By Ronesa Aveela
When I started writing with a friend of mine a few years ago, the only authoring tool I had was Microsoft Word. The following are various tools I’ve come across since those early days. Many, if not all, have been recommended by other authors. They cover design and many other areas of the writing process. There are many more out there, but these are a few FREE ones that can get you started.
1) Let’s start with DESIGN
I’m not a designer. I create better with words than images. I’m fortunate that my writing partner is talented in this respect, and she creates wonderful images in Photoshop. But that leaves me depending on her to do any promotional ads and all design work. That’s fine for the most part: she’s artistic. However, I want to be able to create an ad now and again to post on my own social media sites. Canva allows me to do that. It isn’t as robust as Photoshop, but it has templates and images you can use for FREE. It’s a great tool to get you into the design mode.
Here’s a design I created using a Canva template:
2) Make it Stand Out in 3D
To go along with Canva, you can create a 3D version of your book cover, making it look as if it’s a printed copy or on a mobile device. This makes it more appealing. Some programs have fancy background images to go along with the book cover as well: showing your book on billboards or in a reader’s hand at the beach. The link below doesn’t offer that, but it does let you create various 3D representations of your book that you can combine with other images and designs. And it’s FREE, while you’ll have to pay for some of the more flexible programs.
DIY Book Covers: http://diybookcovers.com/3Dmockups/
Another one using Canva with the 3D book covers:
3) Spice up Your Book’s Look: FREE FONTS
You have plenty of fonts to choose from with your word-processing program, but sometimes you might want something a little different to fit a certain genre or mood you are trying to set. Here’s one site that offers plenty to choose from. Always check the rights usages for any fonts to make sure you can use them commercially.
1001 Fonts: https://www.1001fonts.com/
4) A must-have: UNIVERSAL BOOK LINKS
I was confused when I first heard authors talking about creating “universal book links” or UBLs. What were they? They are a single URL that contains links to all the digital resellers of your book: such as Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, etc. Other UBLs might work with only specific online booksellers, such as Amazon. In this case, the UBL will bring the user to their country’s Amazon store and If you live in the US, it will bring you to the US store and If you live in the UK, it will bring you to the UK store.
I use the UBL creator from Books2Read since it not only lets you create UBLs to all the places your ebook is sold, it also provides you with an author page where you can organize your books.
Image source: Books2Read
5) Going Wide: BARCODE GENERATOR
This tool is useful if you’re planning on having print versions of your ebooks, and you don’t want to be tied down to selling your books through a single outlet like Amazon. If you “go wide,” you’ll want to purchase your ISBNs from the appropriate place designed by your country.
Although you don’t need an ISBN for ebooks on places like Amazon, you will need them if you plan to distribute your ebook through other sources, and you’ll need an ISBN for each separate medium you create the book in: one for an ebook, a different one for a paperback, and yet another one for hard copy, and so on. In the US, you get ISBNs from Bowker. You can find out where you can get ISBNs from other countries here:
International ISBN Agencies: https://www.isbn-international.org/agencies
For print copies, you’ll also need a bar code. You can buy these along with your ISBNs, but I don’t recommend that. ISBNs are expensive and are cost-effective only if you buy them in batches. So if you plan to go this route, I hope you have a lot of books planned.
I use the barcode generator below. Yes, it’s free, and it works great.
Barcode generator: https://www.creativindiecovers.com/free-online-isbn-barcode-generator/
And That’s a Wrap
I hope you find some of these useful. This is just a small number of tools you can use to get you started. I’ll be posting a longer list on our website, and update it as I come across new low-cost or free tools. Feel free to stop by and browse our blog and other posts any time.
Ronesa Aveela is “the creative power of two.” Two authors that is.
Nelly Tonchev, the main force and creative genius behind the work, was born in Bulgaria and moved to the US in the 1990s. She grew up with stories of wild Samodivi, Kikimora, the dragons Zmey and Lamia, Baba Yaga, and much more.
She’s a freelance artist and writer. She likes writing mystery romance inspired by legends and tales. In her free time, she paints. Her artistic interests include the female figure, Greek and Thracian mythology, folklore tales, and the natural world interpreted through her eyes. She is married and has two children.
Rebecca Carter, her writing partner was born and raised in the New England area. She has a background in writing and editing, as well as having a love of all things from different cultures.
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