17 Best Free Self-Publishing Companies For New Authors

15 Free Self-Publishing Companies

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.

Let’s look at the choices you have.


1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

KDP self-publishing

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

Apple books for authors

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 and 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

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

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.


6. StreetLib


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.


7. Xinxii


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.


8. PublishDrive


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.


Ebook aggregators

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.


9. Draft2Digital


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.


10. Smashwords


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.


11. Wattpad

Wattpad logo

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

KDP self-publishing

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.


13. Blurb

blurb self-publish

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.


14. IngramSpark


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.


15. BookBaby


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.


16. Lulu

Lulu logo

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

Barnes and 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

49 thoughts on “17 Best Free Self-Publishing Companies For New Authors”

  1. Many years ago, I self-published a book in India and received positive feedback. I’m considering publishing my next four books on Apple Books, Shabd.in , or Amazon (KDP). I appreciate the above guidance.

  2. I wrote three novellas which I had printed and bound as one Trilogy, and I pay occasionally for one or two more copies as needed. Those who have read it say it could well be published, but they also confirm how immensely difficult that is to organise, not to mention, eventually expensive. I am a technophobe who could only produce to a publisher an already printed and bound copy, rather than giving it on email or via other technology. Also, I have zero finances beyond what I occasionally spend when ordering another one or two copies. In today’s setting when thousands upon thousands of new books are constantly being published or processed, it seems one must surmount a mountain to get one’s book into the shop outlets. People say I should, but I will not even try – it’s too daunting and financially impossible.

  3. I just paroled from prison after over 15 years for a bad decision and since 2014 I have worked with at risk youth and I have several children’s books I would love to get published but I’m also in limbo. Have any advice for me? I have a novel and an at risk youth pamphlet of sorts for juvenile halls and your authorities.

    1. You can find plenty of publishing advice in our articles, Daniel.

      But the three most important points are that you carefully edit and proofread your manuscripts, get professional book covers, and be prepared to invest time in promoting your books.

  4. Dear Derek Haines,
    i have a question, i have released a dozen coloring pages on amazon kdp with their free iSBN number. After about a year, Amazon deleted my account assuming I had a secondary account that I didn’t have.
    And now my question: Can I publish the same books as a second edition, or an enhanced / revised edition with my own ISBN using another aggregator, eg Draft2Digital, and will this be legal?

  5. Your article recommends Ingram Spark but there are some huge negatives attached to the company. I quote an author called mike: ‘ Book returns are a huge problem for small authors, and in my opinion, returns are the dirty little secret known only by IngramSpark and their largest accounts. I have perhaps a dozen books published through IngramSpark, which accounts for about 10% of my sales. Initially, since I was chasing distribution within a large national bookseller chain, I checked the box that allowed that bookseller chain and other book stores to return my books, since it only seemed fair at the time. However, what I then learned over the course of two Christmas seasons is that book sellers large and small, knowing they can return the books, will order in heavily during the holidays so as to give customers an “impressive” selection of books in their stores, but then dump ALL of those books back to the author through IngramSpark’s return process at the end of the year. As a result, the booksellers generate revenue by ordering and displaying more books than they need during the holiday season, and then they, as well as IngramSpark, generate EVEN MORE revenue when they return the over-ordered books at a cost of $4.00 each to the author. In this scenario, you as the author are taking on the risk of your business, AS WELL AS that of a large national bookseller. In my case, for two Januarys in a row, a handful of boxes would suddenly show up on my doorstep with 300 books in them, and then IngramSpark would ding my credit card for $1,200 for the returns PLUS the royalties I had made on the initial sale of the books. That’s not the worst part however. The unethical slap in the face is that the booksellers would then turn around and reorder the same books within the next month or so. Meanwhile, I’m out $1,200 plus my royalties, I now have 300 books that have been manhandled at retail and in distribution, and IngramSpark’s attitude…while holding my money… is one of complete indifference. I no longer publish new titles via IngramSpark because of this, and I unchecked the “Returns Allowed” box on my existing titles on their site, so my “sales” are down considerably, but at least I’m no longer a victim of this unethical behavior. The good news is that the booksellers recognized that my books do sell, so they now overlook that they aren’t returnable. Either that, or I’m only receiving bookseller orders now from those who have a conscience. I want to like IngramSpark, but they make it nearly impossible to do so.’

