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Orna Ross, Director of ALLi

We get it. You want the best self-publishing services but there are a lot of companies, tools and tech out there. Some deliver outstanding products and results, but others overcharge, over-promise and under-deliver. Some even knowingly exploit authors. How do you know who to trust?

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 that align with our Code of Standards and go through a vetting process. The approval system for our partner members can be accessed through our membership website here. Partners are included in ALLi’s directory and searchable database, widely regarded as the most trustworthy listing of  the best self-publishing services.

Headshot of John Doppler

John Doppler

2. John Doppler, head of ALLi’s Watchdog Desk and author of Choosing the Best Self-Publishing Services for You, identifies and rates the best and worst self-publishing services here on this page. ALLi Watchdog ratings are based on careful appraisals of multiple criteria: 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 John’s book.

The Best Self-Publishing Services–and the Worst–Rated

Below find the ratings of a wide range of self-publishing services. Please note: all ratings are the opinion of the watchdog desk. ALLi is willing to work with any self-publishing service that wants to align with current best practice. Contact ALLi’s Watchdog Desk at any time if you would like to inform us about a service or discuss a rating.

Excellent (Partner Member)

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.

Watchdog Advisory

Services which fail to align with our Code of Standards, receive consistent complaints and, in some cases, have been subject to legal action.

Self-Publishing Services: Concerns

The following codes are used to indicate the types of issues that led to a negative rating. The issues listed for each concern are illustrative examples only, and may not apply to a specific service provider. When assessing any service yourself, these are the features to keep in mind.

Quality: substandard work; ineffective services, such as marketing that does not generate sales
Value: excessive fees for the type or quality of services rendered
Communication: does not keep the client informed at all stages of work; does not respond to customer inquiries
Transparency: does not disclose important information about the service; obfuscates fees; provides vague descriptions of services
Service: abusive or rude interactions with clients; does not meet deadlines; does not fulfill promises
Marketing: high-pressure sales; overhyped services; unsolicited email, phone calls, and other forms of spam
Practices: unprofessional or unethical conduct; violations of third-party terms of service
Legal: may have been the target of lawsuits or criminal investigations
Contract: rights grabs; vague language; termination fees or other contract terms that work to the author’s disadvantage

Best Self-Publishing Services: Disclaimer

The assessments listed on this page are the opinion of the ALLi Watchdog Desk. Authorized representatives of the companies listed 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 of best and worst self-publishing services? Let us know so we can evaluate it.

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

Updated regularly and drawing on recommendations from ALLi members, warnings from our Watchdog Services, community word-of-mouth, and in-depth research, Choosing The Right Self-Publishing Service for You covers every service an author might need, together with information about how to hire and how to protect yourself if things go wrong.

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