Self-publishing your work: what are your options?

Have you created a magazine or book in Affinity Publisher that you want to self-publish? We’ve compiled a list of the different services you can use to get your work out there.

Whether it’s a novel, magazine, children’s picture book or a collection of your best work, Affinity Publisher gives you the power to combine your images, graphics and text to create the perfect document, ready for publication.

But while writing and illustrating a book or putting together a magazine is no mean feat, getting your work out in the world and making it available for people to buy can seem like a mammoth task in itself.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular platforms and services you can self-publish your work through once you’re ready. They all accept PDF format, which is perfect if you’ve created your book in Affinity Publisher.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

By far the most well-known and widely used self-publishing platform is Amazon’s KDP. For no cost at all, you can upload your book to the site and it will then appear on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours. The website provides a wealth of information and resources to help you get started and the information is provided in a well-organised, straightforward way.

Thanks to its recent merger with CreateSpace, KDP now offers the option to make your book available in both eBook and paperback format. You can also choose to opt into KDP Select, through which you exchange exclusivity rights for your book for three months for enrolment in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library programmes along with other promotional tools to help you market your book.

For every book sold through KDP, you’ll earn 35% or 70% of your book’s listed selling price (list price), depending on factors such as price and location.

Ingram Spark

If you’re interested in self-publishing print copies of a book, IngramSpark offers a print-on-demand self-publishing service for PDF files (if you want to publish digital versions, you’ll need to convert your PDF file to an ePub).

Opposed to Amazon which is a retailer, IngramSpark is an aggregator, or a distributor. Aggregators provide a similar upload service to retailers, but also offer a distribution service after you self-publish through its platform. So, once you upload your book, IngramSpark will then distribute it to its many retail partners and libraries in order to help you reach even more potential readers. IngramSpark even promises that they’ll make your work available to more than 38,000 different retailers and libraries.

The catch with this, of course, is the cost. IngramSpark charges an up-front fee of $49 (about £39) to publish your book in print. And if your book is purchased through a retailer IngramSpark distributed to, the retailer will take a cut of the earnings as well.

In summary, IngramSpark will cost you, but your book will be seen by more potential readers, so it’s up to you whether you think this is a worthwhile investment. Ultimately, you’re paying for convenience and a wide-reaching print-on-demand service.

Blurb

Similar to IngramSpark, Blurb provides a distribution service for your self-published work. With Blurb, you can upload your PDF to create both a digital version of your work as well as a paperback or hardcover version. Blurb also allows you to self-publish magazines, unlike many of the other platforms.

Once uploaded, you can sell your work through Blurb’s bookstore as well as through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and a network of over 38,000 retailers, libraries and schools thanks to its partnership with IngramSpark.

Blurb isn’t free though. You’ll have to pay £3.59 to upload a PDF version of your work or £8.39 if you want your PDF converted into a different file type. For print books, Blurb doesn’t charge anything and doesn’t even take commission—you just need to list your book for the cost of printing it as well as the profit you choose. If your work sells through any of the retailers Blurb distributes to though, the retailer will take a small percentage of earnings.

Blurb also offers large order services in case you want to pay outright for a large number of copies of your printed work rather than go for the print-on-demand option. This works well if you want to give away or sell physical copies of your work on your own.

Barnes & Noble Press

Barnes & Noble is the largest book retailer in the US and its self-publishing service offers a ‘free, fast, and easy-to-use’ service that enables you to publish and sell directly to Barnes & Noble’s millions of readers. The website offers plenty of help and resources, including details for third party experts such as professional editors and cover artists who can help you make your book even better.

While you need a Word, HTML, TXT or ePub version of your work to publish an eBook through Barnes & Noble, you can self-publish a print version with your PDF.

Barnes & Noble Press is a free service and you’ll earn 40-65% of the list price you set. And if you sell enough books through the online platform, your book could even qualify to be sold in-store.

Xinxii

If you’re not interested in self-publishing print versions of your work and you’re happy with self-publishing digital versions, Xinxii is a great option as it allows you to turn your PDF into an eBook through its platform. As ‘Europe’s leading indie eBook self-publishing and distribution platform’, Xinxii is similar to IngramSpark and Blurb as it’s an aggregator that makes your work available to a wide range of retailers.

And unless you decide to opt for its ‘Plus’ or ‘Power’ plans, Xinxii is a free service; the company makes its money off of commission for your book sales rather than charging an up-front fee in addition to this.

With Xinxii, you’ll earn 70% or 40% of your book’s net sales if your book is purchased from XinXii’s website. If your book is sold through one of the retailers such as Amazon, Kobo or Apple Books (if distributed by Xinxii), then you’ll receive up to 85% of the amount XinXii received from the retailer.

Which is best?

There are pros and cons to every self-publishing service, so it really comes down to what you prefer and what you think will work best for you and your work—just make sure to do your own research before proceeding and understand the terms and conditions of the service to avoid any confusion down the line.


Senior copywriter
Originally from New York, Kelly is our creative team’s senior copywriter. When she’s not writing fantasy or thriller novels in her spare time, she is probably obsessing over Game of Thrones (team Daenerys for life), Harry Potter (#Ravenclaw) or the Korean boyband BTS (aka the most amazing musical group to ever grace the earth).
Credits & Footnotes

Header image by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash. We are not affiliated with any of the websites listed in this article, information is a guide only and accurate at time of publishing.