If you are a new author, you have plenty of choices of free self-publishing companies to publish your book. Some popular options include Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Draft2Digital, and Apple Books.
You can also find a lot of free book publishing software. These tools make it easy to write, edit, format, create a book cover, and publish an ebook today and make it available to the world.
Another great option is to publish a paperback version of your book using print-on-demand services to make it available for readers on retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
With so many free resources and tools available, there’s nothing to stop you from publishing your new book today. And yes, you can do it for free.
17 Free self-publishing companies you can choose
Self-publishing is not only Amazon today.
There are so many more self-publishing services and choices for new authors.
However, you need to be aware that there are not many truly free book publishing companies.
There are many vanity press publishers that charge a lot of money to publish your book.
You need to beware of offers that seem too good to be true.
On top of that, there are also self-publishing services that charge a fee to help you publish your book.
These can sometimes become very expensive, especially if you have to pay a monthly subscription.
For new authors, the best advice is to use reliable and reputable free publishing companies that offer self-publishing with no strings attached.
In my list below, you will find the best choices for publishing ebooks as well as print-on-demand paperback books.
You can then choose the right option for you and your new book.
The best choices for ebooks
If you want to know how to publish a book for free, the following companies offer free self-publishing for ebooks.
It is the easiest way for new authors to publish their first book.
There is no cost to publish your ebook with these services, and you will be paid royalties for every copy you sell.
The best self-publishing companies also offer you a lot of assistance with publishing guides and how-to help pages.
If you have reasonable computer skills, it’s very easy to self-publish your first ebook.
1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Without a doubt, Amazon KDP is the first choice for most new authors.
KDP offers totally free self-publishing for ebooks, and it is very easy to use.
You only need to upload your manuscript file in Word docx and your ebook cover.
When your ebook goes on sale, you will earn 70% royalties for ebooks priced over $2.99.
But for books under that price, you will only earn 35%.
Because Amazon has the largest market share for book sales, it will almost always be your first choice.
2. Apple Books
Coming in at number two is Apple Books.
It used to be called iBooks, but the name change has made no difference.
Apple still ranks second for ebook market share.
Again, it’s easy to publish your ebook. If you are a Mac user, you can upload directly from Apple Pages.
Apple offers a few advantages over Amazon KDP.
Firstly, you will earn 70% royalties on all your ebooks regardless of the price.
You can also offer your ebook for free. This is not possible on Amazon.
Another benefit is for ebooks with lots of images. Unlike KDP, Apple does not charge a file download delivery fee.
3. Barnes & Noble Press
Barnes & Noble Press is the new name for Nook Press.
It offers similar free ebook publishing conditions to Apple. You will earn 70% on your ebook sales.
If you used Nook Press in the past, you will notice a lot of improvements in the new platform.
It’s now much easier to use.
4. Kobo Writing Life
You have probably heard of Kobo Books. It is a popular ebook retailer, especially in markets outside the US and UK.
The big advantage of publishing with Kobo is that it says it distributes its ebook catalog to online retailers in 190 countries.
Kobo Writing Life is the self-publishing arm of Kobo Books.
It is free to self-publish your ebook, and the conditions are very similar to Apple and Barnes & Noble.
However, like Amazon, you will get reduced royalties for ebooks priced under $2.99.
5. Google Play Books
Google Play Books has upped its game over the last few years.
With a new, cleaner, and simpler-to-navigate interface, self-publishing an ebook is far easier than it was a few years ago.
Another change is that Google Play now pays a 70% royalty, regardless of the listed price.
With Google’s reach and the popularity of Android devices, it’s a book market worth investigating.
If there is one drawback, you need to upload your ebook, including the cover, in epub format. You can’t use a Word doc or docx file.
The best way to do this is to convert your ebook manuscript to epub using the Calibre ebook tool.
However, there is the option to use pdf, but it’s not the most reliable format for an ebook conversion.
Take a look at the Google Play Store and see if it’s a possibility for you and your books.
StreetLib uses a slightly different pricing model.
You can self-publish your ebook for free, but StreetLib will charge 10% of the cover price for each sale.
But you will need to do your calculations to see if this is viable for you.
It might sound Asian, but Xinxii is a German self-publishing service.
Its royalty tiers are 70% for ebooks over $2.95 and 40% for lower prices.
One big advantage for some authors is that you don’t need a tax ID number to get paid.
