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You’ve embarked on the road of self-publishing. Whether you’re in the process of writing or finalizing your manuscript, you ask yourself: “where can I get my book published for free?” Well, what we love about being an indie is just how accessible it is to publish online.
Here are the 8 best free self-publishing sites to know in 2023.
But First, Things to Do before Using Free Publishing Companies
I want to make sure you’re aware of everything you need to publish properly. (Feel free to skip this section if you’re already in the know.) The journey is quite simple:
The first step is self-explanatory. If it’s your first time writing a book, there are a ton of resources you can tap into. Read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Check out these lectures by Brandon Sanderson. Or learn from bestselling books in your desired genre.
After completing your first draft, you want to edit the heck out of it. I strongly recommend hiring a professional editor. You can also ask your network, look for beta readers, or do a swap with another writer.
Every book needs a cover design. I suggest outsourcing this work to a professional, too. Find a designer on sites like Upwork or Fiverr. But if you’re under a budget, try out Canva. It’s a free tool for folks with no design skills. And do brush up on how to create a book cover for free.
Using free book publishing sites involves uploading files in the right formats. The exact requirements differ depending on the store you pick, plus the book format you wish to publish: ebook, audio, or print. Generally, you’ll need your 1) cover file and 2) main manuscript file formatted correctly. See these guides on how to format an ebook, how to create an audiobook, and how to print-on-demand.
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(Important note: don’t forget to develop a marketing plan. See these cost-effective tips on how to market a self-published book.)
After taking care of the basics, you’re ready to self-publish with any of these free book publishing companies. ⬇
Voilà, 8 Best Free Self-Publishing Sites to Know in 2023
Without further ado, the rundown –
1. Amazon KDP
If you’re familiar with the topic of self-publishing, then you know Amazon KDP is THE place to publish as an indie author or publisher. That’s because the online retailer captures at least half of the digital book market. Out of all the free ebook publishing sites out there, KDP is king.
Amazon also has KDP Select, but this one requires an exclusivity period. That means for the first 90 days your ebook is up on Amazon, you can’t sell it anywhere else. This can limit your earning potential. Let me share why…
Self-publishing indies don’t have the backings nor the budget that comes from a traditional publishing house or agency. To get noticed, marketing becomes significant. Another way to maximize reach – therefore selling potential – is by distributing in as many stores, countries, and formats as possible. This is called “going wide.”
And this strategy works. Tens of thousands of indies doubled their book sales in 2021 by going wide via PublishDrive. Remember, half of the digital book sales come from Amazon; don’t miss out on the other half of the pie.
Maybe you’re okay with starting out with KDP Select. You can definitely go wide and try other free publishing sites after your 90-day period. But if maximizing three months’ worth of royalties sounds vital for you, go wide from the get-go. This brings me to –
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PublishDrive is an aggregator site, meaning they distribute to multiple spaces. The platform reaches all major channels in this list, such as Amazon, plus thousands more. As I mentioned above, indies on PublishDrive doubled their book sales last year (despite the pandemic). So, if you were wondering how to start publishing a book for free and reach a global audience, here’s the answer.
They have a great free trial so you can test how simple their system is for reaching readers around the world.You could go wide by setting up and managing your book through individual sites, but why not use a single platform that does it all for you? Here’s what else:
3. Barnes & Noble Press
The other half of the book market not occupied by Amazon KDP includes Barnes & Noble, where you can enjoy free publishing. In fact, Barnes & Noble is the main competitor of KDP. The renowned bookstore reaches millions of readers on its book site BN.com and e-reader NOOK.
“If you’re interested in selling print books, Barnes and Noble has one of the best services when it comes to the quality and printing options available.”
See this guide to learn about Barnes and Noble self-publishing.
4. Apple Books
That’s right, you can list your book on Apple Books for free. With the app pre-installed on every Apple device, that’s a pool of over a billion users all over the world.
Ooh, get this. PublishDrive can recommend your book to Apple’s editorial team for a promotional feature (with a 90% approval rate). Learn more about PublishDrive’s book promotion services.
5. Google Play Books
The Google Play Books app is pre-installed on every Android device. And it’s Google, the largest search engine that has ever existed.
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How to get a book published for free and get noticed fast? Go with Google Play Books. Creating a dedicated books page under Google can help you rank higher in organic searches and boost your online advertising efforts. Read more on how to sell books on Google.
IngramSpark is among the self-publishing websites perfect for those interested in distributing print books. Ebook is available, too. But Ingram super specializes in print-on-demand, reaching over 39,000 channels.
“Print-on-demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process that prints a book only when an order is made. This became a game-changer for indies (especially small and medium-sized publishers), where you no longer have to print a ton of books in advance. It lets you list your book online without having prints in stock. This not only gets rid of the logistics hassle, but it saves money too.”
Read more about print-on-demand distribution with Ingram.
7. Kobo Writing Life
Heard of Walmart? Kobo can get your self-published book on Walmart’s website. In case you haven’t heard of Walmart, it’s one of the largest retail stores in the U.S. Along with the infamous Walmart, Kobo reaches other prominent stores around the globe.
“Dreame is the newest reading service on the block. The niche reading app from Southeast Asia was in fact PublishDrive’s #1 store with the most growth in 2020. Indies made a whopping 92,441% more royalties.”
See this guide on how to self-publish on Dreame.
There you have it. Here are the best places where you can publish a book for free. If you can, go wide!