Tech-tools for self-publishing writers

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Below you will find a collection of tech tools (technical tools) and links for hands-on self-publishing indie authors (as opposed to authors who have purchased a package of services from one self-publishing company).

ISBNs
International Standard Book Numbers are free in Canada. Register and learn details at Library and Archives Canada. In addition, check out these tips about ISBNs if you plan to do a print book with both IngramSpark and CreateSpace.

Barcodes
Barcodes are needed if you want to sell a print book in stores with bar-scanning system. ISBNs are built into barcodes to make them scannable (stores can also type in the ISBN). Some people get their barcodes from graphic designers. However, you can get a good quality barcode from this barcode generator website www.terryburton.co.uk for a donation.

QR Codes are those black and white pixelated squares that you sometimes see on posters, signs and other places. By scanning the code with an app on your mobile phone, it will take you to a particular website. A few years ago it seemed QR codes would be popular. Now, however, they are often regarded as an outdated fad (except in China, where QR codes are widely used).
So it is up to you to decide if you want to include QR codes in your book and promotional material. If you do, here is a QR Code Generators List

New: 2018 EU privacy laws explained in plain language (impacting anyone with a website).

Domain Names

First, it should be pointed out that it’s possible to have a blog without having your own custom domain name. Website services Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace and Tumblr will let you to set up a blog with, or without, a custom domain name (for example http://3penny.tumblr.com ).

However, it looks much more professional and will make marketing easier if you do have your own custom domain name.

Before buying your domain name, read this author blog full of good tips.  Also, make sure you don’t accidentally let your domain name expire. It may be extremely costly to get back. To avoid this, when you buy a domain name, it is safer to set it to auto-renew. But beware, some companies will auto-renew for the same number of years as you first purchased it (e.g. if you buy your domain name for 5 years, it will auto-renew for another 5 and you might see a big charge on your credit card that you weren’t expecting).

A few recommended companies to buy a domain name from are: DreamHost, NameCheap, Name.com, Gandi.net, SquareSpace, and IslandHosting .

IslandHosting is a local Victoria BC company with very good services and customer service. Note: IslandHosting (image below) is an affiliate link.
Islandhosting.com logo

Ebook tools (see ebook section)
Audio Book Tools

Iambik – converts books to audio books
ACX – turn your book into an audio book
BookTrack – add a soundtrack to a book trailer or audio book

Readers’ Tech-Tools

Wattpad (read and write)
GoodReads (reviews and author pages)
Ebook readers for desktop computers
Best ebook readers of 2018 (PCMag)

Marketing Tools

(see also the book marketing section)

Shorten and customize your book’s URL
Do a website meta-data audit
Learn google key words
SEO: What is it? (SearchEngineLand)
What is SEO? (SearchEngineWatch)
SEO Tools (free at Moz.com)
Check who links to your website (free at OpenLink)

Graphics Tools

PixelBuddha free photos and graphics for personal and commercial use
Pixabay free photos (check terms for commercial use)
21 sites to find high quality free photos (Snappa blog)
12 sites for royalty-free photos (MakeUseOf blog)
Finding and using online images (Simon Fraser University)
Canva online graphics tool (check terms for commercial use)
PicMonkey -photo-editing, collage and more (see prices)
GIMP free image editor
Morguefile free stock images for commercial use
Guide to Image Copyright (MakeUseOf blog)
Tools for publishing photo books & zines (PDN blog)

Formatting Tools

Book Design Templates
MS Word and Alternatives

Editing Tech-Tools

Editing tools and resources by SPA
Intelligent Editing (proof-reading software)
AutoCrit (manuscript editing)
Smart Edit (for novels and stories)
Grammarly (grammar checking app)
Grammar Tips and Infographics (common problems)
After The Deadline (proofreading software)

For copyright information, see Writing as a Business.

Another useful tool ––not for self-publishing, but for bibliophiles–– is a service that specializes in scanning archival books. 

Check under the Self-Publishing Resources tab for more information to help you publish your own book.

Did you find any of the tech-tools resources listed especially helpful? Do you have an idea for a resource that should be listed? Feel free to send an email.

Note: Links and information are for research purposes and do not replace professional advice. Accuracy of third-party websites cannot be verified and links do not indicate endorsement. 

Updated August 2018

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