The short answer to the question “how to publish a book for free” is to self publish it. There are various platforms on the internet that allow you to do just this. They make money by taking a commission when you make a sale. But until that happens, no money changes hands. Here are some tips on publishing your newly written book.
1. Proof read your book
Traditional publishers have a process that they follow before they publish a book. Part of this process involves proof reading to reduce the number of spelling and other errors that exist in near enough any manuscript.
Just because your book is being published electronically doesn’t excuse you from carrying out this important step.
If you don’t proof read your new book, you run the risk of getting bad reviews which will affect future sales.
You don’t need to hire a professional proof reader – just leave at least a few days between finishing your book and reading it through yourself, ideally out loud.
2. Create your own cover
You’ve probably got a piece of image editing software. If not, there are programs like GIMP that you can download and use for free.
You will need a royalty free image – books without a picture on the cover look boring and won’t attract many sales. Don’t just grab something from Google images as a lot of these are subject to copyright and even the ones that Google claims are available for commercial use have restrictions such as linking back to the original creator which is difficult to do in outlets such as Amazon.
Instead hunt around for a royalty free image site and choose a photo or drawing that has no restrictions on its use. There are lots of these around and it will just take a bit of time to choose the best one for your new book.
3. Write a good description
Whilst we definitely do judge a book by its cover, the next thing we will read or at least skim is the description.
A traditional publishing house will spend time and money on getting this right. It’s part of the pre-sale process.
Outline the plot or subject matter of your book. Use other similar books in your market to get ideas of what should be included but obviously don’t plagiarize them.
Use your description as the advertisement for your new book, remembering that humans will be reading it as well as the search engines who will index the words you use.
4. Make use of free publishing outlets
Whilst Amazon is the largest self publishing house in the world, it is by no means the only one in existence.
If you don’t sign up for their Select program then you are allowed to publish your book electronically with other outlets as well. One of the best of these is Smashwords who will help get your book published for the iPhone, Nook, Kobo and lots of other devices. Like Amazon, they make their money by charging a commission when you make a sale but not before.
5. Go to print
It’s not just electronic publishers that will allow you to publish your book for free. Some of the print-on-demand publishers such as CreateSpace won’t charge you when you publish your book with them. Instead, you will get your own ISBN number for free and typically a limited but still useful distribution for your newly published book without spending a penny.
So you can become a published author of a real book that could actually sit on someone’s bookshelf without spending anything apart from your time writing it.