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The Ultimate Guide to Self-Publishing with Pencil

Being an indie author, I’m always eager to learn about new self-publishing platforms. So when I heard about Pencil, which calls itself ‘the world’s first free publishing platform,’ I was curious to know more. When I had the opportunity to find details about this new service for self-publishers, I snatched it. Given below are the details sent to me by the Pencil staff. In their own words, here’s how this platform can help authors:


If you want to be a published author, your work doesn’t stop at completing the manuscript. In fact, writing a book is the easiest part of being an author. You still need to do a lot of work to get your book published and attract readership for it.

However, thanks to the rise of the self-publishing platforms, getting your book published is easier and less time-consuming now. The publishing industry has adapted and expanded to fit the needs of the independent writers. Pencil is one such online platform that can help you publish your book and release it in the market quickly and easily.

ultimate guide to self publishing on pencil app

What does Pencil offer to the self-publishers?

Pencil is a DIY Publishing Platform that can also help you deliver your books worldwide in Paperback and eBook formats.

Pencil provides you with writing and publishing services. In the free-publishing option, you use the publisher’s online platform to complete the entire process of book publishing by yourself. You edit, proofread, paginate, and even design the cover of the book. In this type of self-publishing service provided by Pencil, you can publish your book for free and it will be available across 400+ retailers globally in eBook and paperback format. However, it is noteworthy that Pencil also provides services such as editing and cover designing that you can purchase if you want.

On Pencil, it takes about 1-2 days to get your book published and the copyrights remain with the author. Once published, authors receive a royalty of 50% of the net receipts in case of other retailers and 70% of the MRP in case of sales on Pencil’s reader app. Writers who wish to publish their manuscript at no-cost and have their book receive maximum exposure can opt to self-publish with Pencil. The free self-publishing with Pencil can be highly beneficial for the writers who are starting out and have a limited budget. It is not only zero cost, but also very easy.

How to self-publish on Pencil?

Publishing on Pencil only takes 6 easy steps:

1. Create an Account

Visit www.thepencilapp.com and sign up on the writing platform for free. If you have already signed up with Pencil, then you can simply log in. You can use your Google or Facebook account to sign up, or simply register with your email ID. Once your account is created, you will be able to access your author dashboard. Here are the prominent options that you will be able to access:

  • Start writing – either a book or a short story
  • Access your published works or your saved drafts
  • Pencil Prompts – writing prompts to help you get started
  • Tools for checking revenue statistics and reader analytics
  • Notifications
  • Profile Page
  • Recommended Books

2. Add Manuscript

When you begin writing, you are directed to thePencil writing platform that allows you two options:

  • Create your manuscript: You can directly write on the writing platform on Pencil. It allows you to input important sections of the book, format and edit your writing, have an overview of your updated draft, and even make notes on the side to access when necessary. Your draft is automatically saved and can be accessed by you anytime.
  • Transfer your manuscript: You can simply add your ready manuscript and format it using the Pencil Editor before moving ahead to publish.

Before moving on to the next step, make sure you edit your manuscript as thoroughly as possible. You can use various self-editing techniques, or even avail Pencil’s Professional Editing services for a nominal fee as well.

3. Add Book Information

Here, you are required to input essential details about your book that will go into the book and will help market it after publishing. These details include title, author, subtitle, genre, sub-genre, back blurb, and keywords.

Out of all these details, make sure to give enough attention to crafting the back blurb and in choosing the keywords. These will attract interested readers and help market your book to the right audience. Additionally, pay attention to your title as well since a good title will ensure that readers look through your blurb.

While crafting the keywords, remember that these will be providing information that is additional to your title and book description. Be concise in delivering the relevant words that will help readers find your book based on their interests.

4. Design a Book Cover

Pencil provides you with three options in going ahead with a book cover:

  • Upload a book cover of your own: You will have to upload one that will fit the 5×8 dimension
  • Use a cover from one of the available ready-to-use beautiful free templates on the platform

In either of the two cases, the spine and the back blurb will be auto-generated to fit within the chosen cover. Moreover, you can:

  • Avail Pencil’s Premium Designing services for a nominal fee

The right book cover also helps determine reader interest in looking through your book. Take your time to research and pick the ideal cover to ensure you package your book well before publishing it.

Set Price and Distribute

Using Pencil, your book will be available for sale globally on all major retailer platforms in eBook and paperback formats. At this stage in self-publishing on Pencil, you can choose to publish in either eBook or paperback – or in both formats! If your page count is less than 50 however, you can only publish your work as an eBook.

Pencil’s price recommendation tool suggests the optimal price that you can set for your book to earn better royalty. The tool allows you to see the percentage of royalty you will receive depending on the price you set. As per this, you can choose the price you wish to set for your book. In case your book sells on the Pencil reader app, you will receive 70% of the MRP as royalty. In case of other retailers, you will get 50% of the net receipts as royalty.

Once surpassing this stage, you book will be ready to publish and distribute. When you publish on Pencil, your book is available across 16 countries and global regions on 400+ platforms with major retailers like iBooks, Flipkart, Amazon, Google Play books, Pencil, and Kobo in eBook and paperback format.

Get. Set. Publish.

Before finally moving on to publish, you have to sign your author agreement with Pencil digitally. Confirm your bank account details and add a valid ID proof. Preview your details and then confirm – once you do, your book will go on to become live across the globe on all major platforms for millions of readers to access.

Pencil book publishing is the first of its kind that allows you to self-publish digitally for free in both eBook and paperback formats to readers worldwide. While getting your manuscript published can seem intimidating and sometimes even difficult, with a suitable platform that provides you with all the right tools – you no longer need to worry about the ‘if’s and ‘but’s of publishing. Write the story that causes a revolution in your heart and give it a go!


Check out Jyoti Arora’s Books

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Author Jyoti Arora's website and books

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5 Comments

  1. Hey, Jyoti can u just show me Ur sample of book how it looks after published I have used notion press they are very good,
    Want to check out pencil for international sellers I want to check the quality of paperback version if u have pics please ping me on authorsaurabhjadhav@gmail.com

    With pics and nice article thank you 😊