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How to Get Your Book Published Online for Free

by Carol Wilson

For some writers, putting a good plot, great dialogue and strong character development to paper is the easy part—the huge battle is actually getting their book published. If you have recently finished your book but are struggling finding a publisher to get your work out in the public, you may still be able to your book in the hands of millions of readers. How?

Use of the Three Most Popular Self-Publishing Electronic Companies-Kindle Direct Publishing, PubIt, and Lulu

While all three are different, they serve the same purpose—to get you the exposure you need through an electronic, digital medium. And did we mention the services are absolutely free? That’s right. All three offer free registration and you will still get all of the royalties you earn. You just need to make sure that you investigate all three options carefully since each venue caters to a distinct audience (and once you choose a publisher you must stick with it). That said, to learn a little more about each self-publishing e-agency, continue reading.


1. KindleDirect Publishing

If you choose to use this self-publishing service, your digital book will be available to Amazon Kindle users. And with more than 17.5 million Kindles sold just this year (and a predicted 26 million to be sold in 2012) this is certainly a great option to pursue. Ideally you may also be able to reach iPad and other tablet users if they download the Amazon Kindle app to their devices. Like the other self-publishing companies listed below, Kindle Direct Publishing allows writers to personally set a distinctive price for which their book will be sold for. However, writers can only participate in a 35% or 70% royalty program and the set price must fit accordingly.

2. Pub it

This self-publishing outlet is distributed by Barnes and Nobles and is especially designed to reach Nook users (Barnes and Noble’s very own e-reader). It’s pretty easy to use and self-explanatory: all you need to do is make an account, upload your work in the proper format, submit your cover art and then determine a price. The publishing company also helps you make more sales since it gives you the power to choose what keywords will help readers locate your material.

3. Lulu

Lastly, Lulu (while similar in format) is a great option to consider because it more or less allows you to reach just about everyone (Kindle, Nook and iPad users). But of course readers must be an active member of the Lulu community before they can download a book— and since the site isn’t as popular as the Kindle market or the Nook, it can either be a hit or miss. What makes this option neat however is that users have the option of purchasing e-books or pdf versions of the book.

This guest post is from from Carol Wilson who writes for business insurance. She contributes articles about a variety of marketing, business, stock market, small business topics. She can be contacted at wilson.carol24 @

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About the Author, Judy Cullins

Book and Blog Coach Judy Cullins helps you gain confidence and transform your ideas into life-long money-making content. Author of 14 books for business people and authors include “Write your eBook or Other Short Book–Fast!”Judy offers free, up-to-the minute weekly publications on book and blog writing and online marketing at

*You are welcome to reprint this article provided the above bio is included.

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  • Ron Katz

    Judy, Most of your tips are 100% on target but I cannot disagree more with recommending Lulu to anyone. My experience with them was as frustrating as one could imagine and I have since heard from others who attempted to self-publish with Lulu. Their customer service is non-existent, their pricing mysterious, and their site near incomprehensible. I wasted time and money trying to publish with Lulu and then switched to CreateSpace, which I endorse wholeheartedly.
    Only the best,

  • KAy

    What about Smashwords?

  • Judy Cullins

    Ron, this is a guest post. I too do not like Lulu. Thanks sor much for your comment!

  • Rebecca

    Wait a minute…now I’m confused, Judy. I’ve already published an eBook on Kindle and Nook, both pretty easy to do. I hadn’t thought of using Lulu until I saw your post. So why not add it to Lulu? I tooled around the site and it looked reasonably self-explanatory and it adds another channel of distribution. Please provide some more concrete discussion on the subject of the mechanics of getting the ebook on Lulu and then selling there successfully (as I don’t need for them to do other distribution or serve as a POD source.)

  • Anastasia V. Pergakis

    I heard that Lulu charges 60% fee when distributing to Amazon – or is it Amazon takes 60% if you use Lulu? Either way, it seems like a lot. CreateSpace, another popular one, charges 40% with Amazon. LightingSource however, is the best I have found so far, with Amazon only charging 20%.

  • Lisa

    I am with Kay! :-) I have heard excellent things about Smashwords, and while I realize this is a guest post, I hope either of you could respond! :-)

  • Diane Ziomek

    I publish with Lulu, and although the earnings aren’t great I do not have to order more print copies than I need. I have found the shipping to be most expensive with them. I do make more per book when a digital copy is ordered, but I also haven’t priced my books outrageously either. I will publish with Lulu again, and will make more per copy next time around as the retail price of the book itself will be slightly higher. The page count is higher than the first so I can justify charging more for the book.

