Need some in help in publishing your book? As most writers know, writing their novel is only the first step in the long, rocky road to self-publication (I would like to say that if you’ve already written your novel, then congratulations – at least some of the hard work is over!).
Once your novel’s written, it’s got to be edited, and re-edited and proof-read, and then formatted and a cover designed. Then it’s got to be uploaded to Amazon or iBooks or Kobo or wherever. Then you’ve got to worry about keywords and categories and writing an epic book description and finding reviewers. Then you’ve got to think about marketing the bloody thing, organising launches, running promotions, actually getting sales. I haven’t even touched on the rigmarole that is then turning your eBook into print or an audiobook.
I’m probably preaching to the crowd here but we’re all conscious of the fact that you have to put a lot of time and effort into producing a professional product. And all of this costs money. Yes, there are ways of getting your book edited for free, or finding somewhere to promote for free but searching out these low-cost options will cost you your time and that’s a much more precious resource – you don’t get any more of it when you’ve run out, for starters!
Luckily, I’ve come up with five low cost or free sites which will help you during the writing, publishing and promotion of your novel (or non-fiction book – these sites work just as well for non-fic as they do for fiction). You’ve probably heard of most of them but may not have realised quite how they could work in helping you with your writing. Puzzle no longer and read on…
WRITING YOUR BOOK
Google Maps – FREE
Eh? I hear you cry. What have Google Maps got to do with writing a book? Well, easy really – if you’re setting your novel in a real place, then Google Maps is your visual passport to how your real place actually looks. You can work out distances – very handy if you need to know whether it’s plausible for a villain to be able to kill off a character and still make it home in time to give himself an alibi. Zoom right in on the streets and have a look around. You can even take screenshots and add them to a vision/research board – try making one on Pinterest. (NB. Just a word of warning – images on Google Maps do date so if you’re name-checking an actual establishment in your book, make sure it still actually exists outside of the photographs from the Google cameras).
Trello – FREE
Not heard of Trello? Neither had I until last year. Now I use it all the time. Trello is a content management system, where you create virtual boards, lists and filing cards. It’s completely free (unless you sign up to the Premium version but you still get all the useful stuff if you remain with the basic package, so I can’t really see why you’d want to bother). You can use it to organise your life AND your writing. I use it to plot out novels, eCourses and non-fiction books. It’s super easy to use but I’ll be doing a video soon on how to use it specifically for fiction, so keep an eye out for that.
PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK
Fiverr – CHEAP
You’ve probably heard of Fiverr. It’s the micro-outsourcing site where you can hire people to do almost any small task for the grand sum of five US dollars (and I do mean almost anything – if you’ve ever wanted to have your loved one’s name painted across someone’s big jiggling stomach while they dance madly in a jungle – and who amongst us hasn’t? – Fiverr is the place to go).
Anyway, appealing as the jungle-belly gig sounds, you can also use Fiverr for small editing jobs, proof-reading, eCover design, promotion and marketing. Obviously quality standards vary widely so check the ratings of the vendors and the customer comments. But even if you get a duff gig, you’ve only blown $5 so not a huge disaster (Extra tip: for boosting a free promotion, Fiverr vendor Bknights is worth a punt).
Draft2Digital – FREE (ish)
If you’re located outside the US and want to publish on various platforms, then Draft2Digital is a must rather than a want. Even if you’re US-based and want to ‘go wide’, i.e. not be exclusive to Amazon but to publish your work on iBooks, Kobo, Nook, Scribed etc, Draft2Digital is the platform that will allow you to do that, easily, quickly and cheaply. Just sign up for an account and follow their detailed instructions. Their website will easily convert Word documents to the ePub files you’ll need for publication, you can change your prices, set up pre-orders, use as many or as few of the publishing platforms that you wish. Their customer service is excellent and they are strongly supportive of indie-authors, often reaching out to their authors to offer places on promotions. You’ll pay them a percentage of your book sale price (roughly 10-15%) but that’s ALL you’ll pay and I, for one, happily pay that for the time-saving easiness of their platform.
MARKETING YOUR BOOK
Again, Fiverr is an excellent place to go for low-cost marketing gigs, with people offering graphic design, social media updates, mailing list blasts, video trailers and other fun things than boost your book’s sales (another word of warning: you can buy book reviews on Fiverr. Do not do this – seriously, don’t buy reviews. It’s highly unethical and you run the risk of your publishing accounts being shut down by Amazon or whomever if they get wind of your cheating shenanigans).
Anyway, lecture over. You can also create your own graphics to use on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc, all for free, and create your own social media campaign when you publish and launch your book. How? Using PicMonkey!
PicMonkey – FREE/CHEAP
PicMonkey is a photo-editing tool where you can upload your own images (or use their stock photos for a small fee) and create social media graphics, banners, pictures and collages. Very easy, even for the graphically-challenged amongst us. If you want a quick, free course on how to use PicMonkey, check out my friend Alison Wood’s tutorial on how to make great Web images for free.
So there you go! Five sites that you can go and access, right now, for no (or very little) money, that will help you write, publish and market your book, whether that’s a novel or non-fiction. Got any more? I’d love to hear about them so pop a comment in the box below.