Book Review: How to Write, Format, Publish and Promote Your Book Without Spending Any Money

How to Write, Format, Publish and Promote your Book (Without Spending Any Money) by [Murphy, Derek]

Over the past several years, I’ve built a handful of tools to help indie authors publish better looking books without spending a fortune. Most of them are free resources that will increase the quality of your finished book and save you a lot of money. This book is an introduction to some ways to publish on the cheap, DIY style.

This book will save you time and money, while increasing the quality of your finished book.

Publishing a book, but not sure where to start?

DEREK MURPHY has been a book cover designer, writing coach and publishing consultant for almost a decade, helping thousands of authors put their books out into the world.

In WRITE, FORMAT, PUBLISH, PROMOTE Derek reveals the free or low-cost tools, tips and strategies that successful authors can use to get an edge – drastically cutting costs from the expenses of book publishing.

Learn how to…

    • WRITE faster and finish more books
    • EDIT your book by identifying common errors
    • FORMAT for print and eBook, with free templates
    • PUBLISH your book and put it up for sale
    • PROMOTE your book with powerful marketing tricks


Update: This book was written a few years ago, and I’ve updated it for 2016. However since then I’ve started doing video tutorials and sharing free book design templates. My YouTube channel has almost 300,000 views from all the authors using my tutorials to learn about book design, publishing and marketing. So you should check that out, or visit my main site,, to see all the latest publishing hacks I’ve discovered.

Quality of Content

  • Since this is a nonfiction book, the actual quality of the content lies in how well the book is put together, and how valid the information is.  I have an older copy – from 2014 – which means some of the information is a touch dated.  Keeping that in mind, I will say that most of the information remains valid and highly usable.  It is geared toward brand new authors who haven’t done much, except maybe dabble in writing anything longer than a flash fiction piece, or possibly a short story.  However, there is a TON of good information in here for authors who have been running the marathon of publishing who just can’t seem to get anywhere in the game.Each section is well defined, and definitely on point.  There were a few sections that I read through, and felt myself tuning out – specifically about how to structure the writing project.  Derek is what is known as a “plotter” – someone who outlines their project to some degree.  In the first section, writers known as “pansters” – those who write by the seat of their pants without an outline or other type of pre-story structuring – may find things a bit hard to swallow.  However, persevering through the section gets into material useful to every type of author.There are a couple of places where Derek gets on a soap box about what to pay for and what not to pay for, then he promptly explains how to do the work yourself (with many caveats about how difficult it can be.)  This brings me to the second spot I skimmed – the section on using Scrivner for writing and/or formatting your final book file.  I use Word exclusively, so this section didn’t apply to me.  It will probably apply to others, while the section on Word won’t.  The layout makes skimming these two sections easy, so you can focus on the writing program of your choice.

Usefulness of Content

  • No, this isn’t a repetition of the above section.  As time passes, and information becomes dated, the usefulness of the information can begin to decline.  However, the way this book is put together, along with the simple definitions Derek uses means almost all the information provided remains valid.  About the only thing I saw as I read through that wasn’t valid any more was under promotions, when Derek talked about paid reviews – especially on Amazon.  With the changes Amazon is making with the way reviews are/are not accepted, the push to use paid review sites will lead readers down a very toxic path.  (I’m not sure if this has been updated in the newer edition, or not.  I hope so, since Derek continues to do well in all of his marketing projects.)There were several things later in the book, which were not only new to me, but also excellent tips and meaningful advice.  Derek really manages to make his point about how/when to market, and then how to get back to what writers do best – write.  For someone who has no idea what to do in the marketing game, not only were these pieces eye opening, they seemed to also manage to turn on the “Ah, so THAT’S what everyone is talking about!” light bulb.  Now, I get to see if I can figure out how to actually apply the concepts.  Too many times, the ones that appear simple are deceptively so, and much harder to put into practice.


  • Most nonfiction that I’ve come across – from class text books to informative blog posts – tend to be dry, boring, and leave me guzzling my drink as if I had just come out of the Sahara Desert.  While that may be changing slowly, Derek is far ahead of the curve.  Not only is this book informative, it’s presented in a chatty, “Glad to meet you” tone.  Not quite like reading a fiction book, but very close.  Many of the ideas (short of the actual how to sections) had personal observations and/or stories relevant to the material (something Derek highly recommends for ALL nonfiction, by the way) which made this a fun read.

Overall score?  5 out of 5 paws from this pukah.  Informative, fun, worth returning to again and again for references and ideas.  If you’re new to the author world, or someone who’s been in the race for a while, but constantly lost in the long tail, I’d highly recommend this book – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I strongly recommend you head over to Amazon Here and pick up a copy for yourself.  There’s a lot of information, along with links to even MORE help hidden between these covers!


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