    As far as the actual publishing process, I didn’t have any trouble. The book quality is wonderful, but keep in mind the author has to do all of the pages including the Copyright. I have had a couple questions for them and have always been answered in a timely manner. The best part is they accept PayPal as payment (CreateSpace requires a credit card – or they did when I first enquired with them) and have options which range from free to hundreds of dollars. I chose the free publishing tool as I prefer to have complete control over my books.

    I think it is personal preference, and just because one person has a bad experience it doesn’t mean everyone will. So many publishing companies are out to get an author’s money and as many know, that in itself is a very limited commodity when first starting out.

  • Judy Cullins

    Thanks Diane for your comment. Glad you didn’t have problems with cusomer service. All of the choices are up to us individually, but I would do a PDF eBook first, offer it at your site, then promote it like crazy for 2 years and see if it’s worth it to go other directions.

    What’s your title of book wih Lulu?

  • Tayo K. Solagbade

    Hi Judy. Sorry this is a bit long winded, but I feel compelled to say this much.

    I found your website through your EXCELLENT LinkedIn profile. Must say I’m glad Diane added her own "story" to the above responses, because Lulu (who I happen to publish with) was getting quite a bashing from others :-)

    I’m from a different part of the world, but Lulu’s services helped me get my first book published in physical form, after the prohibitive fees of traditional publishing companies scared me away from them.

    I decided to post THIS comment when I read your great suggestion that authors… "do a PDF eBook first, offer it at your site, then promote it like crazy for 2 years and see if it’s worth it to go other directions."

    That’s kind of what I did, though I did not exactly plan it. But AFTER getting published, I reflected on it, and realised the benefits that’d accrued to me, from going that route. You see, my first book which I call the "Self-Development Bible" (Actual title: Ten Ways You Can Use Self-Development To Create The Future You Want) was written based on a ONE HOUR talk I gave on demand in various organisations, over a 9 month period. After a while, I converted it to a Ten Week Email course delivered via Getresponse’s scheduled autoresponder service.

    The response from subsribers was great. But it NEVER occurred to me that I could make it a book, until 2 of those who’d signed up, asked if they could get the WHOLE course as a full book ,rather than wait for each week’s message. That was when it struck me that I could publish it as a complete book!

    After failing to find a brick and mortar publisher whose fees I could afford, I went online and discovered’s book publishing service. Few months after setting up my store at Cafepress, I discovered and felt it would be better to MOVE to their platform.

    I’ve told many who have contacted me out here about getting their own books into print using the method I used, to adopt a similar strategy. Sadly, many did NOT like my suggestion. For me, it’s the smart thing to do – saves you MONEY, and also gives you better insight.

    Incidentally, I now offer a service in my country, helping authors and those aspiring adopt Print On Demand Publishing. But it’s just on the side, and rarely have time to promote it. See details at Once I’m done with this post, I’m going to send the URL for this page on your site, to those I mentioned above, so they read your comments and re-consider.

    Finally, I must admit I’ve not really put much concerted effort into promoting my books (e.g. the Self-Development Bible and others at My main strategy has been to depending mainly on periodically including a link to my bookstore, in my article marketing byline at With what I’ve read on your website and LinkedIn profile, I now realise there’s a lot MORE I can do.

    You can expect to see more of me here, and at


  • tksolagbade

    Hi again Judy.

    This is a quick note to say I’ve just shared a link to a story about Amanda Hockings, who has apparently used what effectively amounts to the strategy you proposed, to become a best-selling author (ebooks)! – "after trying over fifty publishers, receiving only rejections. "

    Recall you wrote : "do a PDF eBook first, offer it at your site, then promote it like crazy for 2 years and see if it’s worth it to go other directions."

    Well, Amanda did just that and now, apart from great financial earnings, Amanda’s efforts have already earned her many other rewards, including a detailed "citation" at

    Here’s the FULL story I read:

    So I guess it’s safe to say that YOUR proposed strategy is a tested and proven way to go.Think about it, she’s achieved sales in MILLIONS, just from selling her stories as ebooks ALONE!

  • Tiah

    Are you allowed to publish the same book on 2 different sites? Such as nook and kindle?

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