  6. I have a children’s book that I wrote. It is already illustrated and edited. i need advice for Ingram spark. how better is a book with hardcover?

  7. Mr. Haines..I am a comedy writer and have put together 305 animal pictures plus memes directly on the pictures, I have completed the book and tried sending it to Amazon Direct Publishing. They have rejected it five times in five days. They must be freaked out about so many images to begin with…I got all of my images from Pixabay which is a no attribution site. I saved them in my one drive but first put captions directly on the pictures from a site called IMGFlip. They all turned out great even though the pixel sizes are not all the same for all 305 animal pictures. Companies don’t want to deal with formatting for an ebok at all. I’ve gotten all kinds of excuses. I am really stuck here and in limbo. Honestly I don’t know where to turn. The story is longer but this is all for now.

    1. Trying to publish a book full of free stock images is a recipe for disaster, Kerry. 305 images!! No wonder you’ve had problems. Even if you’ve added captions, they are still stock images that Amazon KDP can recognize very easily. You can’t expect to succeed by publishing freely available content like this.

    2. Avatar for Raymond Fenech Gonzi
      Raymond Fenech Gonzi

      Dear Kerry, I have just completed a book about one of the Pope’s top ten exorcist priests. He passed away in the meantime because it took me over five years to transcribe hundreds of digital recordings, put the book together, research certain experiences about exorcism and edit. One problem I encountered was I needed seven images of Satanic symbols and demons to make the book a bit more lively, so to speak. What I chose were black and white images so that the book would be in black and white, not in colour as colour printing costs a fortune.

      I tried buying extended licenses for these images because it’s the only way you will not get in trouble, but some were asking for a lot of money only for the licence. My choices now aren’t many because other image sellers do not even have the same definition for an extended licence, so you might get into trouble on copyright anyway by buying the licence. Some of these sellers care only about making money and do not give a hoot about the author and what happens when the authors of the image or images sue him for copyright infringements.

      So, I will either have to hire a designer to make the images himself and pay him or allow the publisher to do that for me himself. Trust me, don’t even think of publishing a pictorial book using 300 images because you will regret having published it. Although most publishers will refuse to do so as soon as they realize the images are stock and they risk a lot of problems if they publish.And no acknowledging the author or a website is not enough!

  8. I have a children’s book that I wrote. It is already illustrated and edited. When I chatted with Amazon publishing, they want $545 plus 30%. How is that free?

    1. All self-publishing services have add-on paid services.

      If you do the preparation work yourself, it’s always free.

      However, if you ask to have the work done for you, you can’t expect that service for free.

      It’s free self-publishing, not free editing, free formatting, or free file preparation.

    2. Avatar for Raymond Fenech Gonzi
      Raymond Fenech Gonzi

      Jean, it’s not and never will be. Today, we live in a materialistic world. Not even a Traditional publisher will publish your book for free. I had found a traditional publisher but to start off with they did not pay me an upfront payment which should have been between Stg 30,000 or 40,000. Second, a clause in the contract told me clearly that I would not see a cent of my royalties until these paid off the production costs!! Most if not all Traditional Publishers today, unless you are a VIP, will do the same. That is why I believe that self-publishing is safer. The traditional publisher allowed the six-month expiry date on the contract to expire and then wanted me to decimate the book by 40%! A self-publishing service will at least charge you a fee and there are some that will let you pay by installments and you are in control from beginning to end. Not cutting out paragraphs unless you accept it. I am not saying you should not allow professional editors to point out where you went wrong, because after all you want a professional book finish but these guys let the contract expire, thinking I was going to let them do what they will with the book. I didn’t and withdrew it!

  9. Can you recommend some author’s publishing assist services companies that are reputable and trustworthy?.
    There companies using offer editing, formatting help and help with publishing.
    I guess Book Baby is one of the best know. But I have found some unsavory characters in this business.
    Thank you .

