Let’s be honest, precious little is actually “free” in our world today. So before we begin the conversation about how to publish your book for free, let me be clear, there are some things you’ll need before you start:
#1 Internet Acess
While internet access is fairly easily attained it is a necessity for publishing your book. If you don’t have it at home there are plenty of places to obtain internet access such as libraries, restaurants, bookstores and my favorite: cafes!
#2 A Smart Phone
Most of us have smart phones in this day and age so that resource may already be available to you. If it is, great! You’re ready to get going! If not, that’s okay too. As long as you have access to a laptop or desk top computer with internet access you will be fine. If you need to use the tech provided at the library, no worries. I’ll be outlining some resources you’ll be using to publish for free that are portable or housed on-line.
Okay, so you know where you’ll be accessing the internet and what tools you will use to produce with whether it be a smart phone, laptop, desktop or tablet. With those two things figured out, we’re ready to move on:
I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t know, but Googledocs is great for drafting because you can add to your document at anytime, from anywhere. For instance, I’m sitting in the doctor’s office frantically typing this on my iPad in Googledocs. Thank you, Google!
I draft in Googledocs and because I am a creature of habit, I format in Word so I use my MacBook for that. But I wouldn’t have to if I would take more time to learn all of the wonderful things Googledocs has to offer.
Another fantastic feature I use is the “sharing” option. I’ll say more about this later. It will be very important when we talk about editing.
Friends who are willing make great advance readers or editors if you have not budget for an edit. I understand, there may be some other independent publishers out there who would disagree, but, if you have no money, finding a friend who is a teacher or an ace in English class can be a wonderful resource to aid you in your editing and/or critique process.
Canva is a free online resource. You can download the Canva app on your phone or go to Canva.com from your desktop/laptop and create there. It is the perfect tool for designing a cover for your book.
Now, if you are NOT a graphic designer it’s very important you utilize your friend supports on this. Another idea is to seek out a design professor at a nearby college or talk to a friend majoring in graphic design who might offer free advice on your cover. But get eyes on that cover before you decide to publish.
There is grace even in this decision though, because you can always publish a second edition of your book with a brand new cover later.
Check out Canva at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/canva-graphic-design-creator/id897446215?mt=8
KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. This is Amazon’s publishing branch. When you have your document edited and designed it’s time to set up your KDP account. KDP will give you specific instructions on how to format your document before you upload it. But once that document is formatted and uploaded along with your cover, all that’s left is to push “publish”! (Oh what fun!)
KDP is a print-on-demand (POD) publisher. They will not print one book (except a proof) until there has been a purchase made. Once the purchase is made, the book is printed and shipped direct to the buyer. Sweet!
And you, my friend, have just written, edited, designed and published your book for free!
You may have some questions or concerns.
For instance, what about ISBN’s? Don’t I have to buy my own ISBN?
The quick answer is no, you don’t have to buy your own ISBN.
However, there’s more to that story…
To make a long story short, if you publish through KDP they will give you an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). However, the identified publisher will be KDP, not you and this means you cannot publish your book on any other platform such as Ingram Spark, Draft to Digital, etc.
All is not lost if you have no money for your own ISBN (and they are NOT cheap!). Once again you have grace here because there is always the possibility of publishing a second edition of your book with that brand new cover, a few edits and your own ISBN.
Check out this article put out by ALLI for the whole story on ISBN’s: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/isbns-for-self-published-books/
Bonus Tip #1
Props to Christopher Downing and his interview on The Creative Penn podcast for this first bonus tip-an idea for marketing your next book for free! (If you want to write full time there should always be a “next book”!)
You can market that next book for free by creating content in the back of your first book that promotes your upcoming release. You could include the synopsis, book cover design, title or a free first chapter. Be sure to highlight where your readers can find you on social media.
Bonus Tip #1 ½
If you are not listening to The Creative Penn podcast: go listen!
You can get all the information and resources at www.thecreativepenn.com as well!
Bonus Tip #2
This may seem like a no-brained, but, be active on social media. You don’t have to be consistently active on all the sites but have accounts on all the sites and then pick one to be great at. Choose a social media site that best suits you and use that space for interacting with your readers.
I hope you found these tips and ideas helpful and even inspiring toward making your dream of publishing come true!
If you have any comments or questions for me, please feel free to contact me at sarahfenlonfalk.com or find me on Facebook @sarahfenlonfalk.