There are a whole range of publishing platforms available to those of us who wish to self-publish our book(s). Simply search “Self Publishing Platforms” online and you will find a list of articles touting: “The 17 BEST Self-Publishing Companies of 2024”, “8 Best Free Self-Publishing Sites”, “The 15 Best Self Publishing Companies to Support Your Writing Career”, or “10 Best Self-Publishing Companies You Should Know”.

Each of them explain their rigorous “vetting” process and subsequent “qualified” picks, and, while the same platforms do show up on some of these lists, the rankings are never predictable.

Yes, most would recommend platforms like Amazon KDP, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble Press, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, IngramSpark, Rakuten Kobo, Lulu, BookBaby, and PublishDrive.

But who really knows which one is the best?

It really boils down to how much you want to spend, where and how you want the book distributed, how you want to treat your copyright permissions, and what kind of backend reporting system you want.

I’m not going to list the various features of each of the above platforms (that’s what those “Best Of” articles are for). What I will do is tell you why I chose the platforms I did.

I wanted a solution that was low-cost with wide distribution while also keeping control of my own copyright, and, out of all of the available options, I found IngramSpark and Vervante to be the platforms most suited to my needs.



IngramSpark is a branch of Ingram Content Group, a subsidiary of Ingram Industries which is a Tennessee-based manufacturing company. The Content Group is a service provider to the book publishing industry in particular, and has the industry’s largest active book inventory with access to 7.5 million titles.

For printed titles, their warehouses distribute to bookstores and libraries throughout the US, but they also operate print-on-demand facilities in Tennessee, Ohio, California, United Kingdom, France, and Australia. This is in addition to the digital distribution of ebook titles to independent bookstores, libraries, and third party retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, and more.

If you choose to upload your book to the IngramSpark platform, it can be distributed via any of the above channels and is free to upload. You are given 60 days to make any edits to your files. After that time frame has expired, it costs $49 to submit changes.

They also allow an option to retain full control of your copyright permissions. You just need to buy your own ISBN (International Standard Book Number) through Bowker instead of using their free ISBN offer. 

In terms of backend reporting, there are dynamic charts that show you where your books were sold, what format was sold (hardback, paperback, or ebook), and how many. Your dashboard automatically tracks your account’s bestsellers and you can even see where your titles rank in their overall catalog per genre.

They will also process all of the exchange rates for you. Say that your book sells five hardback copies in France, for example. The platform will gather the sales money for you, exchange it into US dollars (or whatever currency you choose), subtract the third party retailer processing fees (if any), and then direct deposit the net profit to your bank account.

The only downside is that it takes three months from the date of purchase for the income to be deposited into your accounts because of all the tracking that needs to be done behind the scenes. 

If a sale comes from the Barnes & Noble website in Germany, Barnes & Noble will get the physical book printed through the France-based printer and ship it to the customer internationally. Then, Barnes & Noble will need to take their percentage off the top of the sale, pass on the rest to Ingram, who will then take their own percentage before depositing the remaining funds into your account.

(Keep in mind, though, that you will probably still get a higher net income from this particular sale than if you went through a traditional publisher.)

By using IngramSpark, my novel was ranked at #81 out of all Fantasy Romance Fiction titles in their database 15 days after launching and sold in six different countries within three months.

They also have a diverse array of supporter services like marketing, editing, formatting, book covers, and more, so I usually recommend them to writers who are looking for a comprehensive self-publishing option.



If you’re looking for a print-on-demand company that offers support for products that go beyond the usual paperback, hardback, or ebook formats, however, I would like to introduce you to Vervante.

Vervante is a women-owned printer located in Utah, USA and offers both warehousing and print-on-demand services for books, journals, planners, workbooks, card decks, and binders.

This is a super valuable service because Amazon and other third party retailers often put restrictions on books that have over 10% blank space per page (on average). This applies to journals, planners, and/or workbooks that provide room for notes, exercises, activities, journaling, etc.

They offer hardback, paperback, poly paper, and plastic overlay cover options as well as spiral bound formats with metal or plastic. They also provide optional additions like interior cover pockets, page tabs, ribbon page markers, foil stamped covers, elastic straps, metal corners, stickers, and perforated sheets.

Once you upload your files to their website, you can choose between listing your product page in their digital bookstore, listing your product page on Amazon, ordering bulk and shipping the products yourself, ordering bulk and having them fulfill orders from their warehouse, or any combination of the above.

This is where I get all of my journals and planners printed, and I’ve chosen to list the product pages in both their digital bookstore as well as on Amazon. This way, I don’t have to worry about inventory management. Each sale goes directly to them and they will then ship it to the customer.

Unfortunately, their backend reporting systems are a bit antiquated but, if you dig far enough, you can find statements on each order that comes in, what fees were paid, and the customer’s contact information.

The customer information is super helpful in building your email lists and allowing you to follow up with them after the sale (something Amazon doesn’t allow) for things like reviews, surveys, and general feedback.

You also get to retain full copyright permissions for your titles, which not all publishing platforms allow. If you choose to take the traditional publishing route later on, for example, there are no copyright issues to navigate if you printed through Vervante previously.

Both IngramSpark and Vervante are the options I most often recommend to other writers, even if they have previously published their books through other platforms. They give you more control over the whole process and can be much more transparent in what fees, stipulations, and restrictions are involved.

But let me know what you think! Everyone has their own preferences and other platforms may work better for different writers. For example, I know a writer who lives in Mexico and they aren’t even offered access to IngramSpark because the company has chosen not to service that country. Moral of the story: you have to choose the best option for you and your books.