Thursday, February 25, 2010

How Do I Get My Book Published for Free?

It’s possibly the most common question I get by e-mail from my Blog viewers, “How do I publish my book for free?” My answer; it can be done.

The odds of being picked up by a traditional publisher are slim; especially for the first-time author. This is likely the reason more than 80 percent of books are self-published. Most of these new self-published authors spend much more money on their book publishing than necessary. Companies such as Authorhouse or Outskirts Press charge a minimum of $200.00 for their basic services. This amount excludes some of the most important services such as editing, layout, and cover design; all “over-priced” additional fees. I’ve spoken to some new authors who invested over $10,000.00 to publish their first book. If you look at these company Websites you will see this is not even close to the most expensive package they offer. Visiting these self-publishing Websites can make a new author believe it is necessary to spend this much to release a successful book-not true.

If you are looking to publish your first book, or if you overspent your budget on your first book and are looking for a better avenue for your next, there are some free self-publishing options available to you. But remember, there will always be those unavoidable “extras” with any book publishing project. You do not want to skimp on things like page layout, cover design, and editing, and editing, and editing!!! A poorly designed book will get poor reviews and most likely WILL NOT SELL!

In my book, A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story, I cover the proper way to layout your pages as well as itemizing the necessary components for your particular book. I strongly suggest if this will be your first book project or you have minimal success with your first release, you order this book and do it the right way from the start. Everything needed from start to finish to complete your book the right way and publish a professional looking piece of literature is covered in the book as an easy-to-follow guide.

In reference to editing your manuscript, do not do-it-yourself unless you are at a minimum, an English major with a Master’s Degree. Even then, I previously read one manuscript self-edited by a writer with such a degree and found numerous typos which made the script hard to read.

If you must, and only if you must, follow these guidelines to get the best you can from your editing efforts;

*Use your spell check program.
*Read your script out loud at least 3 times looking for mistakes.
*Check for the same words repeated to closely and use Thesaurus to find other word options.
*Ask at least three non-bias friends to read your manuscript to help find your mistakes.
*Read it, read it, and read it more!

There are a few “truly” free book publishers available. Again, your book must be ready-to-publish before you attempt to submit to these sites. Otherwise, your final product may not present professionally at all. One of the best I’ve heard of (from authors who have used it) is by Amazon. It’s fairly easy and the only requirement is you must buy one of your own books. Your book is also listed on automatically and the ISBN is free.

Another with fair reviews by users is However, with LuLu you still will need to submit your book to other bookseller sites such as unless you purchase their distribution package (no longer free).

Publish America will accept most manuscripts for publishing and will do the basic editing and cover design for you free. However, I caution you to accept their cover designs as most of the ones I’ve seen are horrific. You can design your own and submit it to them for approval.

In this post, I may be coming on as if book publishing is free and easy—it’s not. More than 90 percent of the books I used to review (quit because of this issue), were unprofessional, unedited, or just plain poorly written. Books such as these are not enjoyable to read. This may be why I feel so strongly about writers doing it correctly the first time. It’s your dream—don’t disappoint yourself. Be proud of your finished book! Learn the right process and professional way to write and publish your story before you leap in.

A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story is available through and direct from the author at Authors Box Bookstore.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the excellent advice. Right now I'm seeking a professional editor at reasonble cost.

Joanne Olivieri said...

An editor is crucial. I remember when self publishing my poetry chapbook I must have read the manuscript at least half a dozen times only to find a few mistakes on the finished product. So, yes, spend money on an editor, it is very important.

M. J. Macie said...

Great article! I realize I need an expert opinion and criticism of my work to make sure it is the best it can be. I'm asking others to submit their opening lines to my blog to help spark my imagination. I'd love to read yours.

Kristi's Book Nook said...

This is really great information. Thanks for sharing.

Carlene Rae Dater said...

Hi Carol, Excellent post, however, PLEASE do not recommend PA! They have a terrible reputation. Just check either www.preditors& or a LONG thread on re: PA. I won't go into it here but buyer beware!

Suzanne Lieurance said...

Interesting article. I'd like to read your book.

For self-published authors, the cost of publishing is not the only - or necessarily the MAJOR - concern to have when publishing a book, though. Yet, too often, this is the one thing first time authors focus on above all else.

Carol said...

Thanks for all your wonderful comments!!!

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

This post is so helpful. Just wish I had known all this BEFORE I used Outskirts Press. If I knew then what I know now, I certainly would have done things differently.

Unknown said...
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Lee Pletzers said...

Just repeating what Carlene said: PLEASE do not recommend PA! They have a terrible reputation. Just check either www.preditors& or a LONG thread on re: PA.

Yvonne McCalla Sobers said...

I have just had a non-fiction work published by Random House, and I will be happy to share that experience here. I have not (yet) self-published, but one of the best pieces of advice I had was to market my book as if it were self-published. To that, I would now add that the author needs to edit her book as if she were self-published as well.

As a result of our experiences, my co-author and I are now setting up a service to help authors edit their material. We also think we can offer advice on marketing in a world where the "rules" change so fast that traditional marketers and publicists may well be left behind.