Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cool free stuff for self-publishers (and every writer)

Look around the Internet, and you’ll find mountains of free resources at your fingertips. Of course, some are more useful than others. The good news is that “you get what you pay for” doesn’t always apply to free stuff—there’s a lot of valuable information and tools out there that won’t cost you a dime.

These are some of the best resources I’ve found so far. They aren’t just for self-published authors, either. Every writer needs to self-promote to some degree these days, so if you have books out (or you’re planning to have books out soon), take advantage of these cool freebies.

This free service gives you access to a big pool of readers who frequently review on Amazon. When you add your book to the Author Marketing Club database, reader members can request a review copy through AMC. While you’re not guaranteed reviews, your book(s) enjoy wider exposure and higher review potential.

AMC also maintains a centralized listing of websites to promote your book during Kindle Select free days, provides a forum for displaying book trailers, and offers resources such as free ebooks and webinars on marketing and promotion. In fact, I’m signed up for tomorrow’s free webinar, “Book Marketing is Bulls*&$ - The Truth About Selling Books.” Sounds fun, right?

This free weekly email mini-newsletter promises “one actionable tip in your inbox, every Monday,” and it delivers. I’ve gotten lots of helpful tips from this mailing so far, and have been so impressed that I went ahead and bought Laura’s book, Fire Up Amazon! Tweak Your Amazon Presence to Perfection.

You can sign up for Magic Mondays here – scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your email in the signup box.

BookBaby is a self-publishing service that charges a flat fee to turn your manuscript into an ebook and upload it to major ebook retailers. They also offer extra services like book cover design, editing, and author website creation. The difference between BookBaby and services like Smashwords and Lulu, which are free to publish through but take a percentage of royalties, is that the flat fee is the only cost—you earn 100% of royalties.

Personally, I use Smashwords and Kindle Direct, but BookBaby’s services make sense for people who don’t have the time or the inclination to go through all the necessary steps to bring a manuscript from Word document to published ebook.

But that’s not the free stuff I’m talking about here. BookBaby has a free weekly newsletter that offers tips, resources, and helpful advice that writers can actually use, whether or not they publish through BookBaby. For example, a few weeks ago they offered a free ebook called 5 Secrets of Successful Authors: A Guide to Self-Publishing that has a lot of great info.

If you’re an outliner / plotter, you’ll love this free storyboarding program. It’s got all sorts of cool features, views, and tools. I don’t outline, but I still have fun with Storybook --- and it’s great for keeping track of series characters and subplots.

Grab a free copy of Storybook 4 here – click on the big green Download button on the right side of the screen to get to the download page.

Okay, this isn’t exactly useful – it’s just fun. Self-publishing service Lulu.com has compiled data from thousands of bestselling books and used it to create a formula that “predicts” whether your title has the potential to be a bestseller. You can also do a Lulu Titlefight, and pit two book titles against each other to see which one comes out on top.

1 comment:

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

S.w., these are wonderful tips and places to check out! Thank you so much. I'm on them, right now. ;o)