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How to Publish a Book for Free on Self-Publishing Platforms

Julia McCoy
Wednesday, 17th Apr 2024

Your writing journey has been intense — obsessing over details and refining words tirelessly. But then you hit a wall: your budget for conventional publication is now running low.

Fear not, aspiring author! Did you know that you could actually publish a book for free?

With the rise of self-publishing platforms and online tools, you can now bring your literary dreams to life without breaking the bank.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to publish a book for free. From polishing your manuscript to designing a captivating cover and distributing your book to eager readers, we’ve got you covered.

Table Of Contents:

What Is Self-Publishing and How Does It Work?

Self-publishing has revolutionized the publishing industry, giving authors the power to bring their books to life without the need for traditional publishing houses. It’s a process that puts you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to maintain creative control and reap the rewards of your hard work.

One of the biggest advantages of self-publishing is cost.

Self-publishing can be cheaper upfront compared to traditional publishing sites because you have more control over the process and don’t have to pay for services like printing, distribution, and marketing.

However, it’s essential to consider the costs associated with self-publishing, such as editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing, which you may need to pay for yourself unless you have the skills to do it all on your own.

Ultimately, the cost-effectiveness of self-publishing versus traditional publishing depends on various factors, including your goals, budget, and willingness to take on the responsibilities of self-promotion and distribution.

Top Free Self-Publishing Platforms to Publish Your Book

There are several popular self-publishing platforms out there, each with its own unique features and benefits. These platforms make it easy to upload your book, set your price, and start selling. They also offer tools and resources to help you navigate the self-publishing world, from formatting guides to marketing tips.

Here are some of the top free options to consider:

1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

If you’re looking to publish an ebook, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a great place to start. It’s user-friendly, has a huge potential audience (hello, Amazon shoppers.), and offers royalties of up to 70%.

Plus, it’s completely free to use.

KDP is also offering an exclusive program called KDP Select. If you enroll your book, you’ll get access to extra promotional tools and the ability to offer your book for free for a limited time.

But you’ll also be locked into a 90-day exclusivity period where you can’t sell your book anywhere else. So weigh your options carefully.

how to publish a book for free on Amazon KDP

2. Lulu

Lulu is another popular choice for self-publishing, especially if you’re looking to create a print book. They offer a wide range of printing options, from paperbacks to hardcovers, and you can even create photo books and calendars.

One of the best things about Lulu is that you only pay for the copies you actually sell. There are no upfront costs or inventory to worry about.

And if you just want to print a copy for yourself or a few friends, you can do that too.

how to publish a book for free on Lulu

3. Smashwords

Smashwords is an ebook distributor that makes it easy to get your book into multiple online retailers, including Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo. They also have their own online store where readers can buy directly.

What’s great about Smashwords is that they offer free ISBNs (the unique identifier assigned to each book) and they don’t charge any upfront fees. They do take a small percentage of each sale, but that’s standard for most distributors.

how to publish a book for free on Smashwords

4. Draft2Digital

Like Smashwords, Draft2Digital is an ebook distributor that helps you get your book into multiple online stores. They have a user-friendly interface and offer free formatting tools to make sure your book looks great on any device.

One unique feature of Draft2Digital is that they offer the ability to create author pages on various retailer sites, which can help readers find your other books more easily.

They also have a referral program where you can earn extra money by referring other authors to their service.

how to publish a book for free on Draft2Digital

5. PublishDrive

PublishDrive is a new player in the self-publishing game, but they’re quickly making a name for themselves. They offer distribution to over 400 online stores worldwide, including some that are hard to reach on your own (like libraries and subscription services).

They also have some unique promotional tools, like the ability to create custom promo codes and run price promotions across multiple retailers at once.

And like most of the other options on this list, they don’t charge any upfront fees — just a percentage of each sale.

how to publish a book for free on PublishDriveSo there you have it — five fantastic options for how to publish a book for free.

Remember, the key is to do your research and find the platform that best fits your needs and goals. And don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things — that’s the beauty of self-publishing.

Marketing and Promoting Your Self-Published Book

Congrats, you’ve self-published your book. But now comes the hard part: getting people to actually read it. Marketing and promotion are crucial if you want your book to succeed, but it can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not a natural-born marketer.

Fear not. There are plenty of ways to get the word out about your book, even if you’re on a tight budget.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Build an Author Platform

One of the best things you can do as an author is to build a platform and connect with your target audience. This might include starting a blog or website, being active on social media, or even starting an email newsletter.

The key is to provide value and engage with your readers. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your writing process, offer exclusive content or sneak peeks, and don’t be afraid to show your personality. People are more likely to buy from authors they know, like, and trust.

Leverage Social Media

Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting your book, but it’s important to use it strategically. Focus on the platforms where your target audience is most active, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube.

Share engaging content that’s related to your book or your writing journey. You might post quotes from your book, share writing tips or inspiration, or even run a giveaway or contest. Just be sure to balance promotion with genuine interaction — no one likes a spammy author.

Reach Out to Book Reviewers and Bloggers

Book reviews and recommendations can go a long way in convincing readers to give your book a chance. Reach out to book bloggers or reviewers who cover books in your genre and offer them a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

You can also look for bloggers or influencers who have a following that overlaps with your target audience. Offer to write a guest post or do an interview to help get your name (and your book) in front of new readers.

Runn Book Promotions and Giveaways

Everyone loves a good deal, and running a promotion or giveaway can be a great way to generate buzz for your book. You might offer your book for free or at a discounted price for a limited time, or run a contest where readers can win a signed copy or other prizes.

Remember, marketing your book is an ongoing process. It takes time and effort to build a fanbase and get your book into the hands of readers. But with a little creativity and persistence, you can create a marketing plan that works for you and your book.

FAQs – How to Publish a Book for Free

Is it possible to publish a book for free?

Absolutely. Use platforms like Amazon KDP or Smashwords to release your work without spending a dime.

What is the cheapest way to publish a book?

Self-publishing digitally costs nothing and gets your words out there fast. Think Kindle or Lulu.

How much does it cost to publish a book?

Publishing can be free, but marketing and design might run you some cash if you want extra polish.

Is it legal to publish your own book?

Totally legal. You hold the rights, so go ahead and share that masterpiece with the world on your terms.


How much does it cost to publish a book? According to Reedsy, independent authors spend between $2,820 and $5,360 to publish a book in 2024.

That’s a lot of money! (Money you might not have if you’re just starting out.)

If you’re looking for ways how to publish your book for free, then self-publishing may just be the path for you. The key to success in self-publishing is a combination of quality content, effective formatting, and strategic marketing.

Take the time to refine your writing, create an eye-catching cover, and leverage the power of social media and online communities to spread the word about your book.

So, what are you waiting for? Start putting these tips into action and watch as your book comes to life. With dedication, perseverance, and a little bit of creativity, you can make your mark in the world of publishing – all without spending a single penny.

Written by Julia McCoy

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