I have an e-book I want to publish free, ideally I want it published on Amazon but happy to follow the trail to get that done. Can anyone tell me the steps needed to achieve this.
Not trying to discourage you from trying this, but you might find that starting with a WORD document takes up MUCH more time than you thought due to the complexity of setting it up, which is why I write in Markdown and convert that directly to EPUB with software I wrote.You really should try Sigil (free) or Calibre (free), they are both free, can make an EPUB, which you can then upload to Amazon, Smashwords, or somewhere else.
This is not free software: Vellum. However, I used it for my book, and I liked it just fine. It knows all about front matter and back matter, even/odd pages, half-titles, and all that publishing stuff, and creates PDFs and EPUBs.
I'm not going to trash free software, but if you're willing to shell out a few bucks, try Vellum.
Step 1: Prepare
Prepare your manuscript in Microsoft Word or a similar program. KDP supports many formats, but these produce the most consistent results when converted for reading on Kindle devices and apps: Word (DOC / DOCX) HTML Mobi ePub See our Simplified Formatting Guide for more details.
KDP also supports illustrated books like comics or children's books. Learn more about KDP tools for illustrated and chapter books.
Once you upload your manuscript, we'll automatically convert your book for Kindle. To learn more about preparing your book, you can download our official Building Your Book for Kindle guide, or browse our Help topics in the left-hand navigation bar. If you want help formatting your manuscript, you can also contact a professional conversion service.
Tip: Professional editing services are available for titles written in English.
Step 2: Publish
Sign in to KDP with your Amazon account or email address. Enter the required title information (book title, author name, categories, etc.). Use our Cover Creator tool to create your book cover, or upload your own. Verify your rights and territories. Set your prices and publish. Once your book is live, KDP will show you detailed reports to help you track sales and earned royalties.
Step 3: Promote
Check out our merchandising tools. We list your book on Amazon websites to help suggest purchases for customers under page sections like "More Items to Consider…," "Customers with Similar Searches Purchased…," "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…," and "Shopping Cart Recommendations." Enroll your book in KDP Select to earn higher royalties, reach new readers through Kindle Unlimited (Abonnement Kindle in France) and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library and to promote your book with Kindle Countdown Deals or Free Book Promotions. Make your books available in as many formats as possible (print, Kindle, audio). This maximizes web exposure in search results and helps boost our automation and personalization algorithms. Claim your author page on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Readers respond well to short, interesting author bios and clear photographs of the author (not their books). Make sure to link all your books to your page. Get active on social media and blogs but don't limit yourself to promoting your books all the time. Your readers want to know about you as a person. Consider adding a message in your book asking readers to leave reviews if they enjoyed it. You could also include a Q&A with yourself to give readers more information on you. We will automatically provide a link for reviews, but sometimes a personal message can have a big impact. If you have more than one book available, you can include the first chapter of your next book at the end of your current book to whet the reader's appetite. Before you do this, make sure the next book is available for purchase or pre-order.
Amazon.com makes it hard to publish an ebook for free. Generally the lowest price you can set it for is 99 cents. There is a trick to force Amazon to lower the price to zero by uploading to smashwords, which will then distribute to the major ebook stores (Apple, BN, etc) and then pricing those channels to zero. Then notify Amazon.com about the lowest price, which they will generally price match. This works, but sometimes not reliably.
This is another reason to upload first to smashwords. Also, smashwords let you create coupon codes which - if you want -- can be set to free. Also, you can set smashwords price to free as well (though it won't distribute to Amazon as a free item).