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Self-Publishing Services Watchdog

John Doppler

When setting out to self-publish, authors can very quickly become overwhelmed or misled. Some services are run by people who are knowledgeable, dedicated, helpful and fair; others are clueless, greedy, callous or manipulative. The Alliance of Independent Authors offers a number of services that can help, through our Self-Publishing Services Watchdog Desk, headed up by indie author John Doppler, author of Choosing the Best Self-Publishing Services For You. Ours is an unregulated marketplace, where the same service can cost $500 against $15,000, for pretty much the same thing, depending on where you shop; where useless services are sold at inflated prices; where one large operation with many imprints, and controversial practices dominate the information stream. The aim of ALLi's self-Publishing services watchdog is to ensure you know who to trust.

Self-Publishing Services Watchdog: ALLi Partner Members

 Partner Membership, is our association’s attempt to offer a trustworthy guide to the global author services sector.

Each service listed here has been vetted by our Watchdog team and adheres to ALLi’s Code of Standards.

Self-publishing service companies applying to join our alliance are vetted against a range of criteria, including customer service and value for money. The decision to confirm Partner Membership is based on many factors, depending on the type of service offered. We rely on our own assessment, feedback from ALLi Advisors and the wider author community, Internet research and sometimes mystery shopping to make our evaluations.

Philip Lynch picture

Philip Lynch ALLi Director

Considerations include:

  • Do business practices comply with the ALLi Code of Standards?
  • Does the service have connections to businesses that fail to comply or have previously been denied Partner Membership?
  • Are rates appropriate to service level, reach and reputation?
  • Is the business presentation contemporary, professional and reflective of the service being offered. (Editors – is your copy scrupulously edited? Designers – does your website look good and work well?)
  • Are there positive testimonials from credible author clients?

Only services we believe are doing a good job for authors are admitted as Partner Members.

Self-Publishing Services Watchdog: Guidebook

Want to know which self-publishing services are reputable, which to avoid, and which offer the best return on investment? This guidebook, by the head of ALLi's Watchdog Desk, John Doppler, empowers you to choose the best self-publishing partners for your book and author business, from large players like Amazon KDP, Google and Apple Books down to your local friendly freelance.

As well as telling you what you need to know to assess any service yourself, this guidebook rates more than a hundred well-known self-publishing services, and offers guidance on what to outsource, when to hire, and how to know what you need and what it should cost.

Everything you need to take control of the fast-changing world of self-publishing, produce a great book, and sell more copies around the world.

Self-Publishing Services Watchdog: Searchable Database for Members

We connect our author members with the best author services available through the Partner Search facility in our Members Zone, which can be accessed by author members any time (member-only, log-in needed).

Self-Publishing Services Watchdog: Directory of Services

We produce a quarterly updated Partner Member Directory, which lists Partner Services under the headings of Writing, Editorial, Design, Production, Distribution, Marketing and promotion, Rights Licensing and Author Business. This is widely distributed, for sale in our shop, or can be accessed and downloaded by ALLi members here (member-only, log-in needed).

Self-Publishing Services Watchdog: Service Ratings

Our Services Ratings page, is an outreach to the wider indie author community. Here we rate services that overcharge, over-promise, under-deliver, or in any way exploit authors, as well as listing our Partner Members and other recommended services. (see menu above).

PLEASE NOTE: The ALLi ratings 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.

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

Self-Publishing Services Watchdog: Contests and Awards

A similar outreach service on our Self-Publishing Advice Center, rating writing awards and prizes that target indie authors.

Self-Publishing Services Watchdog: Email us

We want to hear from you about services and awards. If you have feedback, please contact the Watchdog Desk at any time if you would like to inform us about a service, or discuss a rating. All communications are strictly confidential.

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