Skip to main content

Self-Publishing With Help

How does self-publishing work when you use a self-publishing service?  
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

• Author enters into an agreement with a publishing service to publish the book for a fee. A contract usually stipulates what the author will pay for the service upfront, what that service entails and what the royalty structure on copies sold will be.

• Affordable self-publishing options, almost without exception, use print-on-demand or short-run digital printing technology.

• Typically, the lower the cost, the more authors must do on their own. Some services—particularly those offering e-publishing—can be free if the author provides printer-ready files, final cover files, etc.

• Publishing services vary tremendously in how they edit, design and distribute books. Usually the business model of these services depends on making a profit from the upfront fees, not from book sales. It’s to their advantage to sell additional services upfront, to create a better product while increasing profit.

A Breakdown of Different Types of Self-Publishing:

TRADITIONAL PRINT RUN / PRINT-ON-DEMAND (Create a Physical Book)

EVERYTHING FROM E-BOOKS TO WEBSITES AND BLOGS (Go Digital)

INDEPENDENT SELF-PUBLISHING (Go Your Own Way)

SELF-PUBLISHING WITH HELP (Use a Service)


This article appeared in the March/April issue of Writer's Digest. Click here to order your copy in print. If you prefer a digital download of the issue, click here.

The Full Package on Self-Publishing:


From Script

Character Studies, Writing the Immigrant Experience, and Six Adaptation Steps Before You Adapt a Book (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, navigate different character study approaches in your writing, and tracking emotional journeys.

Lora Senf: On Trusting Children With Middle Grade Fiction

Lora Senf: On Trusting Children With Middle Grade Fiction

Author Lora Senf discusses how one chilling text message led her to writing her new middle grade horror novel, The Clackity.

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Critically acclaimed novelist Katrina Leno discusses the process of bringing her childhood memories to magical life in her new young adult novel, Sometime in Summer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A New Podcast Episode, "Your Story" Prompt, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our latest episode of "Writer's Digest Presents," the new "Your Story" prompt, and more!

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Here are the top live streams, podcasts, and YouTube channels as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

You might have heard the term, especially if you’re in online fandoms, but what exactly is fan fiction? Managing Editor Moriah Richard explains.

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.