National Novel Writing Month is almost upon us, and while your social media feed will probably blow up with various writing tips, I wanted to focus on what to do after the book is finished. Even if you don’t plan on self-publishing, a lot of these writing tools will help land you the traditional publishing contract you so desire.
Most of what follows isn’t free. But none of them are going to break the bank either. And, trust me, they’re worth the investment.
Here are six of the best tools I’ve got in my self publishing toolbox:
This is an essential tool for anyone who wants to self publish. We all recognize the importance of having a professional editor review our books, but if you’re like me, you need a little extra help when it comes to shining up your manuscript before another pair of eyes reads it. It’s also an incredible tool for improving your writing. I can’t tell you how many times I started to write a passive sentence only to double back and fix it before Pro Writing Aid could catch it 🙂
You can try Pro Writing Aid FREE, or you can pay $50/year and receive a desktop version that integrates with MS Word, Scrivener, and more. By doing so, you can run Pro Writing Aid directly through MS Word (for example) and make your changes directly in the document. I’d highly recommend the Pro version.
This is a free plug-in for your website. I stumbled upon it when I was searching YouTube for videos on how to set up a website. You can find it here, or click here for the YouTube video that helped me set up my website.
4. Book Funnel
If you sign up for my newsletter to receive a free book, you’ll be directed to a link that will take you to my Book Funnel page. From there, you can download a copy of my book for any e-reader. And better yet, if your readers have any problems, Book Funnel’s customer service is top notch.
In addition, I’ve used Book Funnel to…well, funnel my WIPs to beta readers for critiques before publication.
Book Funnel’s cost is contingent upon your status as an author. If you’re just starting out, a plan is just $20/year. As your popularity (and profits) grow, your cost increases (but it’s still incredibly reasonable).
There are a few popular email marketing services out there, but I think it’s safe to say that MailChimp is the most popular. It’s not the easiest to learn to use, but once you learn (via YouTube, playing around with it, Google, etc), it actually does a lot. Not only that, but like Book Funnel, its price is based upon how many subscribers you have. (Interested in my newsletter? Join here now!)
Vellum is one of my favorite tools in my tool box. While it’s only for Mac, I’ve gone as far as to recommend that friends purchase a Mac simply for the ability to use Vellum.
So what is it? Vellum is a book formatting program. All you do is upload your book file (I use .docx) and voila! It creates beautiful ebook and/or paperback files for you. From there, you can customize the look and then simply upload the file to the selling platform of choice. Seriously, it’s that easy.
At $250 it’s the priciest of my tools (there is a cheaper option available but the ability to create ebooks and paperbacks is worth the higher price).1. Scrivener
Scrivener is pretty popular among writers, and for good reason. When I initially purchased it years ago, I’m not going to lie: I didn’t use it much. I found the learning curve too steep. But when I decided I was going to learn how to plot books, I realized not only the ability of Scrivener to keep track of my story, but the wonderful, incredible, amazing usefulness of Scrivener to keep track of all my research as well.
Now I use it exclusively.
Scrivener costs just $45 — do it! 🙂
When I first wanted to self publish, I had no clue where to start. If you’re interested in how I learned what I know (and how I continue to learn), please feel free to contact me here.
What programs or tools do you use? Comment below!
(I’m an affiliate of some of these recommended programs and will receive a small percentage of any sales)