Self-Publishing Tools to Get You Started

Self-Publishing Tools to Get You Started

Writing in this modern world comes with as many positives as it does negatives. On one hand, authors have more responsibility than ever before. Research, marketing, finance… there are lots of tasks to perform, skills to learn, and bridges to cross.

Conversely, there are more opportunities and tools available than at any point in history. People around the world can make a living as a writer and can utilize state-of-the-art technology in pursuit of their dreams.

That all being said, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the breadth of it all. So, to help with your journey, here are three tools to lighten your load and make life more manageable.

Research

Has there ever been a more crucial time to research your writing?

No matter if you create online content, or write books, research can make or break your project.

There’s such an abundance of writing out there that thorough research is one of the best ways to make your work stand out, boost its credibility, and increase the value it provides to those who read it.

For writers who grew up in the age of the internet, it’s hard to imagine how tough things used to be. The opportunities are to find quality information, and make use of it in writing projects, were a lot more limited.

If you want to make the most of the blessing that is the modern research environment, here are a few tools that can help:

  • Wolfram Alpha. Sometimes you want facts, reliable facts, and nothing but the facts. If that sounds like you, check out Wolfram Alpha. You can use it to get the information you need for your writing without having to wade through questionable search results.
  • Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is a special resource and can be used in several ways. Writers of historical fiction or nonfiction can use it to get hands on with the literature and language of past eras. It’s also an incredible opportunity for writers who use intertextuality.
  • Title Generators. Have you ever felt at a total loss of what to write about? Sometimes, to nudge your research in the right direction, you need a shot of inspiration. Using a title generator can help you to think of an angle or perspective which then informs your writing research process.
  • Google Keep. If you’re like a lot of writers, and creative people in general, you might feel more capable of expressing yourself in the moment rather than storing and using a large amount of information. Apps such as Google Keep, and Evernote allow you to capture flashes of inspiration before they float away forever.
  • A physical notebook. Tools don’t have to be digital. There are a lot of benefits to jotting down your research by hand. If you’ve become used to the digital world, give a physical notebook a try to see if you enjoy the experience.

No matter which research tool you decide to use, always keep its purpose in mind. Don’t research for the sake of it. Make sure it will strengthen your writing and add value for your intended reader.

Writing

While it’s true that specialist writing tools aren’t essential to produce great work, they can help!

From word processors designed to meet the needs of writers just like you, through to invaluable self-editing resources, there are many helping hands available than ever before.

Here is a selection of some of the best writing tools out there, along with some tips on making them work for you.

  • Scrivener. If you write novels, Scrivener is an invaluable writing tool for you. Plenty of reputable authors use it for all types of writing, but its complexity and learning curve mean it’s a smart choice for complex writing projects in particular.
  • Google Docs. Google Docs is one of the best writing tools out there. It’s powerful, customizable, and cloud-based. It’s also amazing for collaboration.
  • yWriter. If you want a free alternative to Scrivener, check out yWriter. It’s been created by a novelist, so you can use it safe in the knowledge that is has the needs of authors firmly in mind.
  • Grammarly. It’s hard to imagine how many writers have been helped by Grammarly. The free version is an incredible resource, and the paid option takes things to another level. It doesn’t just fix your mistakes – it gives you self-awareness as a writer, showcasing your weaknesses and illuminating a path to improvement.

Take the time to choose a selection of writing tools that are a good fit for your intended usage, process, and budget. Just make sure that selecting and learning tools doesn’t become a form of procrastination… tools are there to serve your writing, rather than distract from it.

Marketing

Regardless of whether you love or hate the need to market your work, it’s undeniably true.

The level of marketing required changes from writer to writer. Freelance content creators might need to maintain an impressive profile on a site such as Upwork, for example. Self-published authors might need to envision and execute a complex marketing plan.

No matter the type of marketing you need to carry out, there is a useful tool out there for you. Here are a few of the best.

