Be careful of fee-for-publishing companies

Some authors dislike Amazon’s corporate dominance of the self-publishing market. Others find intimidating the formatting, cover design and uploading aspects of self-publishing and so seek a package that will handle all of that for them. Fee-for-publishing companies have arisen to fulfill those needs.

Such companies are exactly what they’re called – they’ll publish your book for you so long as you pay a fee. You can find their advertisements scattered across social media for writers.

So are they worth it? The short answer almost always is “no.”

There are several reasons why you should take a good look at any fee-for-publishing company before contracting its services. To begin, most offer their services at inflated fees. Many freelance editors and cover designers (not to mention CreateSpace itself) can deliver better services for far less money. These companies are relying upon your distaste for Amazon (which is free to use, by the way) or your fears of the self-publishing process to rationalize their excessive fees.

Most also require that you purchase your book in bulk. Reputable print on demand companies such as CreateSpace or Smashwords never force you to buy copies of your paperback or ebook for using their services. And while you should have some additional copies of your paperback around for marketing purposes (such as selling at book readings), you almost never need to warehouse boxes of them as many fee-for-publishing companies want you to.

In addition, you often can’t change your book unless you’ve used the company’s full suite of services –without paying additional money, that is. So, if you notice a typo on page 23 but only went with the company’s formatting service and not its cover design service, you’re out of luck. Author-friendly print on demand services should allow you to correct such typos and reupload your book at no extra cost.

Lastly, many offer limited upload options, such as only to Kindle. You almost certainly want to print a paperback as well, however, and probably offer your title on iBook, Nook, and Kobo as well, to maximize sales potential by being available to more readers.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.