Alert: Avoid Wrong Turns in Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid

As a self-publishing coach, I am often asked what are the self-publishing companies to avoid. What are the worst “self-publishing” companies? How can I make money in self-publishing without overspending or getting caught up with scam self-publishing companies?

If you have landed here, you are probably asking the same question. A quick easy answer is to say that self-publishing companies to avoid are ones which will not fit the needs of your self-publishing project. This article will help you select the best self-publishing companies for your book publishing projects and how to be aware of particular self-publishing companies to avoid.


If you are preparing to self-publish a book, this article we will help you to properly prepare for success in self-publishing. I have worked on the inside of traditional publishing and offset printing for decades. For the past five years,  I have worked extensively in the self-publishing industry and have a good grasp on the landscape of services available in the book publishing industry. In this article we will tackle the questions of which self publishing companies to avoid. But first, let’s consider the following:

  • So-called “self-publishing” companies are really just print on demand companies. Many offer extra services, but they are secondary. To get a more clear understanding of what self-publishing or print on demand really is and what other publishing terms mean, see the Dictionary of Publishing Terms.
  • Selecting a print on demand company or printer is only one step in the self-publishing process. If you have decided to publish a book yourself, understand that it is the equivalent of being your own general contractor for building your home. Selecting a printer to publish your book would be like selecting someone to pour the foundation, put on a roof, or frame up the house. It is but one piece of the entire picture.
  • Selecting the best printing company to print your book depends entirely on the type of book you are going to publish. So the “worst self publishing company” will be one who least likely matches the requirements of your book project. If publishing a four-color hardback illustrated children’s book, you will want to select a different printing company (“self-publishing company”) than if you are printing a black and white paperback. To learn more about the basic steps of how to publish a book, read the other articles on this site.

The Best Way to Avoid the Worst Self-Publishing Companies

To avoid the worst self-publishing companies, the best approach is to do an analysis of the requirements of your book publishing project. Ask yourself the following questions:

What is the purpose of my book project? Is it to sell lots of books, sell books online, sell books in person, enter the speaking circuit, give workshops using the books, or to leave a legacy for your family?

 Will you need a small, or large inventory of books?

 Is your budget tiny to small? If so, you will want to consider a print on demand method; books are printed as sold, with no inventory needed.

 How important is quality of printing and paper? If your book includes high quality four-color illustrations or photos you will need a different kind of printer, than if you are publishing a normal paperback book.

    • Make an Informed Decision

      The trick to finding the best printer for your book publishing project is research. Define the specifications of your printing job first. To put together the specifications of your printing project answer the following questions:

    • Will my book be paperback or hardback? (hardback is more expensive and complicated to do)
    • How many printed pages will my book be? (about double number of pages of a 12 point Word document manuscript)
    • Will I have illustrations inside the book?Will I need four-color inside the book?
    • What level of printing quality will my book project need?
    • What size will my book be? Will it be a custom-size or a standard book size?

Some of the Best Self-Publishing Companies

For paperbacks, I recommend starting your research with CreateSpace, LuLu, and Outskirts Press. These “players” have been around since the beginning of print on demand technology and they have their game down. Still, I get many comments about these self-publishing companies who sometimes are being seen as scam self-publishing companies. Keep in mind that although it is free to sign up for a print on demand account in most cases, extra services are often quite overpriced, and this is where the “scamming” comes in. People feel mislead when they discover the “extra costs” involved in self-publishing a book. I suggest reading my article on self-publishing services to learn more about this area. For small quantities (or even just one published book) of four-color books (lower quality),  I recommend starting your research with Blurb, and for larger quantities I recommend starting your research with Lightening Source. These are just some suggestions as there are many thousands of self-publishing companies available for printing your book. But the very first step is to clearly define the goals and needs of your book publishing project.  As for which self-publishing companies to avoid, I urge you to first do your research on your book project. Then you’ll understand which companies will be a better fit for your project. To learn more about the process of defining your book project, see the following articles:

  • How to Self-Publish a Book
  • Self-publishing Checklist: Publishing a book Yourself
  • Print on Demand- 12 Money Motives

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