment. Other services, such as editing and design, are not included.

Authors earn up to 80% of the net proceeds from the sale of their works at Smashwords.com, and 60% of affiliate sales from retailers such as Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and hundreds of smaller retailers.

Learn more here.



Self-publish your eBook in 5 easy steps with Kobo’s free and easy-to-use platform. Just fill in your eBooks details, including a synopsis and cover art; upload your file; choose where you’ll sell your eBook, from Kobo’s eBookstore to retailers in over 190 countries; choose your price; and click publish. Other author services such as editing are not included.

Payments are made by monthly direct deposit if you earn more than $50, and royalties are 70% if your list price adheres to pricing rules.

Learn more here.



This self-publishing and on-demand printing platform is one of the top on-demand publishers in the industry. Xlibris prints and distributes hardback and paperback books, as well as eBooks in several formats.

Authors must purchase a publishing package for a fee. Prices for basic packages are $899 and include services such as choice of book cover and interior templates, one round of alterations and corrections, and various marketing supplies. Xlibris also offers editorial services, in-depth marketing services, and additional add-on services for a fee.

While Xlibris can be expensive, they consistently produce high quality products. Xlibris books are available through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and they use Ingram Distribution and Baker & Taylor, the largest book distributers in the United States.

Authors will receive 50% of digital net for each eBook sold, 25% of retail price for printed copies sold through Xlibris, and 10% of the retail price for sales though distribution channels.

Learn more here.