Is it possible to self-publish your book for free?

In short, the answer is yes.

It will cost you nothing – no one-time fee, no ongoing monthly fee – to publish through Createspace on through the Kindle Store. Createspace is owned by They are what is called a print on demand publisher. And by publishing your book through Createspace, you will be able to sell your book through and other online bookstores.

Kindle is the online store for electronic books (ebooks) which can be read on tablet devices like the Kindle or iPad.

That sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

 However, you should know that there are likely to be costs involved with self-publishing.

Most authors excel at writing books. But they are not graphic designers. What about you? Are you going to design your own cover? If no, you should plan have to pay someone to create a book cover. You can always try to find a family member or friend who can do graphic design to help you. I got my first book cover done free just because the designer wanted to have his name in the credits for my book. The same thing could happen for you – all you have to do is ask!

Additionally, most authors should not edit their own work. So you should plan to hire an editor. Technically, you don’t have to. But poorly edited books do not sell well and tend to get bad reviews. Again, if you know an editor, maybe they will edit the book for you free just for being mentioned as someone who helped you publish the book. But it is strongly recommended to hire a professional editor to review your work. Don’t let that stop you from getting your friends and neighbors to read the book for edits too!

There are also costs involved with promoting your book.

You will need a website. That involves having web hosting and some other minor costs. You can always start a free blog on a service like Tumblr or you can opt to just have a Facebook Fan Page. Those options are free.

You should issue a press release when your book goes live. And if you want the press release to be seen by several media outlets than you will have to pay for the press release. But you can always write a press release (or several) and send them to news outlets yourself. You won’t get the broad reach that you do when you pay for the service (they can reach hundreds or thousands of media contacts) but you can at least hit your local papers and news sources.

 Finally, it will cost you a price to get copies of your book…

(assuming you self-published a print book). You get the copies a very discounted rate and there is a small shipping fee too. But if you

You may have already been expecting the various costs I just outlined. Importantly, Createspace does not charge any fees for you to publish your book. Today, you can even opt in to using their expanded distribution network, which enables you to sell your book on additional online platforms, for free. This service used to cost $40 per year.

Additionally, once your print book is published through Createspace, you can click a button to have the book converted to Kindle format. Then, you can publish your book on the Kindle store as well. Again, there is no cost involved.

 Technically, if you are looking for the cheapest way to get published…

Then you may want to consider publishing an e-book. Publishing an e-book, like to sell on the Kindle store, costs even less than self-publishing a print book. You still have to pay for a book cover and editing, however your book cover design will cost less. There is more work involved in designing a print book cover. Kindle and e-book covers are easier to design and therefore less expensive.

You can publish your book for free through Createspace and Kindle. This will let you publish your book in print format and electronic format. However, be aware that there are costs involved with self-publishing. The most important costs are getting a book cover design and editing. But you should not have to pay for the actual process of getting the book printed or distributed on


Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Book Description Headline?


Have you ever stopped to wonder why you open some emails and not others? Have you ever had your attention drawn to a tabloid while you wait to pay for your groceries?

Welcome to the world of headlines. Good headlines have the power to literally stop you dead in your tracks and pay attention.  When they are good, they even cause you to consider picking up a tabloid paper you may not have ever thought of buying.

The same is true with headlines in book descriptions.

Book descriptions have space for headlines. Book descriptions are, in fact, like sales pages for your book. Now I’m not suggesting you need to get all salesy with your book descriptions.

But you should spend a significant amount of time working out the best possible book description. Oh, and incidentally, I’m talking book description here as it appears on your book sales page on a online store like Amazon. But this would equally apply to what you write on the back cover of your book.

By the time someone is reading your book description, they have narrowed down to buying your book or someone else’s. They are close to buying. This is where your book description will help close the sale.

What makes a good headline?

So what makes a good headline? To some extent, the answer depends on your niche.  But most of the answer has to do with human psychology. Great headlines play to things like curiosity or satisfaction or problem solving.

Let’s consider an outlandish but insightful example. This is a tabloid style example (which I’m not saying you should use – it just illustrates the sort of headline that draws our attention):

How to Grow Pumpkins (this is a “ho hum” boring title)

First Time Gardener Harvests a 102 Pound Pumpkin From Seed (tabloid style)

The second headline is again, outlandish. But it evokes curiosity, doesn’t it?

There are a few ingredients that you are sure to find across all great headlines. They tend to be shorter. Think Twitter “tweet” sized versus Facebook “post” sized.

