Publishing Your Own Book For Free

40 years ago publishing a book was not always about how famous you are.  Today if you are famous, that generally equates to book sales. It used to be about the quality of the writing. I am still an avid reader and I aspired as a kid to be a writer.

In those days the only way you published a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, was sending in your print manuscript to a publisher.  I specifically would buy the Writer’s Guide, which still exists, but alas I never completed my stories, my books or anything that resembled a book.  I did, however, write two screenplays, which I have actually never sent off.  Still insecure and thinking I am not good enough to publish, I really never completed this journey.

A Perchance Meeting

About a month ago I ran into a publisher and asked him about how I would go about publishing a book based on my blogs.  It would cover most of the same subjects, but would be nicer, clearer, and directed at a specific audience.  He told me that typically it would cost me around $2,000 to put everything together to publish my book.  This did not sound good to me.  I am either too cheap, or more importantly, I don’t think I would actually make more than $2,000, so forget about that.  This would require selling 100 books.  Not a chance in hell.

However, he did direct me to a website called .  I started by creating an account on  What I have noticed so far is you can spend about $2,000, but you can also go as far as you can with without spending a dime.  You just have to do your own work to get it done.

I started the publishing process, I am still waiting to see if there is a place that will require me to enter my credit card.  Has not happened so far.  I could be wrong.  I am trying to publishing without spending any money, and that is what this blog article is about.

Step 1  – Create An Account

I went to and created an account for myself. Very simply and easy to do.  No charge required. assigns you a member ID.  You can log off and log back in easily.  Just mentioning because I am looking for any gotchas.

Step 2 – Create Your Book or Project

Second I clicked “Add A Project”.  They ask you if it is a book, a video, dvd, etc.   I said a book.  I entered the name Website Feature Discovery.  That’s my temporary name.  I added a subtitle. They ask a few other questions like if is a series, the author name and edition.  Nothing to complicated so far.  They then generate an ISBN Number for you in order to publish the book.  I realized, wait, I haven’t had to enter my credit card yet.  So as far as I know it is still going to not cost anything.

Step 3 – Trim and Word Template

You choose your book size.  The most common size is 6″ by 9″.  You can change that book size.  You can download a word document that is formatted exactly how your book will appear.  You can use this to create in Word the final book manuscript that is used to print the book.  Finally, there is a book cost calculator you can click to help you figure out how much the book will cost.

Step 4 – Interior

Ok, this was the first page where there was an optional cost of creating something more than a cream page color.  If you accept the common settings on the interior, it is still free.  If you want something special design services, fonts, etc, that starts at $199.  I clicked Skip That!

Step 5 – Cover

They have two free options and one paid option.  For free you can use their cover generator or upload a PDF file to spec with your cover (I am assuming color).  For $399 you can pay for design services.  I tried out their book cover generator and it seems like it works.  Have not yet spent the time finishing up using it, but is seems like it works…

Step 6 – Complete Setup

This is where you review the interior, cover and book options.  Once you have completed the set up, it is time to start building your manuscript.

They give you an estimate of how much it will cost to publish your book.  For instance my book is 130 pages and 6″ by 9″.  It comes down to about $2.50 per book.  They also cover how much royalty you will be making if you sell on Amazon, Kindle, in dollars, euros and pounds where your book will be available.  If I sold my book for $16.95, I would receive about $8 royalty per book.

So the royalty situation is not great, but at least it’s something, considering I have not put up a dime, just my time.  Hey that rhymes.

Lastly, once I publish my book, which I am calling “Thinking Start-ups”, will post that here!






How I Joined The e-Reader Bandwagon

Even though I keep up with a lot of technology and innovation going on, I had been in the dust bin of tech history when it came to e-Readers.  This just means I have/had no clue to what is going on, why or how it all worked.  I remember when the Kindle and the Nook appeared on the market, and I remember they were originally hardware that had migrated to software.  That was it.

Early Reader Goes Bust

Now, coming from a habitual childhood reading obsession,  you would think I would have picked up on the e-Reader revolution.  I mean it is true in England the libraries are being shut down!  I used to read 3 novels a week in high school, mostly science fiction, a bunch of magazines, and whatever I could get my hands on.  We had the New York Times delivered daily.  During my MBA years I often read the Wall Street Journal delivered to my home and even subscribed to the Harvard Business Review.  It was like $20 a copy 20 years ago.  Even in my early years while working at the phone company I would read, mainly for my MBA, tons and tons of magazines and books.  Later on, when I met my wife, she was an avid reader as well, we collected a massive amount of hard covers and paperbacks, magazines.

