Writing & Publishing For Yourself:
Listed below you will find all the online links for free resources, publishing platforms and tools, the very same ones I use – everything I recommend you also make use of when formatting, publishing and promoting yourself as an author.
All of the downloadable PC tools are non-nagware, with no hidden or attached advertising on installation, and unlimited future use. Some of the websites display ads to make their own revenue, but they are not intrusive, and do not in any way affect your work.
Make sure your reading app is set to always receive the latest version of the eBook when synching, so as not to miss out on technical revisions.
Latest ebook version: Updated 14 November 01.30 GMT
- Free bonus material (to be added regularly) for Writing & Publishing For Yourself are linked to via this additional page: BONUS CHAPTERS
Links to tools and resources are highlighted below in blue:
General advice on acceptable content for all distribution: Read first
- Publishing content policy (as issued by Kobo, applicable to all publishers and distribution platforms)
- List of copyright lengths by country (via Wiki)
Publishing platforms: Ebooks
- Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing, free, via Amazon account. Distribution: Amazon Kindle, Kindle app users)
- Smashwords (set up a free publishing account. Distribution: Smashwords website, Premium Catalog option including Barnes & Noble/Nook, Apple iBooks, Kobo/Sony, Gardners Books, Scribd, Oyster, Inktera, Baker & Taylor, Overdrive)
- Lulu (set up a free publishing account. Distribution: Lulu website, extended distribution option including Ingram CoreSource, Amazon Kindle, Nook, Apple iBooks, Kobo)
- Kobo Writing Life (set up a free publishing account. Distribution: Kobo, former Sony account users, Kobo app users)
- Amazon Createspace (via Amazon account, includes distribution to Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and extended reach)
- Lulu (via publishing account. Mainstream and extended reach distribution options available, as well as author-only purchases)
- Createspace interior templates (download, no account required)
- Lulu interior templates (download, no account required)
- OpenOffice (download, Writer and other tools – no account required)
- doPDF (download, for exporting larger illustrated files as PDF from Word and other programs – no account required)
- Zamzar file converter (can reformat older documents to meet current needs – in-browser, no account required, email required only to receive re-download document link when done)
- Mobipocket (download, Reader and Creator for previewing mobi files, no account required)
- Adobe Digital Editions (download, for previewing epub files, no account required)
- Createspace cover template for full wraparound paperback covers (customise trim size, paper stock and page count for spine-width calculated template download, no account required)
- Library of copyright-free photo-sharing download sites (100+) including Morgue File etc (list curated by Jonathan Gunson. Various account & non-account necessary types, check website descriptions – e.g. Morgue File: no account necessary)
- OpenOffice (Draw tools, downloads with Writer)
- Zamzar (reformats image files to specification, in-browser, no account required, email required only to receive re-download link)
- Picasa (download, no account required)
- Pixlr Editor (in-browser, no account required)
- 3D book cover templates (search results for options available – click on any selected ‘View Image’ to open in browser full-size, then right-click and save the chosen image/template to your computer)
- Amazon Createspace to publish and sell audiobook MP3 downloads and CDs on demand (via Amazon account)
- Youtube (via free Google account)
- Soundcloud (audio equivalent, account required, free unless upgraded – can log in with Facebook)
- Audacity (download, no account required – you will also need to download their LAME MP3 converter when and where prompted by the program in use)
- Zamzar (in-browser, reformats media files to specification, no account required, email required only to receive re-download link)
- FreeMusicArchive (copyright-free & Creative Commons non-profit music library, no account required to preview and download music)
- SweetSoundEffects (sound FX library curated by Zach King, no account required, email required only to receive links to download FX zip folders to unzip to your computer files for unlimited use)
Useful video tutorials on Youtube:
- Recovering lost/deleted documents and files
- Introduction to using Audacity
- Identifying your USP (Unique Selling Point) to stand out in the marketplace – Evan Carmichael on book promotion for free
Blogging as an author:
