How To Publish A Book For Free: Empowering 7 Step Guide

Posted on Apr 26, 2023

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Written by Sarah Rexford

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Did you know that it’s possible to publish a book for free? If you want to be a writer and put your book out into the world, you can do so. In this article, I show you how to publish a book for free and take you through the seven crucial steps to do so. Let’s get straight into it!

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Publish A Book For Free: Your Guide

If you want to publish a book for free but you’re not sure where to start, it’s time to lay the foundations. Once you have a strong foundation you can quickly move through the publishing process and share your book with whoever you want to. 

#1 – Pinpoint Your Idea

Just as coming up with a great idea is your first step for self-publishing or traditional publishing, the same is true when you decide to publish a book for free. In order to put your book into the world, you must first settle on your idea. Ask yourself the following: 

  • Do I want to write fiction or nonfiction?
  • What themes inspire me? 
  • Who is my target audience?

Once you pinpoint your idea it’s time to get to work on your first draft. 

#2 – Write Your Rough Draft

Whether you are the type of writer who plots their book prior to writing it or begins writing without knowing how your story ends, completing your rough draft is a must.

Set a nonnegotiable deadline for yourself and make sure you finish your daily word count goals. Some days you may not feel inspired to write, but when you create daily writing habits you set yourself up for success. 

#3 – Edit Your Manuscript 

Now that you have your rough draft finished it’s time to jump into edits. Since you are publishing your book for free you get to act as your own editor. This means you should edit your book multiple times, spending each edit focused on one of the following:

  • Developmental Edit
  • Structural Edit
  • Substantive (or content editing)
  • Line Edit
  • Copyediting 

Each stage of the editing process focuses on different aspects of your book. This helps you (hopefully!) lessen the chance of becoming overwhelmed during this stage of publishing. 

#4 – Design Your Book

Once your book is edited it’s time to create your cover design, back cover, and the spine of your book. If you don’t feel particularly talented in graphic design, try using a template to help you get started. Canva is a great place to look and offers a free version. 

Remember that when you publish a book for free, you still should include:

  • Front cover: The title and your name
  • Spine: Book title
  • Back: A brief synopsis, your author bio, and likely your headshot 

Have fun with this part and don’t worry if it takes several designs to find the perfect one for you!   

#5 – Settle On Your Platform Of Choice, Then Format

When you finish editing your manuscript and designing your cover your next big step awaits. What platform will you use to publish your book? Once you choose your platform, format your manuscript according to the platform’s guidelines. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Table of contents
  • Chapter headers
  • Margins
  • Footnotes or endnotes 
  • Page breaks 

Be extra cautious with this part. You want to showcase your hard work with proper, industry standard formatting!

#6 – Market Your Project

When you choose your platform and upload your book (or order print copies), you must market in order to bring in readers and start buzz around your book. You can market through creating a launch team, running giveaways, encouraging preorders, appearing as a guest on podcasts, guest blogging, or even booking a television appearance. 

Make sure you begin planning your marketing campaign in advance so that you can make the most of your efforts on your release day.

#7 – Celebrate Your Success

Now your book is out in the world. You did it. Congratulations! This is a monumental achievement and it’s important to recognize it as such. 

You put in so much effort, time, and energy. In fact, when you publish a book for free you single handedly take on the role of: Writer, editor, publisher, graphic designer, and marketer. Which brings us to the question: Should you publish your book for free?

The Pros And Cons When You Publish A Book For Free

There are many pros when you choose to publish a book for free. After all, you maintain full creative liberties and every last detail comes down to your choice and how you want to publish your book.

But at the same time, writers are often writers because they love writing…not because they are passionate about graphic design, marketing, or want to stand in as their own literary agent. Some of the cons that pop up when you choose to publish a book for free are as follows:

  • Stretching yourself too thin 
  • Trying your hand at tasks you aren’t trained in
  • A lack of feedback 

How do you find the line between the pros and cons? If you want to publish a book for free, is it worth it? Or is the risk too high? 

Choose The Best Option For You

When you must choose whether you not you should publish a book for free, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Are my ideas strong or could I benefit from the insight of a publisher? 
  • Is my writing up to industry standard or should I hire a professional editor? 
  • Do I have the time and/or ability to design and format a quality book? 
  • Is marketing an area I thrive in or do I need some assistance? 

If you feel confident that you can succeed alone in the above areas, you’re ready to publish your book for free! If you feel a bit unsure in certain aspects, you may want to consider self-publishing, a hybrid between traditional publishing and publishing a book for free. 

And lastly, if you just want to be responsible for writing your book, a small bit of marketing, and are willing to put much of your creative freedom into the hands of professionals, traditional publishing is likely for you. 

Lead Your Project And Receive The Encouragement Of A Team

While it is possible to publish a book for free, taking all the risk, creative ideation, formatting, brainstorming, marketing, etc., on yourself is likely not the best choice for most writers. So while it is possible to do so, it is not advised. Instead, consider the following option: 

  • Taking the lead in your project, creative ideas, final decisions, and time frame to publication 
  • Surround yourself with a team as passionate about books as you are 

This is where Self-Publishing School comes in. If you’re eager to get your book into the world (and want to accomplish your goal in as little as 90 days) and could benefit from a team helping you along the way, consider partnering with us to do so.

With our CEO landing on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, we have the credibility and experience to help you reach your publishing dream. We’d love the privilege of helping you publish your first book and letting you have the final say in the creative details!

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Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.
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