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Free Publishing Help & Info

This page shows you this Website in a nutshell.
80% of the general population wants to write a book. You must be one of them or you wouldn't be here. In 2016, over half-a-million folks just like you and me, self-published a book. You can professionally publish your own book, you really can, without signing a contract and without going broke in the process.

The information
on this site is free. Here you can learn how to get your dream in print. Check out the self-publishing help and information
 and, no, I won't publish your book. I will guide you through the process if you ask for help. There are a handful of publishing companies that will help you publish your own book without asking you to sign a contract. They are what I call self-publishing facilitators. They are the good guys in the white hats.
Here you can find the tools you need to  safely and economically publish a book that meets modern publishing industry standards (and keep 100% of the profit in your pocket where it belongs).

There are only two ways to safely publish:

You can self-publish  with a true self-publishing company (a rare fish in a big sea) or you can seek a contract with a traditional publisher. On the fringe of the publishing industry are the vanity publishers (bottom-feeders who charge you a bundle to get a generally inferior book in print). You can produce a quality book at a reasonable cost and ignore vanity publishers altogether (and you can do all that without signing a contract).
The simple key to become a true self-published author: It's all about a number. This is so simple it might be hard to grasp. It was for me initially. The number is the 13-digit ISBN (International Standard Book Number) on top of the barcode on the back of every book . The barcode just indicates retail price. The ISBN indicates the country of origin, the publisher and the book's title. Who owns the ISBN is the key to who makes the most money on the book.
To be a true self-published author you must own the ISBN. If you own the ISBN, no vanity publisher will want to publish your book. The will insist, one and all, that they must "assign" an ISBN to you and they will jump through verbal hoops to convince you to use their assigned ISBN. Bull hockey. If you want them to make as much money as you on every book you work hard to sell, then go ahead and let them assign the ISBN. You will lose, I guarantee it. Buy your own ISBN and it will repel vanity gnats. Now might be a good time to read the whole scoop on the importance of who owns the ISBN
I am a broken record on the ISBN issue. You will need at least two ISBNs. One for your paperback  and one for your ebook. Ebook purchases are now 25% of all books bought online, so you definitely want your book available as an ebook. One ISBN will cost you $125 and ten will cost $295, with a one-time processing fee of $29.95. Do the math. If you are a serious writer, you will want to write more than one book, so you might as well go ahead and buy ten ISBNs. And I don't get a kick-back from R.R. Bowker (the only true dispenser of ISBNs in the U.S). There are a handful of publishers who are designated Bowker agents, but you, as a self-published author, can buy directly from Bowker. If you plan on self-publishing only one paperback book and don't want it avaible as an ebook, one ISBN will do. To learn all about ebooks, check out my Ebook Page.

Only you can convince yourself your book is worth publishing. Writing a manuscript is the hard part. Getting your dream in print and made available to the reading public is much easier than you think. Self-publishing is practical and easy with the right tools and know-how.

If you are asking, "What's the catch?" there is no catch.

I really do want you to get money-saving information. I have several friends who got royally ripped off by one or more of these online vanity publishers.
The icing on my cake is the satisfaction I get from helping authors avoid the vanity press trap. They make their money off you, the author, and could care less if you sell any books to the public.

Vanity publishers overcharge for mediocre services and produce inferior (unedited) books that bookstores won't touch. Then they overcharge authors to buy their own books for resale. A vanity publisher's typical 50% discount to authors is still 20-30% more than any author should pay to print his own book. Instead of paying $6.00 for a $12.00 book (retail), any author should be able to buy that same book, printed at the same printer, for $3.00 to $4.00.

Follow the prompts at the bottom of each page to learn about:
ISBNs, Book Editing, Copyrighting, Publishers, Book Marketing, Web Site Tips, Literary Agents and a whole lot more. Here you can discover how easy it is to become a self-published author or maybe, just maybe, become a best-selling author published by one of the big boys.

For those who are unable to attend one of my workshops, I also offer my services as a book coach for those who feel they need personal help. A one-time investment of $40 entitles you to personal, one-on-one coaching through the entire publishing process. Self-published authors can save hundreds of dollars producing a quality book that meets today's publishing industry standards (without signing a contract). 