  • Hootsuite. Social media is a great way to connect with readers and fellow writers, get the word out about your work, and establish yourself as a writer. It can also be a soul-destroying game of whack a mole, engineered to be addictive and keep you in a state of reactivity. To retain the benefits of social media, while eliminating the downsides, use an app like Hootsuite. It will massively boost your social media efficiency, allowing you more time to write.
  • Royalties Calculator. Sometimes, the financial side of writing can be a source of stress and paralyze our writing efforts. If you invest in marketing without having a financial plan in place, you end up wasting money and not seeing any real ROI. Calculating your royalties can be a helpful first step in formulating the rest of your marketing plan.
  • G Suite. Maybe you can tell by the fact a Google tool has cropped up in every section that I’m a huge fan of what they do. I’ve found a lot of writers aren’t aware of Google Suite. You can manage your author emails with all the ease and powerful features of Gmail and Google Drive. What’s not to love?

For a lot of writers, marketing is a pain point, for others it’s an interesting and useful field to get immersed in. No matter which side of the divide you fall on, using the right tools will make your marketing a lot more efficient and effective.

The Right Options For You

If you have the luxury of time, use it to find the right combination of writing tools for you. Experiment and find a combination that benefits your process and provides an enjoyable experience.

Alternatively, reach out to your writer network. Ask a writer you admire what their process and toolkit looks like, and copy it or yourself. You can always make adjustments along the way.

As stressful as the modern writing world can be, it also has a lot of blessings. Seek them and make your writing life that little bit easier.

Is Self-Publishing Right for Me?

Is Self-Publishing Right for Me?

Before examining if self-publishing your own book is right for you, it is first important to familiarize yourself with self-publishing, namely what it is. Self-publishing involves writing, developing, and selling a book without the assistance of a third-party publishing company. Book authors are responsible for writing a book, editing a book, and finding a company to print the book, as well as selling the book. Self-published authors typically sell their books on their own websites, or they approach retailers, both on and offline.
As for whether self-publishing a book is the right option for you, there are some signs that you will want to look for. A few signs that self-publishing may be your best option are highlighted below for your convenience.

Sign #1 – You Have Received Multiple Rejection Letters
What it is first important to understand about the publishing process is that few authors receive offers from publishers on their first, second, or even third try. In fact, some authors try fifty times or more to get just one book published before they receive an offer.
As a good rule to set for yourself, be sure to send your manuscript to as many publishers as you can, especially those that are looking for what you have, such as an environmentally themed children’s book or a science fiction novel. When there are no more publishers left, consider self-publishing.

Sign #2 – Despite Rejection Letters You Still Believe You Have a Good Book
Self-publishing is a wise choice for many, but for others, it can be a costly mistake. Before deciding to go ahead with self-publishing a book, it is important to make sure that you are fully behind your book. Do you honestly and truly believe in your heart that you have a good book on your hands? If you do, self-publishing may be for you.

Sign #3 – You Have a Book with Limited Readers
When many of us think of publishing a book, we automatically think of captivating stories. Fiction books are not the only types of books written, although they do typically have the largest audiences. If you have authored a how-to book or a guide on a specific area that is likely to only draw in a few readers, self-publishing may be your best option. Many well-known publishers stay away from books that only have small target audiences.

Sign #4 – You Want to Retain the Largest Profit
Self-published authors stand the best chance of making the biggest profit. This is because they do not take publishing fees out of their profits. With that said, it is important to remember that self-publishing is not free. You will have to pay to have your books developed in print, but that fee is typically smaller than the cut that many well-known publishers take. There are always ways that you can save money with self-publishing, like by printing on demand, as opposed to a large quantity of books on hand.
Of course, it is important to remember that just because you want to make money; it doesn’t mean that you will. If you want to make the most money with a self-published book, you have to do the proper amount of marketing.

It is important to remember that there are several pros and cons to self-publishing. With that being said, self-publishing may be the best option for you. If you truly believe that you have a book that will sell, I encouraged you to closely examine self-publishing, as you have nothing to lose by doing so.

Ready to get your book on the market? We recommend Aarden Press, an indie publishing co-op, to help get your book to market.