Resources for authors
There are so many resources out there for authors, and I’ll be adding to this page as I become aware of more tools.
Writing your book
I’ve always used MS Word to write my books, and am using PowerPoint to create some digit books, however there are alternatives out there.
Scrivener – This is available for Windows, Mac and is also available on the iStore. It’s used by many authors, especially fiction writers to keep on top of characters, plot etc. It also allows you to create your book organically, and has an area for research so it’s a bit like Word and Evernote combined. Whilst I’ve never used it, it’s advantage is in the way that you can organise your research, outline, chapters etc.
Vellum – Another writing tool, but only for Mac, Vellum has many positive reviews and seems to excel at making books look so professional. Even the screenshots are fab, and it allows you to see how you book would look in print or on a device. If I had a Mac and wrote fiction books, I’d be sorely tempted to get this!
Dragon – This is something I tried ages ago but haven’t used recently. It’s a great tool that transcribes as you dictate. So if typing isn’t your forte, then it may well be worth checking this out.
Proof reading your book
I’m great at proof reading other peoples work, but blind when it comes to my own, so I would always suggest that you get someone else to look at it.
Spellcheck on Word is great, but it doesn’t pick up on correctly spelled words that are incorrect in the context given.
Friends and family. If you’ve got a friend or family member who is anal about grammar and spelling, then get them to proofread your book. They will probably catch as much as a professional proofreader, but cost less.
Professional proof readers – You can find people on freelance websites such as Fiverr and Upwork. How much they’ll charge will depend on your word count.
Grammarly – Not only does Grammarly check your spelling and grammar, with the paid versions also looks at readability and plagarism.
Editing your book
This is something that publishing houses excel at, and have people whose job it is is just to edit your book and make it the best it can be. However, if you’re self-publishing, then like proof reading, this is down to you to organise.
BookButchers – depending on the package you choose, they will proof read, edit and criticise the heck out of your book, so that you can make it the best that it can be. Price is based on word count.
Reedsy – this is like a freelancers site for those people specifically talented around publishing. You can post a project, view profiles and chose someone with the right skills to help you with your book.
Your book cover
When I wrote my first book, way back in 2014, I created my own book cover. It was amateurish and looked like it. These days, I use someone more professional for my book covers and you can see the difference.
If you want to do it yourself, then you can use PowerPoint or Canva to get good results. Just be aware that for a good finish, you should be looking at images that are 300dpi.
Canva – I use this for my low priced notebooks, where the only thing you need on the cover is the word “notebook”. Just select the size of your image. create a spine and centre it, then add the fron and back covers. Note: When you use canva, download the image as a pdf. Amazon seems to prefer this and the book covers I’ve had back have been great.
Fiverr – I use one person on Fiverr now for all my book covers. She’s great and has a 3 day turn around.
Print on demand publishers
KDP Amazon – You can publish both print on demand books, and ebooks for Kindle via this website. Use your existing Amazon username and password to sign up. You’ll then need to complete their set up process, completing your personal details, your bank details i.e. IBAN and BIC (so that they can pay you) and your tax ID e.g. your PPS No. or NI no. (so that they don’t take US tax and can advise the taxman in your country). The main advantage of using this site is that it doesn’t cost anything to upload you book and publish it on Amazon. The downside is that your book is only available there and they only publish paperbacks.
IngramSpark – They have a very similar service to Amazon, however there is a cost to use it. However, that cost gives you access to more distribution method e.g. for ebooks Amazon only distributes via Kindle and the Kindle app. IngramSpark distributes your ebook to Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and iBooks. They do both print and ebooks. If you’re starting out, they also have a number of online courses to help you out.
Lulu – Like Amazon, you can upload you book for free, unlike Amazon they also do a range of cover types (softback, hardback, dust jackets) and a range of different books e.g. photobooks and calendars. You can work out how much your book will cost depending on the choice of cover, paper and binding that you make.
BookBaby – Not one I’ve used, but worth looking at. Their advantage is their distribution network, allowing you to get your book into stores and claim to be cheaper than Lulu, giving you more profit per book.
DiggyPOD – Again, not a company I’ve used but they seem to be more a printer. So unlike some of the other options, they print the book and send you the copies, but don’t have any distribution network. Also, it looks like they only operate in the US.
Authors helping authors
TheCreativePenn.com Joanna Penn has been writing and blogging for years. Her website is full of advice, and she’s written a series of books for authors based on her own experience as a writer.