The average bookstore manager can spot a vanity-published book a mile away (and won't consider it for shelf space). If you self-publish correctly under your own imprint, you can avoid the vanity press stigma.  My first book made the shelf at our local Barnes & Noble. The manager read it and immediately ordered ten (non-returnable).

The danger of going with one of the many online publishers is the probability of being taken in by a vanity publisher.
Most (nearly all) of them fall under the vanity label. The author becomes their customer and authors are where vanity publishers make all their money.

vanity publisher is simply a publisher you pay to publish your book. You pay the total cost—the vanity publisher doesn't spend a dime.
And the author is totally responsible for marketing the book. Traditional publishers do not aggressively advertise online, nor do professional literary agents. They have Web sites, but neither group solicits authors for manuscripts. Vanity publishers will pursue you tirelessly once you give them your email address or phone number.
If you email or phone any publisher, let them know you will be using your own ISBN. You may have to tell them ten times, but eventually they will get the message and leave you alone.  
Top of page

Vanity publishers charge more and give you less.

They typically overcharge for basic services such as cover design, interior layout (sometimes referred to as "typesetting"), editing and printing.
The extra charges are embedded in a "publishing package" that usually shows what is included but doesn't itemize services.
Editing is rarely (pretty much, never) included in a publishing package. You will always pay more than necessary when you buy a package (even if it's on sale). 
You should only deal with a publishing company that will let you use your own ISBN and purchase the services you need without signing an unnecessary contract (unless, of course, you seek a traditional publishing contract). Traditional publishing is covered in the Go For The Gold menu.

You don't need to sign a contract.

A true self-publishing company will not require a contract (they are few and far between). You only order and pay for services necessary to get your book in print such as cover design, editing, interior layout, Ingram database inclusion and barcode. Most will insist you provide your own ISBN.

Those are the true self-publishing companies.
Yes, you will still pay the entire cost to publish, but you will own everything including the cover design, interior layout design, and, most importantly, the publishing rights. No one will make money on your book but you. Here is a Short list of self-publishing companies I trust.
Editing is always an extra cost with vanity publishers:

Vanity publishers won't let you order à la carte.

You have to buy one of several packages offered (and editing is never included). 
Plan on paying an extra $500-$1000 and up for professional editing with any package you buy. (If you are still considering using a vanity publisher, may I suggest a checkup from the neck up?)

Take a minute to view Lies Vanity publishers tell and learn how to identify vanity publishers. They will all insist you use their ISBN. Tell them you will be using your own ISBN and don't believe anything they tell you about why you should use theirs. All the reasons they give are bogus.
I can tell you which companies will let you use your own ISBN. There aren't many of them, but they are the good guys.
Few people know they are paying too much when they publish a book. I like to beat these vanity publishers at their own game by providing free information and/or inexpensive book coaching for new authors. My wife's book is available on every online bookstore and listed in the Ingram database that every brick and mortar bookstore uses to order books.
Don't underestimate the importance of a good cover design.

It may be true, "You don't judge a book by its cover," but it is equally true, the cover had better be good enough to tempt a reader to open your book and read a little.

You have about two seconds to lure someone to crack your book open.
Michael Hyatt (former CEO for Thomas Nelson Publishers) talks about Four Strategies for Creating Titles That Jump Off the Page.

Using the same printer most online publishers use, you can get your book printed for less, whether digital (POD) or offset printing (preferred by bookstores). It's a simple matter of finding a publisher that offers both print options and says so up front. True self-publishing companies (facilatators) do both. Offset printers will require a minimum print run of 500 copies as a rule.

Whether you publish now or later, this information will give you the tools and know-how to get your book professionally and economically printed, listed with major online booksellers and made available to bookstores nationwide.
Knowing where to start will break you out of the inertia that plagues every first-time author.

Those of you who think your book could a best-seller can visit the GO FOR THE GOLD menu and learn the right approach to landing a publishing contract with a commercial (traditional) publisher. Not an easy accomplishment, but I can show you the simple steps involved and greatly enhance your chances.
You are on the Free Publishing Help page.
The ABCs  of Publishing page gives a quick overview of self-publishing
and traditional publishing.

♦ Now answer the question, Should I self-publish? 

Updated October 10, 2017