Xulon Press, one of the leaders in Christian self-publishing, has announced what it is calling a first-of-its-kind free book publishing program for the faith-based market. Through FreeChristianPublishing.com, writers will be able to prep their manuscripts for print and e-book publication at no charge. Xulon will make its money from the new venture through printing copies to order, and up-selling such other services as marketing and promotion. The website will go live next month, with print-ready PDFs being accepted for automated checking and processing. A do-it-yourself system that will guide writers through formatting their manuscript for production—including access to a selection of free stock covers—will follow later in the year, or early in 2014.

“We have been talking about this concept for a while,” said Chad Nykamp, Xulon v-p and general manager. “Xulon has a long life as a high-end, high-service, high-touch publisher, where we serve a certain segment, but there were a lot of authors we just couldn't help because the price was out of their range.” The new service will enable Xulon to break out its existing packages—which range from $1,699 to $4,999—into a la carte options. In addition to printing and distribution, Xulon services include editorial help, press releases, and video trailers.

While free formatting options exist in the general market, until now there has not been anything available for the faith-based market. The process “not only provides (authors) the ultimate level of control over their publishing journey, but also dramatically lowers the cost of bringing a book to market,” said Nykamp. Xulon is on track to publish around 3,000 titles this year.