Publishing On Demand

FREE Paperback Options

I feel strongly that you should NEVER pay up front to publish on demand a paperback book. Yes, you could pay someone to help you with the formatting. You could pay someone to help you with editing. But you should never hand over thousands of dollars to a company who is simply going to print on demand for you. In most of these cases they lock you in permanently and charge you for EVERY SINGLE THING you want done to that book. You can never get your book back out of their hands. It becomes a nightmare.

There are ample free options out there to choose from. Research these options. See which one works best for you. If you need help, hire someone to help you. That's fine. But by going this route you ensure you always have complete control. If you decide to edit things going forward and republish, you can do that yourself, for free. You don't have to pay a company thousands more dollars just to update a few words.

Nearly every publish on demand company will offer help for a fee. I highly recommend you ignore those offers - they are typically vastly overpriced. Talk with author friends to find someone to do the same work for far less, often for far better quality as well.

Always keep copies of all of your files. If someone edits your novel, have them send back the edited final version. You are the owner - you should always have the final versions of everything. That way if you want to make changes going forward you can.
CreateSpace is now the gold standard of free self publishing for paperbacks. They have a wide range of sizes and styles. CreateSpace is part of Amazon, which is always a good thing when it comes to books. They offer a free ISBN number for every book you publish. It is completely FREE start to finish to use CreateSpace, unless you sign up for their services, which I suggest avoiding. If you are new to publishing, CreateSpace is what I highly recommend using. It's how I now publish everything except my quarterly literary magazine.

CreateSpace Step by Step Description
Lulu used to be a standard. Amazon, of course, has squashed them. There are still quite a number of people who use Lulu for historical reasons. I still publish my quarterly literary magazine with them because it's easier to keep doing that than to move everything over onto Amazon. They offer a wide range of options and their prices are fairly equivalent with CreateSpace. You can get Lulu books to list on Amazon, but the Amazon price ends up being higher, and the updates take a while, so it's generally better just to go with CreateSpace for that. The one caveat is that Lulu does a nice job with hardcover books, if you want an actual hardcover (not softcover paperback).

Lulu Step by Step Description

There used to be a variety of other options for free publishing on demand, such as CafePress and NovelMaker, but most of these have folded or given up on self publishing. The competition from CreateSpace and Lulu is just too strong. So I would highly recommend choosing either CreateSpace or Lulu for your paperback publishing needs.

Publishing On Demand - FREE comparison chart
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