7 Affordable Self-Publishing Services for Aspiring Authors

Getting your book published can be a challenging process. You might be great at writing, but figuring out the best format, cover design, and budget can be tough. The good news is that there are now high-quality publishing services available to help you publish your book affordably and professionally.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of publishing, weigh the pros and cons of digital versus print formats, and introduce you to 7 top-notch self-publishing services that excel in design, publishing, and even marketing your books.

Read on for more details.

Understanding ISBN

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique set of digits assigned to published books. It helps identify both the publisher and the title of the book. ISBNs come in two formats: the older 10-digit version known as ISBN-10, and the newer 13-digit version, known as ISBN-13. Having an ISBN is crucial if you’re considering publishing your book in either print or digital form.

ISBN image

Here are some resources to help you learn more about ISBN:

Note: An ISBN is not required if you’re planning to sell or distribute eBooks.

Print on Demand: A Cost-Effective Choice

Print on demand lets publishers print and deliver books only when an order comes in, rather than printing in bulk. This method is a cost-effective solution, especially for individual book publishers working within a budget.

Want to learn more about Print on Demand? Here are some resources:

Digital vs. Print: Which to Choose?

1. The Digital Route

Today’s readers are largely online. While many still love traditional print, millions use e-book readers like Kindle and iPads. Digital publishing offers indie writers a chance to reach a vast audience at minimal cost.

Digital publishing means your work is accessible to readers worldwide. You can even sell directly from your own website (no need for an ISBN). Plus, it’s quick – just a few clicks away.

ebook reader on a table
2. The Print Route

For some, there’s nothing like the fresh scent of a new book, especially with morning coffee. Holding a physical copy adds a sense of authenticity. And the tactile joy of turning pages is irreplaceable. Many traditionalists still prefer printed books.

Now that you know the pros and cons of both digital and print publishing, remember: you don’t have to choose just one. You can publish in both formats!

stack of printed books

7 Easy-to-Use Self-Publishing Services

Let’s explore some online platforms that make it easy for you to publish your book without needing a traditional publisher.


MagCloud simplifies the publishing process, offering both digital and print options. With just three easy steps, you can have your book published and delivered in as little as three days.

Additionally, MagCloud has a feature that allows authors to connect with their readers and send updates, like newsletters. This is particularly useful if you’re releasing a series or a new edition. There’s no need to switch to another service to keep your readers informed.

Whether your readers use an iPad, Kindle, or smartphone, MagCloud ensures cross-platform compatibility. And if you’re into magazines, photography, design, or illustration, MagCloud is an excellent choice for you.

MagCloud platform screenshot

If you have a story but don’t want to deal with formatting and design, Lulu has got you covered. They even help you find reviewers and offer professional consultations. Lulu provides three different packages to choose from.

All packages simplify the publishing process. Just provide your content, and they’ll handle everything else—from formatting and cover design to editorial reviews and distribution—all for as low as $600!

Another cool feature is that Lulu allows you to register your books for partner book fairs. Your book can be displayed at these events, attracting attention from buyers, marketers, librarians, and agents.

Lulu platform screenshot

CreateSpace is a versatile platform suitable for authors, musicians, and filmmakers. They handle almost everything, from the moment you submit your content to its delivery. All you need to do is sit back and watch your earnings grow.

You can choose the format in which your content will be delivered to customers, whether it’s electronic (eBook, MP3, video) or physical (print, CD, DVD).

CreateSpace platform screenshot

Unbound offers a unique way to publish books. It’s perfect for confident writers who have a strong idea but don’t want to write the whole book upfront. You pitch your idea, and if enough people support it, you can start writing. Unbound even funds you while you write!

How does it work? You present your idea and try to get readers interested. Once you have enough support, you can start writing. Currently, Unbound mainly works with established authors or newcomers who have a literary agent.

This is a truly unique way to write and publish a book!

Unbound platform screenshot

Quality is often a concern for self-published books, which is why many bookstores hesitate to stock them. Xlibris addresses this issue by offering a comprehensive marketing plan for authors.

Xlibris has been in the business for over a decade, helping writers achieve their dreams. They offer extensive publishing and marketing plans, and the author keeps all the rights to their work.

Xlibris platform screenshot

Smashwords is a popular choice, with over 18,000 writers using their services. Authors and publishers get to keep 85% of the sales, one of the highest returns in the industry.

Once you publish with Smashwords, your book gets distributed to major retailers like Barnes & Noble and Apple’s iBook store. The best part? It’s completely free to use!

Smashwords platform screenshot

FastPencil offers free book writing software that’s easy to use, without any unnecessary features. It’s a great tool for new writers.

The software allows for collaboration between writers. Just like in Google Docs, people can leave comments on different parts of your document. This can be really helpful for getting feedback.

Once you publish, your book is sold in the FastPencil Marketplace. For a fee, they can also distribute your book to other marketplaces.

FastPencil platform screenshot