How to Publish a Book for Free

Learn how to publish a book for free. See self-publishing platforms, formatting, cover design, and royalty tips. Get your manuscript ready and go.
How to Publish a Book for Free

When you write a book, odds are you want to publish it.

But why wait years to publish it traditionally through one of the big-name (or small press) publishers? Your time and energy investment return is small unless you’re a JK Rowling or Dan Brown. You must sell millions of copies. And they keep most of the money.

You know, you can keep 70-90% of your book’s revenue if you self-publish. Compare this with traditional publishing royalties:

  • Hardcover: 10-15% of the book’s list price.
  • Paperback: 5-8% of the book’s list price.
  • Ebook: 25% of the net revenue.

For now, I assume you have written or are writing a book. You want it to be successful and earn some money.

I’ll show you how to reach a global audience for free.

There’s lots to do, so let’s get started.

Completing and Formatting Your Manuscript

All the free publishing platforms I’ll show you require your manuscript to be complete and formatted for uploading.

Each platform has its own submission requirements, but there are not many options you have to worry about. The basic file formats you’ll need to deal with are these:

  • DOCX — Microsoft Word format.
  • EPUB — the most common ebook format.
  • PDF — the standard Portable Document Format.

Some platforms will format your manuscript from an uploaded DOCX file.

Others require your manuscript to be pre-formatted for publishing, typically as an EPUB or PDF. Free manuscript formatting tools are available from Kindle Create, Canva, and Reedsy.

Designing a Book Cover

A great book cover is worth the investment

If you’re proud of your book and want it to sell, I recommend that you invest time or money to make your book cover look professional.

While the book’s contents are most important, the first impression anyone will have of your book is the cover. If they don’t like the cover, they might think that they won’t like the book. That’s just human nature.

So, don’t scrimp on the cover. Do it right.

Free Book Publishing Platforms

The following platforms handle taking your manuscript and cover from digital files to ebooks or print.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Kindle represents the largest market for self-published books. It is the most popular publishing platform, and you can format and publish your ebook or print book internationally.

Apple Books for Authors

Apple Books is aimed specifically at Apple users worldwide. Upload your formatted EPUB and cover file to their portal to publish on Apple Books.

Barnes & Noble (B&N) Press

B&N Press helps you format your book interior and cover files. You may choose ebook or print formats. Then, your book is available on

Draft2Digital (D2D)

Aimed at indie authors, D2D distributes to major retailers such as Smashwords, Apple Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and leading library platforms including OverDrive, Hoopla, and the Palace Project.

Google Play Books

Publishing with Google Books puts your book in front of over three billion users. Upload a fully formatted EPUB and select the countries in which you want to sell.


A good choice for print and ebooks is IngramSpark, distributed to over 40,000 retailers and libraries. Submit a fully-formatted EPUB file, and you’re set.

Kobo Writing Life

With Kobo, your book can be available in over 190 countries. You set your own prices and run your own promotions. Kobo publishing is non-exclusive, so you can publish with anyone else you want.

The simplest way to publish your PDF ebook is with Drag and drop your fully-formatted PDF ebook onto Tiiny’s home page, sign in, and your book is live online in seconds. It’s that easy.

Marketing Your Book

Your book will not sell if nobody knows it exists.

Authors must do their own marketing and publicity even with traditional publishing houses. Today’s digital economy demands an effective online presence—known as a “platform” in the publishing world.

While it doesn’t have to be a huge platform, there are few effective alternatives to social media marketing except paid advertising and direct sales. Paid advertising gets costly, and direct sales are time-consuming and difficult.

Social media, email marketing, book groups, and content marketing, such as blog posts and articles, are usually necessary if you want to sell many book copies.

Many authors have their own website. This is a good start. You can encourage your readers to review your book, offer testimonials, and spread the free word-of-mouth advertising that means so much to an author.

Don’t Give Up

Don’t be discouraged if sales are slow at first. Many books take a while to become popular. Overnight success is mostly a myth for the average author, regardless of how good the book is.

The reading public wants to know who you are. You must work to get your name, your personal story, and your book out into circulation. Sure, well-known authors are highly successful. Everyone already knows them and trusts them. But they were unknown at the beginning, too.

Next Steps

You are in control of your book’s destiny.

You write it, you self-publish it, you market it, and you reap the financial rewards.

If you have any questions about this process or about using to host and share your ebook, PDF, or web project, be sure to contact us. Our incredible customer service people are ready to help with just about anything web-related.

Plus, you can publish your PDF ebook for free on if your ebook’s file size is less than 3MB.

Check out our advanced features and plans for larger ebooks, PDFs, or complete author websites.

Visit and publish your book for free today.

FAQ: How to Publish a Book for Free

Is it really possible to publish a book for free?

Yes, many self-publishing platforms offer free publishing services, though they may take a cut of your book sales.

What platforms can I use to publish my book at no cost?

Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, Draft2Digital,, and Apple Books are some platforms that let you publish for free.

Do I need to format my book before submitting it?

Yes, you should format your manuscript according to the platform’s guidelines to ensure the best reading experience.

Can I publish my book on multiple platforms?

Yes, unless you opt into an exclusivity program like KDP Select, which requires exclusivity for eBooks.

How do I handle editing on a tight budget?

Utilize beta readers, writing groups, or AI editing tools to refine your manuscript before publishing.