- Amazon Author Central – UK or USA etc (free, via Amazon account. Available to authors after publishing, to set up public Amazon author pages/profiles in most Amazon website sales regions. Must be set up on every regional Author Central site to appear on each Amazon sales site. Can include a bio, profile picture, and sometimes author video content)
- eBookSoda – curated by Shalini Boland – reader-defined daily email book promotion list (no account required)
- Twitter – set up an account and use hashtags in Tweets to promote your writing when sharing blog or sales links to your work, e.g. #amwriting, #SampleSunday, #amreading, #ebooks, #ASMSG (Authors’ Social Media Support Group)
- Google Plus (via free Google account) – use hashtags in public posts, as above
- WeTransfer (free, no account required) – do you need to send a very large memory-size illustrated PDF or document review copy by email and having problems? WeTransfer is a free service which sends your friend or reviewer a download link instead of an attachment, which might otherwise be rejected or sent directly to spam. It’s completely secure and the download link they receive can’t be re-shared. You can send files of up to 2GB for free. Just add your document in the instruction box on the homepage, the email address to deliver it to, your own email address, and any message to the recipient before uploading – all in one easy step. (Any folders containing multiple items will need to be compressed/zipped before uploading).
- Facebook – set up a free Facebook account, author page and events
- Goodreads – set up a Goodreads account and apply for upgrade to author profile after publishing (both free)
(N.B: Setting up of professional advertising slots/promotions on Facebook and Goodreads is not free, but you can limit and set controls for the budget and your schedule’s duration)
Further useful information:
- Registering a trademark (standard costs will be incurred)
- NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, free) – annual motivational worldwide writing event with online and in-person peer support group branches available
- The International Rubery Book Award (standard entry fee applies) – open to self-published authors, who can enter more than one book if desired. Annual contest.
- Amazon Studios (free, via Amazon account – for feedback on completed screenplays and consideration for paid options by Amazon Prime media production teams, mainstream studio collaborations etc)
- Raindance (fees for courses and workshops, various) – free subscription to newsletter available. Teaches screenwriting, directing, film-maker skills and producing in central London, UK. Also runs the annual Raindance indie International Film Festival – all independent film-makers welcome.
- London Book Fair (register interest for email updates) – annual industry event which includes Author HQ, a section dedicated to advice and opportunities for authors. Standard ticket fees apply for attendance. Email newsletter and updates are free.
- Brussels Annual Festivals calendar – (type and attendance costs vary) – a great place to research arts and culture from around the world, Brussels is fairly local if you are UK-based. The film festivals, for example, have diversified hugely and are scattered throughout the year. Festivals range from music, art, dance, fashion, circus skills, chocolate – you name it.
- FanFiction.net (free platform for reading and posting fan-fiction stories and chapters, account required.to upload content) – good for peer feedback on your writing skill. Read their advice about acceptable material upon signing up.
- Wattpad (free to read and post stories online, account required to read and/or add content) – includes both fan fiction and original stories, so more diverse than FanFiction.net but otherwise very similar. Can log in with Facebook. Popular with published authors at all levels, seeking new readers and feedback.
- Kindle Textbook Creator and Kindle Kids’ Book Creator (downloads, free) – allows you to customise and embed content for multimedia tablets. I’ve had a play with Textbook Creator and it’s fairly simple to use. Remember that your content will not reach customers with the older basic e-readers.
- Kindle reader apps – UK or USA/worldwide (downloads, free)
- Kobo reader apps (downloads, free)
N.B. Reminder – If your device or reading apps do not automatically synch the latest versions of this eBook, you may be missing out on new technical content and information. Check with Customer Services that you have the newest version available delivered to your reader.
Writing & Publishing For Yourself: The Indie Author Handbook, Self-Publishing Toolkit, and Staying Sane Survival Guide (or ‘The Adventures of an I.T. Helpdesk’) by Lisa Scullard