Are you an indie writer but not sure about where to publish your book? With so many alternatives to Amazon out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to write a book online for free to say the least. You want to make the right decision to grow your fanbase and see profits. But you also want to find the right platform you enjoy working with, that makes publishing easy, and makes you the most money.
Below are great fiction platforms that aren’t Amazon to self-publish your work that are user-friendly and offer ways for authors to get paid while also growing their writing communities and reader bases.
One of the newer fiction platforms on the list, Fictionate.Me is a self-publishing platform that brings together your books, your fans, and a helpful team all in one place. You don’t need any self-publishing or formatting experience on this site, as this is one of the easiest platforms for writers out there. Publish chapter by chapter or upload your finished manuscript completely free of charge, and start earning royalties right away! It literally takes just a few minutes to upload an entire book.
Another perk of this platform is that readers can leave comments on your work so you can get invaluable feedback. You also set your own price, whether you want it to be completely free or a price up to $9.99. Writers can also create audiobooks for their readers as well with just a click of a button, making your books even more accessible for all readers.
- Totally free
- Keep 100% of your profits (minus the 2.9% + 30 cents for the payment provider Stripe)
- Formatting and AI narration are done automatically
- You don’t have to register an ISBN
- Give readers free chapters to preview your work
- Feedback from readers and on-site critics
- Quarterly contests to help boost your content and win prizes
- Maintain all rights to your work
- User-friendly and attractive interface
- Your work doesn’t have to be approved before it’s published (just follow Terms of Service)
- Since it’s a newer platform, readership is still growing
- The main focus is fiction novels, so if you write poetry, short fiction, or other genres, you might not get as much exposure here
Do you write manga, comics, web serials, or light novels? Voyce.Me, which calls itself the “home of creativity”, might just be your perfect match! The site was created by a writer just like you who got tired of slogging for months to build a readership on Wattpad with zero response.
Unlike other web serial publishing sites like Web Novel and Royal Road (which rely on donations), Voyce.Me has an ad-sharing program that will allow you to earn as soon as you begin publishing your work on the site. This site caters to almost every genre, such as sci-fi, romance, mystery, drama, fantasy, and isekai, just to name a few, so your web novel or comic could easily find a home here.
It takes seconds to make a free account, so you can immediately upload your novel, either chapter by chapter or the whole manuscript. Voyce.Me also allows you to interact with your reading and writing community with their Discord server, so you don’t have to be on your writing journey alone.
- Totally free to publish
- Keep 100% of your profits (minus the 2.9% + 30 cents for Stripe)
- Keep all rights to your work
- Ad sharing allows you to monetize your stories
- Gain exposure from the site, which promotes your work to other readers
- Can publish WIPs or completed manuscripts
- Easy-to-use editor for authors to quickly create their books
- Uploads don’t require approval
- Fanfiction cannot earn royalties (but this is true across the board)
- Clunky interface (I had issues creating my profile in Google Chrome)
- Can’t learn about sponsorship opportunities until you’ve actually published something on the site
Royal Road, which considers itself the home of web novels and comics, is a self-publishing platform that allows you to publish for free and earn money from your writing. This is another site that has helped modern web novels regain popularity, so ongoing serials are very popular here. All genres are also represented, but fantasy and sci-fi are the site’s bread and butter (take a look at the Best Rated list to see what I mean).
Everything is free for the reader, which means you’ll be earning donations on this site instead of direct monetization. Still, web serials do so well that if you have a Patreon or PayPal attached to your profile, you’re bound to earn if your work is good. Like the other platforms in this list, this site also has a terrific reading and writing community. The site has a forum so you can chat with readers and other writers and even find a cover artist for your novel. Readers can also send you private messages directly, so you can get some great feedback from your fans.
- Keep 100% of your profits (donations)
- Lots of users, so you’ll get good exposure (or this could be a con, see below)
- Great support system from community
- Free to publish
- Option to buy ads to promote your book
- Keep rights to your work
- Affiliates with Amazon, so you can publish your book in both places if you want to
- Donation only is the only pay model
- Have to pay for a premium subscription to get a lot of the writer perks
- Your work must be approved, so you have to wait at least 48 hours between uploading and being published
- With so many writers, it might be harder to get top ratings and good exposure
This fiction platform is not only for publishing your ebook but also for globally distributing it to major retailers (like Apple Books, Kobo, Barnes & Noble) and public libraries. Because of the distribution factor, you will lose some of your profits, as you’ll only be keeping 60-80% based on where your book is sold, but it might be worth it for the extra exposure. Publishing on the site is totally free and doesn’t require any special knowledge for formatting.
As the author, you’re in control of where your book is distributed, and you can run private and public presales, all on your terms. Smashwords also boasts many marketing tools to help promote and sell your book. All genres are represented, so whatever you write can be published here and might get great exposure.
- Publish for free
- Register your ISBN for free or use your own
- Author dashboard to keep track of sales, metadata, and year-end tax reports
- Free marketing tools
- Lots of support tools to help you learn the ins and outs of self-publishing
- Can find agents for indie authors through the site
- The platform has been around since 2008, so no bugs to work out like on newer sites
- Author’s landing pages have great SEO rankings
- Keep rights to your work
- Don’t keep all profits as the site takes commissions (10-18%)
- Formatting can be a pain because the formats need to work across all e-readers, not just Kindle
While this site isn’t for publishing books per se, it is for publishing short stories. If you’re a short fiction scribe or want a paid break from your novel, you might want to try it! While it is based in England and money values are shown in pounds, Penpee is open to international writers 16 and older, and your payments will convert to your currency upon payment.
Penpee calls itself the number one creative community for short story writers, and for good reason, as writers get paid every time stories are read. Authors have two options for their stories: royalty-free, which means readers can read your stories for free; and paid stories, which means your readers will pay for your stories and you’ll get royalties every time your stories are read. Like Wattpad or Kindle Vella, readers need to buy credits to read stories.
There are two tiers for authors: free and premium.
With a free membership, you can
- Publish 3000 words per story (max 6 pages)
- Keep 45% of your profits
With a premium membership (around $28 USD per year), you can
- Publish unlimited stories, up to 12,000 words per story (20 pages max)
- Keep 70% of your profits
- Be in the leaderboard contests to win prize money
- Advertise teasers from your Amazon novels on the site
- Get 90% more promotion and exposure on your stories
While you can publish on here for free, it’s obviously better to pay the subscription if you really want to make a go of it on this site. Like Wattpad, this is also a social site, as you add friends to a friend list, and the more you engage with other people, the more engagement you get in return. There are also helpful groups you can be a part of, especially if you’re new to the site.
- Royalties based on reads
- Monthly payments
- Payments made with PayPal
- Can publish for free
- Social-based writing and reading community
- Must wait for your story to get approved, which can take up to 48 hours
- The interface is clunky, looks dated
- Must earn reader’s tokens before you can publish a story
- Word count limits on free accounts are fairly meager
- Understanding the credit/token system can be a little confusing
There are so many options now for where to publish a book online and get paid. With some research, you can find the perfect platform, and start getting paid for your work!
Author bio: Heather R. Parker is a freelance writer, editor, and poet from Georgia. Her work has been published by Nightingale & Sparrow Magazine, Goats Milk Magazine, Analog Submissions Press, Between Shadows Press, Friday Flash Fiction, Clover & Bee Magazine, 365 Tomorrows, Entropy Squared, and others. In her spare time, you can find her doing yoga, taking long walks in the woods, birdwatching, or picking flowers in sun-dappled meadows. You can follow Heather’s writing on Instagram and Fictionate.Me.