Though the Internet’s brought us a long way from the days of vanity presses, self-publishing is still a tricky business to figure out. There are so many decisions to be made, and so much self-doubt that can result from the worry that you made the wrong ones. There are plenty of places to self-publish your book online, but it can be tough to know which one is right for you.
As someone who has self-published in more than one place, I can offer some advice. I have published my work on FictionPress.com, Amazon KDP, and Fictionate.Me. Each platform has its advantages for writers at different stages. FictionPress was a good fit for me as a teenager who was still figuring out what my story was even about. Amazon KDP, conversely, is ideal for someone with a complete and polished manuscript who has some money to burn on a professional cover and formatting.
Fictionate.Me is somewhere in between these two platforms. You are welcome to self-publish an entire book right away (even if it is already posted elsewhere). But you also have the option to post a work in progress and update with new chapters as you finish them. Like on FictionPress, you can receive feedback from readers and form a sense of community. But unlike FictionPress, you can actually earn money on your story as you write.
If you’re looking for feedback and an opportunity to earn cash on your work in progress, Fictionate.Me might be the ideal place for you to write a book online and publish it. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to publish online for free.
1) Create an Account and Profile
All you need to do to create an account is to go to Fictionate.Me and click “Sign Up” in the upper right corner. Once you follow the instructions to set up your account, you can create your profile, which you’ll find in the dropdown menu under the account icon on the upper right.
When completing your profile, it’s important to take a moment to think about the “About” section. This is what readers will see when they click on your author name on your book’s page. Put your writing skills to work and try to come up with something clever, concise, and engaging that will encourage readers to read more of your work. Similarly, you should choose a photo that suits the sort of image you want to project as an author.
2) Enter Your Book’s Information
Now that you’ve got an account and a profile, you are ready to start uploading your book! Just go to the account icon on the upper right and select “My Books” from the dropdown menu. Then click “Add Book” on the upper right. This page is where you get to add a lot of your book’s basic information, like the title and synopsis.
You definitely want to spend some time on your book’s synopsis. It’s what will help draw readers into your story, just like the back of a book does in a bookstore. It would be a good idea to go to look at the Top Paid and Trending books to see what types of descriptions are most successful on the site.
Next, you can decide whether you want your book to be visible or hidden. I would recommend keeping it hidden so you can work out the kinks before sharing it with your new audience. You also have the option to include AI narration so that your readers can listen to your book.
3) Pick Your Price Tier
One of the most exciting parts of this process is picking your price tier. There aren’t a lot of opportunities out there to make money on your book while you’re still writing it, after all. You have the option to set your price as Free, $0.99, $2.99, $4.99, $7.99, or $9.99. Once your readers pay for the book, they are able to access all of its chapters (more on that in a bit).
You may want to set your book as Free if you’re more interested in feedback than anything else. It can also be a good tactic to set the first book in a series as Free but then charge for the others.
4) Choose Your Genre/Tags
After you pick your story’s rating (the one you would give it if it were a movie), you get to decide on your book’s tags. So if yours is a fantasy story, you just type “fantasy” and select it from the choices that appear. You may find other tags this way as well that suit your book, like #urban-fantasy or #dark-fantasy.
One good thing to do during this stage is to check Fictionate.Me’s Trending Genres & Tags. This could help give you some idea of what’s popular on the site, and to see if any of these popular tags fit your book.
5) Upload Your Cover
You have a few different options when it comes to cover design. It is the first thing your readers are going to see when they’re deciding what to read, so it’s important that your cover is eye-catching. If you have some money to spend, Ebook Launch produces some beautiful covers. You could also find plenty of designers on Upwork in a lower price range.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any spare cash. You can most definitely publish on Fictionate.Me 100% for free. There’s always the option to design your own with a program like Paint and a stock image. Canva also has a great free book cover maker.
6) Start Writing!
Once your book page is set up, you are ready to get to work. Just click “Add Chapter” and start typing right into the editor. You can also copy and paste from elsewhere. You’ll have to decide whether you want this chapter to be for free (I would recommend offering at least the first one or two to get readers hooked). Then just click “Publish” once you’re done.
From there you can add new chapters as you write. Once readers get sucked in by your first few free chapters, they will gladly pay for the opportunity to read the rest. Updating regularly will help to keep your book in readers’ minds since it will pop up on the “New Books” section of the main page each time you add a new chapter. The site is also great about promoting books on Instagram and Facebook.
Different self-publishing platforms work for different authors at different stages. You may need to try a few before you figure out what fits. If you’re about to start writing and want to engage with your audience while making some extra cash, you might want to add Fictionate.Me to your list of possibilities.
Author’s Bio: Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from NYU in 2009, Jill has had a long string of jobs doing things like scouting books to be adapted for film and researching trivia questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.
She has done freelance writing as well for sites like Cracked.com, and had her Twitter jokes featured on BuzzFeed and funnyordie.com. Jill has also self-published two novels on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Jillian-Karger/e/B07B894DNW).
Follow her blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: https://www.fictionate.me.