Gone are the days when budding authors had to hunt for an agent to represent them who had to knock at the doors of traditional book publishers and wait for the judgment of the gatekeepers whether their manuscript passed their standards. With the rise of self-publishing platforms, authors have the freedom to publish their books with no middleman. These self-publishing platforms have revolutionized the publishing industry. Research expects the publishing industry will reach the values of $49 billion by 2024. This figure is only for printed books and doesn’t consider e-books, which are on the rise.
However, with the freedom to write what you want and directly publish it to your audience, there is also the need to do your marketing, editing, book formatting, and even illustration – something that traditional publishing houses usually do for their authors. Here are some tools that every self-published author needs to make their lives easier.
To write effectively, every author needs to have good writing software to help put their stories into words. There are various writing systems available in the market to choose from — Microsoft Word, Scrivener, LibreOffice Writer, Scribus, to name just a few. These writing software programs can handle text and file conversion, so regardless of which one you choose, the primary consideration should be your comfort level in using the software. In the end, that’s what matters.
Going into the self-publishing route means that you’ll have to edit your manuscript. Editing polishes your ideas and writing effectively to convey what you want to your future readers. Besides this, you also need to proofread your work for any grammar, spelling, and syntax mistakes.
You can choose to hire an actual editor, or if you don’t want to do that, you can turn to technology. Editing software uses a combination of machine learning, AI, and grammar rules to edit your manuscript. Your choices are plentiful, with Grammarly and ProWritingAid at the top of the list.
Although editing software is excellent, it still lacks the skill, creativity, and experience that only a human editor can provide. If you need a freelance editor to help polish your manuscript, you need to have a list of sites at the ready. Some suggested sites you can try are Upwork, Reedsy, The Editorial Freelancers Association, and ACES: The Society for Editing to start you off.
Freelancer websites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Guru are excellent places to look for experienced people who can help you with things other than editing: book cover design, formatting, and even help in marketing your book.
Besides fantastic writing skills and writing software, writers need excellent writing hardware. Writers often spend hours and hours writing in front of a computer, so a comfortable, ergonomic keyboard is necessary. There are several ergonomic mechanical and non-mechanical keyboards to choose from in the market, depending on your preference. But, whichever keyboard you choose, make sure that it’s comfortable to use and offers wrist support to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
It might also be worthwhile to invest in a practical ergonomic chair while looking for a perfect keyboard because a good chair can make sitting for long periods comfortable and prevent future back problems.
While movies romanticize writers as artists who type away all the creative thoughts in their heads, real-life writers know that writing can be a lonely and tedious endeavor. It can also be a challenge to stay motivated and accountable when working on a one-person project. But online communities can fill in that void.
Getting yourself into a tribe of like-minded people gives you a safe space to ask all your questions (if any come up) about your writing. It also gives you an avenue to find beta readers or people who can read your draft and provide constructive criticism to your work before you publish it. An online writing community is an excellent place for this. There are many writing communities you can explore. Some of the notable ones are Absolute White Water Cooler, Critique Circle, Chronicles, Talentville, and Facebook groups.
Self-publishing opened doors to a new breed of talented writers to showcase their stories directly to their audience without the need of a middleman. And if you are a budding writer thinking whether you should go ahead and self-publish, believe in yourself and start writing your masterpiece now.