We all need some help. Here are 7 of the best free tools to help with your book publishing and promoting.
The following list of free tools are the ones I use almost every day; so I can vouch for their usefulness. There are so many aspects of being a self-published author that it is sometimes hard to count the number of hats we need to wear. We have to write, format, design, publish, promote, market, blog and then find time to connect with our readers.
Hopefully, these free tools will save you a lot of time and give you more time for what you do best. Write.
My 7 best and most useful free tools.
1. Calibre: Without a doubt, Calibre is the number one tool every author must have. It does everything you could need to do when it comes to ebook creation and converting. It is also an ebook reader, ebook library and can sync to e-reading devices. For those with a little technical skill, you can also edit html, epub and AZW3 (Kindle) or mobi.
2. Google Keyword Suggest Tool: Finding seven highly effective keywords to use on Amazon and other book and ebook retailers can be laborious and time-consuming. Not only that, it can be very hit and miss unless you have access to Amazon customer searches. While this free online tool is called Google, it has a trick up its sleeve. There is a setting for Amazon. So don’t pay for expensive software to access Amazon’s search data. You can access it for free!
3. Grammarly: (Free & Paid) I don’t know what I would do without Grammarly. It is by far the best and most popular online grammar and spell checker. It can be used within its standalone app, with MS Office and with plugins for most browsers, including Safari and Chrome. The free version works very well, and I used it quite happily for a year or more. But I upgraded to the paid version a little while back, and couldn’t be happier. It has saved my bacon so many times.
4. SERP Checker: What is SERP? Search Engine Results Page. So why is this a useful tool? If you have a blog or website and you are promoting your books or your author brand, SERP results are vital in knowing where your pages and posts rank on Google. With a little tweaking of your SEO, you can try to improve your ranking and then track it with this free tool.
5. ImageOptim: This is a free software application for Mac and Linux users. It reduces the size of images before using on blogs or websites by using drag-and-drop. Quick, easy and very efficient. (Windows user can try FileOptimizer.)
6. Ebook Tracker: A quick and easy tool to track your ebook sales, price and ranking on Amazon. It saves a lot of time, particularly if you have a number of titles, as hunting page by page on Amazon is far too slow.
7. GIMP: Working with images is a regular task for authors now. But Photoshop is very expensive, so GIMP is a free open source alternative that works exceedingly well on all platforms. For those new to image editing, it will be a learning curve, but no more so than for Photoshop or any other image software. For Mac users, there is also Seashore, which I now use.
There are many more free applications and online tools for self-publishing authors, and apart from my favourites listed above, I use quite a few more that help save me time. Sure, not everything is free nowadays, and if and when I am convinced a tool, application or online service is worth paying for, I will.
However, most of the online tools and applications a self-publishing author needs to use each day are available for free.