Here are some free online tools from around the internet that I use or want to try out. All of them are free with a few exceptions. There are many other tools, both free and for a fee, that I’m not using, but a quick internet search will find them. In addition to the basic tools for writing such as free Open Office or Google Docs, here are some that I like.
Free Social Media Tools
The basic free social media tools are of course Facebook and Twiter, which you can use to develop and stay in touch with your audience. WordPress is the most recommended site for building your web page, but there are other free sites.
For new writers, the biggest problem is getting attention. No one is going to know who you are so you cannot rely on people coming to your website to discover your writing. Potential readers don’t know to look for you. You have to get off your own site and post you work some place where it can be discovered. Here are some places I have discovered where you can post your work to gain some recognition and start building an audience.
- LinkedIn / Pulse
Free Writing and Editing Tools
The following are some free tools to help you improve different aspects of your writing.
- For note taking there is Evernote and OneNote.
- Wordcounter (helps you spot overly used words in your writing)
- Cliché Finder (you don’t want those).
- Dictonary.com and Thesaurus.com (when you are searching for the right word).
- Cambridge Dictionaries Online (it has translations tools).
- Hemingway Editor (fun online app to check your writing)
- Grammarly (bad grammar and misspelling will make you look bad so fix it).
- Visuwords (is a dictionary that displays the meaning of words in word clusters).
Free Cover Design and Conversion Tools
You can do your book covers in Word, Photoshop or InDesign, but they are expensive programs. If you are doing your own book covers, here are some tools that are free or low cost. You don’t have to pay someone a lot of money to make a cover for you. Watch out for sites that offer to design and publish your book for a fee or a cut of your royalties. They are usually not worth the price you pay for the service, and you can do the work yourself for free if you are willing to learn some new skills. Several professional book cover designers give away free e-book templates. A quick google search can find some of them. Here are some free of low-cost tools that I have discovered.
- Gimp (Free photo editing software).
- Canva (allows you to do quick and easy designs).
- diybookcovers.com (free book cover design tool).
- diybookcovers.com (free book cover templates).
You also don’t have to pay someone to convert your text into an e-book file. Here are some places where you can do it yourself for free (remember to correctly format the text of your book first. There are numerous Youtube tutorials that explain how to format your book before converting them into e-book files.
- Calibre (is free and allows you to do e-book conversion and e-book editing, among other things).
- PublishXpress (is a free e-book conversion tool to convert Word documents to epub and mobi file formats).
- Kindle Direct Publishing (allows you to design a cover and publish your e-book directly to Amazon. If you want to make a hard-copy book you can design and publish with CreateSpace).
- Pronoun (free-service publishing platform for indie authors)
- Draft2digital (another publishing platform with free services)
Free Marketing Tools
One of the purposes of having a website it to build a list of faithful followers who you can contact to buy your work, help you to get publicity for your work, readers who can leave you reviews on book buying sites, or even help with the editing process as beta readers and as proofreaders. You web theme should have a built in subscription form you can use. There are also apps you can install on your page, some with free and fee options. They will display signup boxes or popups where visitors can leave their name and email address in order to receive email notifications from you.
For advertising and promotions, you can do free or 99cent campaigns on the following book promotion sites. These are not all free, however, and have different fees they charge. It might be worth paying some to promote your book.
- Instafreebie (allows you to set up sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways)
- ENT (E-reader news today)
- Book Barbarian (Sci-fi and Fantasy)
- Robin Reads
- Choosy Bookworm
- Fussy librarian
Free Content Development and Graphics Tools
Here are some free tools you can use to make graphics on your website or to design promotional materials for use on Facebook, Twitter or other places you need a graphic. The book cover design tool listed above can also be used to create graphics.
- Creativindie.com (Here are some free DIY templates for promotional materials using google docs).
- Cllicktotweet.com (lets you set up tweetable quotes from your content to tweet on Twitter).
- Slideshare.com (lets you create a slide deck of your content and publish it).
- Piktochart (lets you create Infographics from your content).
Free Critique Tools
If you are looking for a place to post your work where it can receive critique on its strengths and weaknesses from other writers, these sites have been highly recommended. There are other sites that exist for this purpose, but these are the one’s I liked the best.