The 12 Best Tools To Use Before Self-Publishing A Book


Guest Post

Publishing a book using traditional publishers can be intimidating for new and established writers alike. They are known for rejecting even the best of plots (take Harry Potter for example!).

However, with the rise of the ebook and the availability of publishing tools, it is possible for any author with a great book to make sales. Here are some of the most useful tools available on the internet to help you with self-publishing your novel.

Writing tools

Though you may be comfortable with software such as Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages, there are other products intended solely for writing novels. Writing tools such as Scrivener provide a more intuitive solution that can really simplify the most important part of your self-publishing venture: your book. It has a versatile interface that offers the ability to edit more than one section at once, preview your entire novel, create a corkboard brainstorming area to record all your ideas, and a drag and drop planning area. (Buy your copy here: Scrivener for Windows)

Subplot is another great, inexpensive app offered on the Mac App Store. It is s useful tool for organising the characters, settings, events and plot of your novel. It encourages productivity by allowing authors to set goal deadlines.

Proofreading

No matter how many times you proofread your novel, you’re never 100% sure of its accuracy. Websites like Grammarly can provide a free quality proofreading service.

Checking for plagiarism

You know that your novel is entirely your own. However, checking for unintentional plagiarism is a good idea. Although there are free tools available, they often do not have a database as large as some paid, higher-quality websites. Unplag.com is a plagiarism detection engine that is an easy to use, accurate tool for writers. It can perform checks in less than four seconds across billions of pages and documents on the internet. It can scan all kinds of documents: DOCX, PDF, HTML, the list goes on. This means you can check for plagiarism before formatting your work.

Publishing with Amazon

With a proliferating amount of Kindle-users and Amazon Prime subscribers, Amazon now offers the largest market for authors to publish and sell their work without the need for a third-party publishing company. With regards to ebooks, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is an all-in-one solution for self-publishing authors. It allows anyone to upload a free PDF (in a specific format, see below) and earn revenue in royalties. Although ebooks are becoming popular, there are many readers who are interested exclusively in print copies. Amazon’s Createspace is a convenient solution for authors who do not want to take the risk of pre-ordering print copies. It is an on-demand service that only prints a copy if one is ordered. It also allows the author to have control over the pricing, since Amazon will only take a fixed commission from every sale; the price of the novel is entirely up to you.

Formatting

In order to upload files to websites such as KDP, your novel needs to be in a certain format. Even if you are competent with HTML, formatting an ebook can be a complicated and daunting task. Jutoh is a website that is a flexible formatter for any ebook. It provides formatting for Kindles, iBooks and Google Play. It is easy to use for beginners to formatting. If you are looking for an even cheaper route, there are websites such as elance.com and fiverr.com. These are platforms for freelancers in all fields to offer their skills. Many freelancers are able to edit novels to fit a variety of different formats.

Cover design

Books, and ebooks, are being judged by their covers. It isn’t a secret that better covers deliver higher sales figures. There is a website that saves you from having to learn graphic design from scratch: DiyBookCovers.com. You are able to design the cover you have in mind if you take the time to familiarise yourself with the set-up. Making use of this resource is a significantly cheaper route to take. If you do not have the time to make your own cover, look for services on the freelance websites mentioned above. Freelance cover designers are able to complete jobs for a lower price than professional designers.

Marketing

Without a traditional publishing company behind you, it can be an intimidating task to increase the awareness and popularity of your novel. There are a number of useful tools on the web for Amazon-registered self-published authors. Firstly, there is Amazon Author Central. This provides authors with the all-important social media presence that every entrepreneur must have in the digitalized world of today. It features a ‘Facebook profile page’, offering the ability to upload photos, videos and updates. At Amazon Author Central, you can promote all of your books in order to boost sales in all directions. Readers can subscribe to email notifications for new books: this feature is essential for building a loyal fan base. If you choose to offer your book free for a small period in order to promote sales, there are websites such as Bookbub that will advertise your offer to its millions of subscribers. Though you will not earn anything from these ‘freebie promotions’, it will contribute to the popularity of your book and these high sales will remain even after your book is no longer free.

 by Lynn Usrey. Lynn is a freelance editor and proofreader. She also teaches writing in Orlando, Florida.

This article has 7 comments

  1. Eben

    Will you mind mailing me your article pls. I would like to refer to it over the weeks to come. Thanks Amanda! Ebenvt(at)gmail.com

  2. AC de Fombelle

    Hi!

    Thanks for this useful post. I’ll take the liberty here to talk a bit about StreetLib: it basically does everything mentioned up here. In one single place. No upfront cost and a very little percentage on book sales goes to StreetLib. Which means we are vouching for authors: they succeed, we succeed.

    I hope you’ll take a look. StreetLib is a great place where you can write, edit, format, publish and sell independently your books!

  3. William

    Awesome post. Thanks Lynn.
    I use proofreadingpal and unplag before every publication. But as one of my good friends said those tools only can help you to doublecheck the results they are not a 100% guarantie.

  4. Douglas A. Schwartz

    Wow, I have written many short stories, over the years, I’m seriously thinking about self publishing. Your post is more than helpful . I had no idea where to start. Now, I have a direction. Thank you .

  5. Brian Kaldenberg

    Thanks for the mention!

  6. Elena

    That’s really useful! Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. Emma

    I’d also like to make a suggestion, similar to StreetLib, is Blurb.com

    Pretty much exactly the same but they also do hard copy printing for small runs, you can literally make and order one copy if you wanted 🙂

    After, they can help you sell it etc through their site and Amazon.

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