Questions often make compelling headlines. Facts also make for interesting headlines.

What types of headline should you avoid?

Avoid using ambiguity. Saying “Author of over 20 books” is not as powerful or interesting as giving the exact fact: “Author of 23 books”.

Avoid using the title of your book as your book description headline. Again, people have already come to your sales page or picked up your book. They have seen your title and your sub-title. Now you must get their attention and draw them into buying.

How to get good headline ideas for your niche/genre

When it comes to researching good headline ideas for your book description, take a trip to the library or local newsstand.

Pick up a bunch of magazines from your niche or genre and study the covers of the magazines. Magazines and the table of contents are filled with news and article topics. Each one is vying for your attention. Write down the ones you like – the ones you think may resonate with people who would read your book.

It may be tempting to check out what other successful authors in your niche/genre have written. Go ahead and look. But don’t be surprised if you see some pretty boring headlines being used. Most self published authors write the book description / back cover text for their book on a whim right before they publish the book live.

And believe me, they sell less books because of it.

You are trying to sell more books and be successful. Don’t miss out on this easy opportunity to help sell readers on your book.


Photo Credit: Bart Everson on Flickr

Little Known Facts About the Look Inside Feature on Amazon

14288135_05fd9e848a_zWhat do readers see when they look inside your book?

Do they get excited to buy?

After reading a few pages will they be ready to click buy?

By the time the reader has gone to the trouble of picking up your book to look inside, they are very close to buying. The book cover and title have done their job. The book description or sales page has done its job.

Now comes the final test

The reader wants to know what’s inside. They want to know what you are table of contents looks like. They want to see how the book is introduced.

Is your book ready for that?

Is your table of contents optimized to sell the reader on your book? And what about your introduction.

(To be clear: I’m not advocating for getting salesy with the highlighted text or fancy sales page arrows or anything like that).

Let’s talk about how to optimize the inside of your book to get people to buy.

The number one thing that browsers want to see when they look in your book is the table of contents. They are looking to see if the table of contents looks interesting. Does it solve their problem? Does it sound entertaining?

So the number one task with your table of contents is to make sure it does not turn readers away. It should simply confirm what the reader is already thinking – that this is the book they want.

But how do we accomplish this? The best thing you can do is use descriptive language in your chapter titles. Instead of just using the phrase Chapter 1 – Self Publishing, use Chapter 1 – The Number One Reason Why Most Self Publishers Fail.

See how that works? Now the reader feels compelled to read chapter 1 to find out why most self published authors fail. Whereas, in the first example, the reader had no compelling reason to open up chapter 1.

Your chapter descriptions should be thought of like headlines or email subjects. You don’t have to be salesy, but the phrase or question should be interesting enough to make the reader want to learn more. Use curiosity to your advantage. People are naturally curious. Tap into that curiosity by making your chapter names such that people are curious to read more.

Some authors also use sub topics in the table of contents. I do not have a preference either way. But if you choose to show subtopics, make sure they sound interesting to.

One way to think about your chapter descriptions is like they were headlines for blog posts. What would draw the reader in to reading the blog post?

If you need some examples for your particular niche or genre, browse the table of contents of popular books in your category. How do they do it? What sort of language do those authors use in their table of contents?

Getting the introduction right

In addition to the table of contents, readers often read the first few paragraphs of the introduction to your book. Avoid having a really dry or boring introduction.

The job of your introduction is to get the reader to turn the page to chapter 1 and begin the book. If you are struggling with what to say in the introduction to your book, take a look at your book description. Your book description is the place where you hook the reader into picking up your book and considering buying it. The introduction is in many ways a continuation of that hook.

For example, let’s say your hook on the book description is something like

Little known factors that affect how easy it is to read your writing

Make your introduction congruent with that hook.

 Have you ever picked up a book – a book that sounded really promising – only to find you just couldn’t finish it? The hook was good. The information was helpful. But for some reason you just couldn’t bring yourself to carry on reading it? More than likely, the problem was caused by a series of little known factors that make some writing really hard to read…

Does that make sense? It doesn’t have to be a sales pitch. Your simply continuing the conversation and helping draw the reader in. Using this technique will help make it easy for shoppers to decide to buy your book!

You have written a fantastic book. Make sure that your table of contents in your introduction support the quality of your book. This way, when a reader is interested and they pick up your book to look inside, you are simply supporting their buying decision.

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Photo from Tall Chris on Flickr