You can also publish under various pen names and in different languages.
I have to mention PublishDrive, even though it offers mostly paid publishing packages.
But it does offer a free service called Abacus. With it, you can publish your first ebook for free.
Any additional titles will cost you $2.99 per month.
If you want to avoid all the hassles of publishing on different retailer platforms, an ebook aggregator is the best solution.
You only need to publish once, and you can make your ebook available on many ebook retailers and libraries.
Generally, you will receive a slightly lower royalty rate of around 60% for the convenience of one-stop publishing.
If you want an easy way to self-publish your ebook, Draft2Digital will be for you.
You can read my full review to find out why. You can distribute your ebook to a long list of online ebook retailers.
One feature I love is that you can use templates to style your ebooks beautifully.
As one of the pioneers of ebooks, Smashwords is a favorite of many self-publishing authors.
One advantage is that it has its own online bookstore that is popular with many readers.
But with its premium catalog, you can distribute your ebook to a long list of ebook retailers and libraries.
Free social self-publishing
Social publishing is an option for new authors who want a simple way to self-publish.
If you want to find readers for your stories, it’s a faster route to take than setting up accounts with self-publishing services or aggregators.
It’s not for all authors. But if you want a quick, easy, and free way to publish your book online, it could be for you.
Wattpad is a popular social publishing platform with a membership of around 90 million readers and writers.
That certainly is a lot of people. For new authors, it’s an alternative way to self-publish your writing.
Wattpad offers a lot of options to find readers, so you are sure to find one or two that might suit your aspirations.
You can publish any genre of stories, such as an essay, romance, teen fiction, fantasy, mystery, science fiction, or literary fiction.
Wattpad also partners with major publishers and studios. You never know; you might get lucky.
With so many readers, it’s not a bad choice to start self-publishing your stories.
Free paperback self-publishing
I must start by saying there will be some costs because a paperback book is a physical product.
With the following self-publishing companies, it’s free to publish, but you will have to pay for physical author and proof copies.
You can refer to the FAQs for each service to find the cost of producing and shipping copies.
But you will have to pay or be charged the production costs each time you sell a book.
12. Amazon KDP
For many years, Createspace was the service to use for free paperback self-publishing.
However, Amazon closed it down and now offers print-on-demand paperback self-publishing from its KDP platform.
But the significant advantage is that if you want to avoid any costs, you can view an online proof of your book.
You can then approve it for sale without incurring costs for physical proof copies.
You can create both paperback and hardcover versions of your book with Blurb.
Once your book is ready, you can make it available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
While it’s free to create your book, you will have to pay for the copies you want to sell.
Ingram is one of the biggest book distributors in the world.
IngramSpark is part of this group, so it makes sense to consider using it to self-publish your book.
There are lots of choices for book sizes, quality, and styles.
BookBaby has been around for a long while.
Whatever type of book you want to publish, it’s a great service.
You can publish children’s books, cookbooks, fiction, and nonfiction.
Lulu is one of the original print-on-demand services.
It offers similar services to Bookbaby, but you might want to compare.
17. Barnes & Noble Press
Following the change from Nook Press, Barnes & Noble Press now offer print-on-demand self-publishing.
If you have a US readership, it might be a good choice.
If you only want to publish an ebook, you have plenty of choices of free publishing companies offering self-publishing at no charge.
For paperbacks and hardcover books, you can certainly publish for free. But you will always have production and shipping costs per copy.
With so many free book publishing companies to choose from, you are sure to find a solution that works for you.
But for most new authors, you will undoubtedly choose Amazon KDP to publish your ebook because it offers totally free book publishing.
You can make it available on the Kindle Store and perhaps on Kindle Unlimited by enrolling in KDP Select.
If you would like your ebook to be available on other retailers such as Apple Books, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble, it’s easier to use an aggregator.
Amazon is probably the best free option for paperback books if you choose to accept an online proof of your book before publishing.
But if you want to go wider and have your book available in as many stores as possible, IngramSpark is the best solution.
One final word of advice for new authors.
Be very careful if you receive an unsolicited offer from a publisher you don’t know.
There are a lot of publishing scams and sharks out there today.
You have no shortage of reliable choices for free self-publishing from the publishers I have listed above.
Related reading: There Are Book Publishers To Avoid And Nasty New Author Scams