Newspapers End For Me

But alas, about 1999 I stopped ordering a newspaper.  So did a lot of you too, right?  I think about 2006 we tried the local Sun-Sentinel, because it was like $10 bucks for the entire year.  That bad boy piled up all around us. I will never get a newspaper delivered again.   Because I was evolving into a programmer around 1999, I really did not want to put my eyes on the computer after hours.  And then finally the nail in the coffin was having kids.  That time of finding a moment with a book alone became so rare, that I hardly would read one book a year.  I was mentally dead and I knew it!  In fact, the only reading I was doing in the past years was the guide in Japanese Suduko puzzle books.  When I say Suduko, I mean Nikoli, hand delivered from Japan.

Rework by Friedman Get’s Me Started in eBooks

I had been carrying around Jason Friedman’s “physical” book called Rework, the second book on start-ups he had written, and maybe I had started to read the first 4 chapters.  I probably read and reread those chapters like 3 times.  I never seemed to get through the book, nor could I remember where I had left the book.  Between work, kids, and everything else going on, the physical book Rework was not going to be read.  I was determined to read it though.  So that is the first real eBook I was determined to find a way to read online or on my mobile.  So, first thing I realized (I know I am late the game on this stuff, but apparently so is most of the world) is that if I could put it on my smartphone I would probably be able to find a way to read it.

iPads and Samsung Tab 3

You probably are saying to yourself, if you had 2 ipads and 2 Samsung Tab 3 tablets in our house, then how did I miss the whole eReader bandwagon.  Well, first off the two little boys we have at home would instantly grab any tablet we had in our hands and run off with it, and I was not exactly in a position to say no.  Then, like in a lot of families, the iPads started to get broken.  One broke and we got it fixed at the Apple store.  Then the second one broke and it could not be fixed (iPad v1).  So we ended up getting the boys their own Samsung Tab 3 tablets, each with special unbreakable covers.  I have a Galaxy SII, which is an antiquated smartphone.  Trust me, my nice LG and Galaxy 4 were both dropped in a fishtank.  But even when I had them I was not into eReading.  I was still traumatized by my years of programming and fear of staring at a computer.  At least that is one answer why I strayed from reading in general.

Rework Goes Digital

So at some point, somebody in my household, I won’t say who, finally said to me, hey you want an eBook, I can get them pirated at (whatever-whatever) site.  I was like, really, you can get me an eBook I want.  And she did.  I was able to put Rework on my Android phone and use UB Reader, which I believe came with my Android device, and life was good.  I set the font to 20+ point, so I practically would not need my reading glasses and went at it.  I found that turning the page with my thumb, skimming this zoomed in version, to be very doable.  It was the first time I went and fully read a whole book in years.  Trust me, I purchased 200 books in the past 15 years, I just hardly ever read them.  So once I had finished Rework, I went back to that special person and asked her if she could get me book x, book y, and book z.  In fact, she was able to get me a lot of the books I wanted to read, and books that I did not ever think of reading.

Travel, Live, Read

On the road you find eReading to be quite useful.  I rarely travel for business, but now when I do I know to load up on my smartphone.  So, what I am telling most of you (any one of you) who read my blog, is eReading is not just better than a physical book, it is the physical book with a ton of features you don’t get when reading a real book.  I am able to grab a section of a book, a quote, copy it and send it off to my colleagues with my comments.  I am able to bookmark digitally.  I am able to read a book on my smartphone, pop it down from my Dropbox and plop it on iPad or Samsung Tab 3 and continue reading there.  On UB Reader for instance, I am able to not just read this format called .epub books, but I am reading .pdf format as well. Suddenly I was able to get back into reading novels, self-help, magazines ( I got a copy of national geographic on my smartphone).  I was able to reconnect and start reading again.

The Non-Reading Future Ahead Of Us

I am hearing more and more that the future for younger and younger people is less reading.  I was believing this, but now that I have become an eReader myself, I think that this is not necessarily what will happen.  I think access and speed of reading may actually increase.  What is happening is you can digitally get any book from the past or present within seconds, and that has created an opportunity for those who want to read more to be able to get and read what they want, wherever they are.  So if you have not yet tried an eBook, give it a try, and like me you may have rediscovered reading.