  10. I want to get my husband’s book printed to give copies to family and friends. It was never published and he has passed.

    Can I do this easily through Amazon and inexpensively?

  11. I published my first children’s book with a publishing company but it was a little pricey so I’m really thinking about self publishing but the one I already published is part of a series I have 3 more books with the same character if I ever choose to redo the first book could I do that and self publish it myself and another thing can I publish with multiple companies or just one

    1. It’s best not to publish with more than one self-publishing service, Lisa. But you can use an aggregator like Draft2Digital to sell your books on different retailers. As for your first book, you need to have the rights to self-publish it. If your original publisher still holds the rights, you can’t publish the book.

  12. Any advice on the best publishers for sports related instructional books, e.g. How To Play Cricket? Would be looking to translate for Indian audience also.

    1. Sorry, I can’t help you with this one, Josh.

      The best would be to try to find a local publisher in perhaps either Australia or India.

      If you have any books on a similar topic, check the name of the publisher. That might give you some clues to get started.

  13. I self published ‘The Last Circulataur’ many years ago with, Author House and wasn’t terribly happy. I have two more novels ready to go and I’m thinking Amazon(KDP), or Ingram Spark. Thanks for the above advice.

    1. Author House had the audacity of publishing an autobiography I wrote without proofreading it with all the errors in it. Check it out on Amazon. ” My name is Leiolani and this is my life Journey”. They are not professionals, they hired people from the Philippines to do their poor jobs. It is an embarrassment to any author.


  14. Which self-publishing firm, such as KDP, publishes books in Chinese in the United States? I found mermaid publishers by searching they offer the same services, and need a recommendation

  15. I am a new author live at outside of Thailand. Now I have a book to be published in Thailand region as I write in Thai language. I have published it at ebook platform. I have own ISBN and ownership registration for it. I would like to find the physical book publishers in Thailand. Let me know the good publishers in Thailand rather than other countries.
    Thanks and regards,
    Moe Kha

      1. I have two books published on Amazon but there not doing well because of the lack of promotion, is there any company that would print and market my books and cover the cost and would recover the money from the sales of the book

    1. Most self-publishing services provide publishing in different languages now. You will need to check with each one to see if you can publish in Chinese or Mandarin. But I believe Smashwords offers publishing in Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional) and Chinese (writing system unspecified).

  16. IngramSpark and Amazon censor your books for political content they don’t like, and they will hurt you. They will cancel all your books like true cat stories and Cats in Art, if they find out just one of the other books contains a political view they don’t like. You don’t need to publish this, it is just a warning to others.

  17. Getting noticed on Amazon is like finding the holybgrail. Your book just gets lost in amongst thousands and thousands of other self published books. It’s a waste of time.

  18. Avatar for Nicole Eugenia Idlett
    Nicole Eugenia Idlett

    I want my book published for free and I am not going to give no money unless I have a contract and u make money from me off the perectage u asked for when the book is in stores and u make a proffit.

  19. Good morning Mr. Haines, I am an author from way back, but totally new to online publishing. When I was in a publishing summit years ago someone said, “He who has the ISBN owns the royalties”. I just started uploading low content books and will be uploading ebooks soon. Amazon gives you the option for them to create a free ISBN for you, but am I giving away my ownership of the book to them?

  20. Some great advice in this article that clearly shows the benefits of self publishing. As one who has his latest manuscript out seeking a publishing company, if I am not successful then I will most likely go with Amazon KDP. I have some of my books with two publishing companies as well as some with D+D who I have found most helpful.

  21. Derek, This stuff is pure gold, . I have been dreaming of writing “The book” for years. It’s a huge mountain to climb, with synopses to write publishers to find etc. I also have too much stuff for one book, which always seemed a problem. Self publishing in a series of novellas is the answer and you are showing me how. I have made the list of novellas and mapped out the contents. Now I have to write but in a series of short hops rather than an enormous leap of faith. I know you didn’t invent self publishing but you have opened it up and showed it to me.Thank you so much

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