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Best and Worst Self-Publishing Services Reviewed & Rated by the Alliance of Independent Authors

Introduction

Orna Ross Bio Headshot

Orna Ross, ALLi Director

The Watchdog Desk of The Alliance of Independent Authors monitors the self-publishing industry in two ways.

1. We have a Partner Membership for services which align with our Code of Standards and go through a vetting process.

2. We identify rogue services which overcharge, over-promise, under-deliver, or in any way exploit authors.

The ratings below are the opinion of the Watchdog Desk. Ratings are based on careful appraisals of multiple criteria, including pricing and value, quality of service, contract terms and rights, transparency, accountability, and customer satisfaction.

For more information on author services, and to learn how to appraise any service yourself, please see our book, How to Choose A Self-Publishing Service.

Service Ratings

Headshot of John Doppler

John Doppler

ALLi is willing to work with any service that wants to improve its offerings and bring them in line with current best practice for authors services.

Contact the Watchdog Desk at any time if you would like to inform us about a service or discuss a rating. Please use the form on this page.


Services which have been vetted and align with ALLi’s Code of Standards.
Services which behave ethically and professionally, with pricing and value in line with industry norms.
Services which, although ethical, fall short of ALLi’s Code of Standards in some areas.
Services which do not currently align with ALLi’s Code of Standards.
Services which fail to align with our Code of Standards, have given rise to consistent complaints and, in some cases, have been subject to legal action.


Listings updated October 17, 2018.

#
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
100 Covers
1106 Design (Michele DeFilippo)

A
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Aaxel Author Services
Abbott Press

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint

Eleanor Abraham
Adirondack Editing
Aegitas

Quality, Transparency

AIA Editing and Publishing
Alison’s Editing Service
Alliant Press

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Partnership between Alliant University and Author Solutions

Amazon (CreateSpace)

Read our comparison of Ingram Spark vs. CreateSpace, and learn how you can use both services to leverage the strengths of each.

Amazon (KDP)

Read our comparison of publishing platforms in Amazon vs. Apple

America Star Books

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Formerly PublishAmerica, a vanity press with a staggering number of complaints.

Amnet Systems
Amolibros
Anthemion Software
Apple (iBooks)

Read our comparison of publishing platforms in Amazon vs. Apple

Archway Publishing

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Simon & Schuster imprint outsourced to Author Solutions

Areo Books
AtlasBooks

Transparency, Service, Practices

A division of Bookmasters.

Austin Macauley

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency

Author’s Republic
Author-ity Authors (Dixie Maria Carlton)
Author Accelerator
Author Connections
Author Design Studio
Author Help (Russell Phillips)
AuthorHouse

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint

AuthorHouse UK

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint

Authoright

Value, Service, Transparency

Author Learning Center

Transparency, Marketing

Owned by Author Solutions; be extremely wary of any paid services.

Author Marketing Club
Author Marketing Experts
The Author Site
Author Solutions

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions has been the subject of multiple class action lawsuits in the US.

Autocrit

B
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Helen Baggott
Bakerview Consulting
Balboa Press

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Hay House imprint outsourced to Author Solutions

Balboa Press UK

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Hay House imprint outsourced to Author Solutions

BAM! Publish (Books-A-Million)

Value, Service, Transparency

Barbara Bauer Literary Agency

Practices

Bargain Booksy (Written Word Media)

See our evaluation of ebook discovery services for more information.

BB EBooks
BEAUTeBOOK
Jessica Bell
Berge Design
BetaBooks
Better Scribe
Katie Birks Branding & Design
Black Rose Writing

Value, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Contract Terms

A history of problematic contract terms, required purchases of authors’ books, and various vanity press tactics make this publisher a no-go.

Blank Slate Communications
Blasty
Blissetts
Bluebird Consulting
BlueInk Review
Bluewave Publishing
Blurb

Blurb offers a number of hard-to-find print formats.

BookAds

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Other

BookBaby

Watchdog review available.

BookBlast

Please note that BookBlast, a company with a proven track record, is not the same as “BookBlastPro” below.

BookBlastPro

Transparency, Quality, Practices

Please note that BookBlast, a recommended company with a proven track record, is unrelated to “BookBlastPro”.

BookBub

See our evaluation of ebook discovery services for more information.

Book Country

Transparency, Marketing

Book Country is owned by Author Solutions; while the community itself is innocuous, be extremely wary of any paid services.

Book Cover Cafe
Book Cover Express
Book Create Service
The Book Designer (Joel Friedlander)
BookFunnel
BookGarage
Book Hub
Book Industry Communication (BIC)
Book Launchers
BookLocker
Bookmasters

Service, Transparency

Also operates as AtlasBooks.

