One of the many benefits of being an indie author is that your start-up costs are low and your equipment needs are minimal. With just an internet connection and a basic word processor, you can write a best-selling novel.
That said, there’s also a lot that goes into writing and publishing a book, and it can sometimes be daunting. Luckily there are plenty of online tools to help you out with everything from editing to cover design.
Here’s a list of the top ten free online tools for indie authors:
Grammarly is fantastic for picking up missing words, comma misplacements, and general grammatical errors. You can upgrade to the paid version if you want to use all of their tools – including a Microsoft Word add-in and a Chrome extension, but the free online version will still pick up a lot of your mistakes.
Like all automated grammar checkers, Grammarly isn’t a replacement for an editor, and it won’t pick up every single error. It will make proofreading a little easier and catch some mistakes for you before you begin a full proofread.
Draft is an online document editor that has several advantages over Google Docs. It’s designed specifically for writers and among other things offers impressive version control, collaboration and some automatic editing tools that help make your writing the best it can be.
If you need a hand with your copy-editing, they also have a pretty low-cost editing option available where real people will assist you at the click of a button!
4thewords is another online document editor, with a difference! It’s a writing game where you battle monsters and undertake quests via your daily word count. It’s a great way to motivate yourself to write on a daily basis, and there’s plenty of choice in terms of monsters and quests. You can win a battle with as few as 50 words – or challenge yourself and aim for over 1,000 depending on your personal target.
Ditch the time-sucking games and play 4thewords, your productivity is bound to skyrocket! It’s free for the first 30 days after which if you want to keep playing, there’s a monthly fee of less than $5.
Many authors find mind mapping incredibly useful for planning out their series or standalone novels. Mindmeister is a user-friendly mind mapping tool that comes in very handy when you’re creating your plot or brainstorming for your next book.
It’s free for up to 3 current mindmaps, and it has a simple, easy to use interface that makes it a dream to work with.
Hemingway is a great editing compliment to Grammarly, as it will point out wordy sentences, adverbs, complex words, and the passive voice. The online editor is free to use, and it will help you strengthen your writing by making it clearer and simpler to read.
It also helps make your writing stronger by highlighting all those pesky adverbs that can indicate you’re telling too often instead of showing. You get the chance to swap them out for more powerful words that will keep your readers hooked.
If you’re designing your own covers, or want to create posts for social media, Canva is one of the easiest to use free tools available. You can use Canva’s free images, or upload your own images or purchased stock images into Canva to create your graphics.
There are templates available for all kinds of graphics so that even the most design-challenged among us can create beautiful graphics with ease.
When it’s time to write your blurb, you’ll want to be sure you’re using the right keywords to make sure that readers can find your book easily. You can use any of the free keyword tools to do this, but this Keyword Tool is designed specifically to identify keywords from Amazon searches.
The free version doesn’t give you all the data behind the keywords, but it will help you identify a list of words and phrases that readers are searching for. You can use Moz’s keyword tool to do a little further research if you want to see some general search data.
A well-nurtured mailing list is the marketing lifeblood for many authors, and MailChimp is one of the most widely used free email options for a good reason. It’s free up to 2,000 subscribers, has features to assist with GDPR compliance, and an easy to use interface.
It makes keeping your readers informed about new releases a doddle.
If you’re managing your own social media, then you’ll want to be able to schedule posts in advance. Hootsuite makes it easy to schedule all your posts in advance, meaning that you can get on with writing safe in the knowledge that your followers are getting regular updates without you needing to break your flow.
You can use Hootsuite’s free plan to schedule posts to up to three social profiles, and it’s compatible with all the major social media platforms.
Reedsy Book Editor
Reedsy Book Editor is an excellent free tool for formatting your ebook. You can write your book directly into the Book Editor, or simply paste it in later and use the tool for formatting only. It produces wonderfully clean documents that will work with any indie publishing service and will work for both Windows and Mac users, as it’s a web-based tool.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but the ten tools listed here can help self-published authors produce even better books, even on a tight budget.
If you’re looking for ways to increase the income from your self-published books without spending a fortune on paid promotions, don’t forget to check out Babelcube’s translation service. Babelcube opens up your books to a global market, by connecting self-published authors with translators. Even better, you can have your self-published books translated with no upfront cost, and Babelcube will handle all of the distribution.
Babelcube offers authors and publishers the opportunity to sell their books in additional languages with a simple process and no upfront cost or financial risk.
Most books are only in one language due to the upfront cost of translation, struggles to find a translator, and complexities of working with retailers in different countries. Babelcube removes these barriers. Translators are paid via a share of royalties—creating a true partnership.
Babelcube is the easiest way to translate and sell a book in multiple languages. Book publishers and self-published authors team up with translators. The translated books are sold through 100s of retailers.
Check it out at Babelcube.