Here are 10 of the best free tools and self-publishing apps to help with your book publishing and promotion.
We all need some help. The following list of ten free book publishing software and writing tools are the ones I use almost every day. So I can vouch for how useful they are.
There are so many aspects to being a self-published author. It is sometimes hard to count the number of hats you need to wear every day.
If you have the best online publishing tools and software, you are one step ahead.
My ten best and most useful free self-publishing tools
You have to write, format, design, publish, promote, market, blog, and then find time to connect with our readers.
So you need the best publishing software you can find.
These free book publishing tools will save you a lot of time to do what you do best — writing a book.
Create your free ebook covers.
Canva is a must-have free tool for all authors and bloggers.
Images are vital in attracting attention. But you should use unique images and never copy or download images from Google Image Search.
Canva is a great graphic design tool that solves this problem with ease.
There are loads of professionally designed templates. You can find Facebook headers, social media posts, logos, ebook covers, business cards, and Twitter posts, just to name a few.
There is a paid option. But the free version comes with plenty of free images, graphics, icons, shapes, and backgrounds for almost any image project you can imagine.
You can upload your own stock images to use with Canva. Then you can create truly unique images for your blog or online magazine and use on social media.
Best of all it is user-friendly and very easy to use.
You can create stunning ebook covers with Canva. Choose from hundreds of templates or create your own from scratch.
You need to write a book.
If you are looking for a free writing app to write a book or novel, then Shaxpir really packs a lot of features into its free version.
The main feature is the Manuscript Builder, where you can use drag-and-drop tools to rearrange any part of your manuscript.
You can also move and change the order of your scenes or chapters.
You can set writing goals for your book project and keep track of your progress. Importantly, it lets you take notes about your events, characters, and places.
You can collect and save any concept art you find and add your margin comments.
There is also an in-built spellchecker.
There is a lot of free software designed for writing books. But Shaxpir offers you the widest range of features I have seen in a free version.
You can download Shaxpir for both Mac and PC. There is also an option for cloud access.
Always triple check your spelling and grammar.
Prowritingaid is a fantastic grammar and writing checker. It includes so many checks and reports to help improve your writing.
It is one of the best writing aids for self-publishing authors. The tools and reports dig deep into your text and offer you a huge range of suggestions to improve your writing.
You can add extensions for Chrome, Microsoft Office, Google Docs, and Scrivener.
There is a free version of ProWritingAid available that offers you plenty of functionality to help you check your writing.
Authors might think about the modestly priced premium version, which includes all the reports and editing tools.
ProWritingAid is my number one go-to editing tool when I need to work intensively on book manuscripts.
Grammarly is by far the best and most popular online grammar and spell checker.
You can use it within its standalone app or with MS Office. It comes with plugins for most browsers, including Safari and Chrome. It is also available as an iOS app.
It is ideal for quickly checking your blog posts and before publishing content marketing articles when you are writing online.
The free version works extremely well, and I used it quite happily for a year or more.
But I upgraded to the paid version a while back, and couldn’t be happier with this must-have writing app.
It has saved my bacon so many times.
5. KDP Wizard
Manage all your KDP books.
KDP Wizard gives you easy access to all of your book data and files in a quick and functional format. It works directly in your Chrome browser.
The KDP Wizard browser app is the Amazon KDP tool for listing and editing all your book information in one place.
There is a Rich Text Editor for book descriptions, to make optimized product descriptions simple.
You can search & select categories easily, speeding up the listing process.
Easy access to keyword profiles, authors, contributors, descriptions, pricing profiles, and more through smart dropdowns.
Copy all page attributes from one listing tab to another, to save time when creating multiple new books.
Check out all the features that are available to manage all your books on Amazon.
Best of all, there is a totally free version you can use.
An ebook editor and much more.
Without a doubt, Calibre is the number one ebook tool every indie author should have.
It does everything you could need to do when it comes to ebook creation. It also a great free tool for converting from Microsoft Word to mobi and epub ebook files.
It is also an ebook reader, ebook library and can sync to e-reading devices.
For those with a little technical skill, you can also edit HTML, epub, and AZW3 (Kindle) or mobi.
Crunch your images for faster site loading.
ImageOptim is a free software application for Mac and Linux users.
It reduces the size of images before using on blogs or websites by using drag-and-drop. Quick, easy, and very efficient. (Windows users can try File Optimizer.)
Track your book sales.
BookCore provides a powerful book sales tracking platform for self-publishers.
It’s a fully automated sales tracking and analytics service that generates reports, monitors rankings, and tracks reviews on multiple marketplaces.
It’s free to use and works on mobile, tablets, and laptops.
You always need an image editor.
Working with images is a regular task for authors now.
But Photoshop is very expensive. GIMP is a free open source alternative that works exceedingly well on all platforms.
If you are new to image editing, it will be a learning curve. But no more so than for Photoshop or any other image or DTP software.
For Mac users, there is also Seashore. I also use it from time to time for book design mock-ups for covers.
10. Kindle Create
A free tool from Amazon Kindle.
Kindle Create is one of the must-have self-publishing apps for all authors. It is the best ebook publishing software for authors.
It has all the tools you need to easily create and format perfect ebooks for Kindle. It will automatically create a table of contents.
It is very easy to learn how to use. You will be up and running in no time at all.
You can also use this app to format your print book.
You need to download and install the web app on your computer from Kindle Direct Publishing. It is available for both PC and Mac.
You can watch this short video for more information about Kindle Create.
Note: An alternative free app for Mac users is iBooks Author. However, it is an ebook creator software tool that is best suited to interactive ebooks.
There is a wide range of free book writing software, free word processor applications, and online tools for self-publishing authors.
Apart from my favorites listed above, I use quite a few more to help save me time.
Not everything is free nowadays. But if and when I am convinced a tool, application, or online service is worth paying for, I will.
But most online writing tools and applications a self-publishing author needs to use each day are available for free.