Book Nanny
Bookouture
Bookprinting.com

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Book Promoters (TheBookPromoters.com)

Value, Marketing, Quality

BookPublishing.com (Jenkins Group)

Value, Transparency, Marketing, Other

Book Reality
Bookrix

Contract Terms, Marketing

Troubling contract terms and spammy marketing.

BookRunes
Books Butterfly

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Practices

BooksGoSocial
Books Machine, The

Value, Marketing

Spammy marketing and poor ROI preclude a Recommended rating on this otherwise ethical service.

BooksOnline.best

Legal, Other

Another incarnation of Crystalline Noble. This site is currently flagged by Norton as a potential security risk (and rightfully so). Under no circumstances should you create an account on this site or provide them with your personal information.

BooksOnline.directory

Legal, Other

Also operates ArtistsGallery.directory and CreativeDesignersWriters.com.

Booktango

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

Bookupy

Marketing, Practices

BookVenture

Value, Marketing, Practices

Beyond the outrageous pricing, spammy and unprofessional marketing coupled with overblown claims of an affiliation with Ingram warrant a strong Caution rating.

Bowker

Value, Transparency

Although Bowker is a trustworthy source for ISBN registrations (and the only authorized registrar in the US), their ancillary and self-publishing services are a poor value.

Breezeway Books

Value

Formerly Llumina Press.

Averill Buchanan
Buzbooks.com

C
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Caliburn Press

Legal, Quality, Practices, Other

Chanticleer Book Reviews
Choosy Bookworm

Value, Quality, Service, Communication

Christian Faith Publishing

Value, Transparency, Marketing, Quality, Practices, Contract Terms

An aggressively marketed vanity press targeting Christian writers.

Karen Cioffi-Ventrice
Clays
Clink Street Publishing

Value, Service, Transparency

The “publishing” arm of Authoright.

Clio Editing Service
Coinlea Services
Completely Novel
Conscious Care Publishing

Transparency, Marketing, Practices

Cre8urbrand (Jason Conway)
CreateSpace

Read our comparison of Ingram Spark vs. CreateSpace, and learn how you can use both services to leverage the strengths of each.

CreateThinkDo
CreativeDesignersWriters.com

Legal, Other

Also operates ArtistsGallery.directory and BooksOnline.directory

The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn)
Creativia

Transparency, Practices

Crystalline Noble

Legal, Other

Also operates BooksOnline.directory, ArtistsGallery.directory, and CreativeDesignersWriters.com.

D
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Daisy Editorial
Damonza.com
Daniel Goldsmith Associates
DartFrog Books
Mark Dawson (Self Publishing Formula)
DCP

Contract Terms, Transparency, Other

Operates msbuyer.com, a manuscript purchasing operation. Actual company name and location are unknown, but operates under the alias “DCP”.

Dead Birds
De Montfort Literature

Practices, Contract Terms

Design for Writers
Dick Margulis Creative Services
Dissect Designs (Tim Barber)
Dog Ear Publishing

Value, Quality

Dorrance Publishing

Value, Transparency, Marketing

Libby Doyle (Fairhill Publishing LLC)
Draft2Digital

In-depth review available

Katharine D’Souza

E
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
eBook Dynasty
Ebook Launch
eBook Partnership
eBooksAreForever

Review available.

Ebooks Cover Design
Editorial.ie
Elly Donovan PR
Elm Hill Press

Value, Communication, Transparency, Marketing, Practices, Contract Terms

Outrageous pricing and ties to notorious vanity press WestBow warrant extreme caution.

Enigma Editorial

F
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
FastPencil

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency

FCI Digital
FCM Publishing
FicFun

Contract Terms

Submissions are subject to a rights grab for the life of the copyright.

Fiction Feedback
FindPublishingHelp.com

Transparency, Marketing, Practices

Lead generator for problematic vanity presses. Aggressive marketing.

Fingerpress Ltd
First Edition Design Publishing

Value, Transparency, Quality

Five Rainbows (Lisa A. Shiel)

Provides PCIP data and MARC records.

Foreword Reviews
Formatting Experts
FreeBooksy (Written Word Media)

See our evaluation of ebook discovery services for more information.

Fulton Books

Value, Transparency, Other

Fussy Librarian

See our evaluation of ebook discovery services for more information.

G
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
GABAL Global Editions

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

GABAL imprint outsourced to Author Solutions.

Gatekeeper Press
Get Published! LLC

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions parent company.

GetPublishingHelp.com

Transparency, Practices

An anonymous lead-gathering website run by New Century Publishing.

Girl Friday Productions
Grammarly
Green Ivy Publishing

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Practices

Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd.
Guaranteed Author (Leigh St. John)

Value, Transparency, Quality

Gunboss Books

H
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Happy Self Publishing
Heddon Publishing
Hellgate Press

Value, Transparency, Marketing

See also Writer Beware’s summary of Hellgate’s concealed subsidy publishing program.

Hemingway Editor
Hillcrest Media Group / Hillcrest Publishing Group

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Hobthross Ltd
Hot Pink Publishing (Carla Wynn Hall)

Communication, Service, Marketing, Practices, Quality, Other

I
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
iBooks (Apple)

Read our comparison of publishing platforms in Amazon vs. Apple

Independent Author Network
Independent Ink
Independent Publishing Assistance
Indie Authors World
IndieBookLauncher
Indie Writer Support

Legal, Other

Also operates ParaDon Books, ReadersBooks.info.

Infinity Publishing

Value, Service, Quality

Ingenium Books
IngramSpark

Read our comparison of Ingram Spark vs. CreateSpace, and learn how you can use both services to leverage the strengths of each.

Inkitt

Marketing, Practices

Aggressive and unprofessional marketing. Operated over 40 fake accounts on Twitter to send spam. Once banned from Reddit due to pervasive spam.

Inkshares

Value, Marketing, Practices

Inkslinger Editing
Inkwater

Value

Although Inkwater behaves ethically and provides quality work, its pricing precludes our Recommended rating. Authors are urged to comparison shop.

Inkyeverafterpress
IPR License
iUniverse

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

I_AM Self-Publishing

J
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
JD Smith Design
Jenkins Group

Value, Transparency, Marketing, Practices

JJ Toner YA
Jodi Brandon Editorial
John Hawkins Design
Julie Gray Story Editing

K
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
KDP Rocket
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP, Amazon)

Read our comparison of publishing platforms in Amazon vs. Apple.

Kindlepreneur (Dave Chesson)
Kirkus / Kirkus Indie

Although Kirkus behaves ethically, the Watchdog Desk has concerns about some aspects of their service. Read Jim Giammatteo’s two-part analysis here and here.

Kobo
Sarah Kolb-Williams
KT Editing (Katherine Trail)

L
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Language + Literary Translations
Lateral Action (Marc McGuinness)
Lawston Design
Library Cat Editing Services
LifeRich Publishing

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Reader’s Digest imprint outsourced to Author Solutions.

ListenUp Indie
The Literary Consultancy
LitFire Publishing

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Vanity press with connections to Author Solutions employees and allegations of deceptive practices. See Writer Beware for additional information.

LitRing
Llumina Press / Breezeway Books

Value

Lucy Ridout Editorial Services
Lulu

Value

Review available.

Luminare Press

M
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Marfa House / Big Bend Productions

Quality, Contract Terms, Marketing, Practices

Martin Publishing Services
Matador Publishing
Amie McCracken
Anita D. McClellan Associates
Angela McPherson
megustaescribir

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Owned by Penguin Random House, outsourced to Author Solutions.

Michael Faulkner Editorial Services
Michael Terence Publishing (MTP)

Communication, Transparency

Mill City Press

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Sarah Monsma
Month9Books (Georgia McBride Media Group)

Legal, Communication, Transparency, Practices

Allegations of failure to pay authors, accounting chaos, unprofessional behavior, and at least one lawsuit.

MorainesEdgeBooks.com
More Visual (TheBookCoverDesigners.com)
MSBuyer.com

Transparency, Other

Manuscript buyer operating under the initials “DCP”. Actual company name and location are unknown.

My Author Concierge (Maria Connor)
My Book Cave

N
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Nancy Yeoman Proofreading
NetGalley
New Century Publishing

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Marketing, Practices

See Writer Beware’s coverage of legal action against NCP by the Indiana Attorney General and more than 40 authors.

New Shelves
New Writers Interface
Nielsen ISBN

As with other ISBN registrars, be wary of unnecessary add-on services.

Nikki Busch Editing
NOOK Press

Value

Review available.

A Novel Connection

Practices

Use of this service appears to violate KDP Select’s rules on exclusivity.

Novel Publicity
Novel Thinking
Novel Websites

O
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Oak Tree Publishing

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing

Okir Publishing

Value, Marketing, Service, Transparency

One Stop Fiction
OnlineBookClub.org

Legal, Other

OodleBooks
Opprimo Marketing

Quality, Practices

Natasha Orme
Outskirts Press

Value, Quality

OverDrive

Review available

P
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
PageMaster
Page Publishing

Value, Quality, Marketing, Practices

Palibrio

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

Palmetto Publishing Group
Amnet Systems
ParaDon Books

Legal, Other

Also operates Indie Writer Support, ReadersBooks.info. David Gaughran’s experience highlights some of the concerns with this company and its principal, Korede Abayomi.

Partridge Africa

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

Partridge India

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

Partridge Singapore

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

Payhip
Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Publishers

Value, Service, Marketing, Practices

The Pen Factor
PeopleSpeak (Sharon Goldinger)
Perfect the Word
Peters Fraser and Dunlop
PickFu
Pix Bee Design
Pixel Tweaks Publications
PJ Boox
Prepare to Publish
Print2Demand
ProofProfessor (Matt Rance)

Transparency, Practices, Other

Additional information available.

ProWritingAid
Publica.io

Because blockchain technology is in its infancy, it is difficult to assess the ramifications of its use. However, Publica.io is reputable and adheres to ALLi’s Code of Standards.

PublishDrive
Published.com

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Publish Green

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Pubvendo

R
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Raider Publishing

Contract Terms, Value, Quality, Transparency, Communication, Service, Practices

Numerous complaints.

Rancho Park Publishing
ReadersBooks.info

Legal, Other

Also operates ParaDon Books, Indie Writer Support.

Readers in the Know
Read Out Loud
RedheadedBookLover (“Aimee Ann”)

Transparency, Marketing, Practices

In her unsolicited emails, RBL neglects to mention that her reviews are invoiced at $75 each.

Reedsy
Rethink Press
Reviewers for Books

Marketing, Practices

RN Permissions
Robin Ludwig Design (gobookcoverdesign.com)/
Rob Siders (52 Novels)
Rocket Science Productions / RSP Marketing Services

Value, Quality

“Phase One” of this publishing scheme involves a $595 payment for copyright registration and an ISBN. See our article on potentially worthless services marketed to indie authors.

S
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Sally Vince Editorial Services
Scard Editorial
Scarlett Rugers Book Design Agency
Scotforth Books

Scotforth Books is an imprint of Carnegie Publishing.

Scribd

Scribd has a rocky history with regards to piracy and their subscription services, but these complaints do not extend to their interactions with authors.

Seenapse
SELF-e

Value, Other

Review available.

Self Publishing Book Coach (Wendy Van de Poll)
SelfPubBookCovers
Self Publishing Formula (Mark Dawson)
Serious Reading

Value, Quality, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Practices

Shakspeare Editorial
She Writes Press

ALLi advises caution when considering any hybrid publishing arrangement.

S & H Publishing
SilverWood Books
Sleeping Cat Books
Smashwords
Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP)
The Soulful Pen (Carla Wynn Hall)

Communication, Service, Marketing, Practices, Quality, Other

Standoutbooks
Stergiou Ltd
Ellie Stevenson
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency (SBPRA, Robert Fletcher)

Legal, Value, Quality, Service

SBPRA has been the subject of multiple alerts at Writer Beware, and has been the subject of legal action compelling them to repay $125,000.00 to authors.

Stratton Press

Value, Practices, Other

StreetLib
SWATT Books
Sweek.com
Swift Publishing

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Practices

Swoon Romance (Georgia McBride Media Group)

Practices, Other

See Month9Books for additional information.

T
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Tablo Publishing
Tantor Media
Tantrum Books (Georgia McBride Media Group)

Practices, Other

See Month9Books for additional information.

Tate Publishing

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing

“Thumbs Down” assessment from SFWA. Tate is the subject of at least one lawsuit. Numerous complaints filed with consumer protection agencies.

Terry Gilbert-Fellows (Blackheath Dawn)
Thomson-Shore
Tom Evans, Bookwright
Trafford Publishing

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

TypeRight Editing

U
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Upgrade Your Story

V
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
Vervante
Voyage Media

W
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
WestBow Press

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Thomas Nelson & Zondervan imprint outsourced to Author Solutions.

Where Writers Win
Whitefox Publishing Services
The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards
Woman Safe Health
Wordclay

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

Woven Red Author Services (Joan Frantschuk)
WriteIndia, aka Times of India

Contract Terms, Transparency, Practices, Other

Allegations of contract manipulation.

Writers.Support

Legal, Other

An alias of Crystalline Noble, with the same allegations of credit card fraud.

Writer’s Digest
Writing.ie
Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi
Written Word Media

X
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
XinXii
Xlibris

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

Xlibris AU

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

Xlibris NZ

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

Xlibris UK

Legal, Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Author Solutions imprint.

Xulan Press

Value, Communication, Service, Transparency, Marketing, Quality

Y
Service Provider ALLi Watchdog Rating Areas of Concern
York Publishing Services
Your Author Engine


Disclaimer

The assessments listed on this page are the opinion of the ALLi Watchdog Desk. Authorized representatives of the companies listed above are welcome to contact us to request information on ALLi’s assessment process, or to present additional information for our consideration.

Is there a service you’re wondering about that’s not on our list? Let us know so we can evaluate it.


Watch out for risky #selfpub services! ALLi rates dozens of services for #IndieAuthors - by @johndoppler Click To Tweet

Updated annually and drawing on recommendations from ALLi members, warnings from our Watchdog Services, community word-of-mouth and in-depth research, How To Choose A Self-Publishing Service compares the most significant self-publishing services, from single service suppliers to package providers; from large big brand names to smaller sole traders; from off-the shelf providers to bespoke services.


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