100 Free Tools to Write, Publish and Promote Your Own Book

Posted on September 24, 2009

Sometimes the only way to get what you have to say out to the world is to just do it yourself. Luckily, the web is full of tools that can help make every step of the writing process a little easier and cheaper. Here are 100 of the best free tools out there that will help you take your book from an idea to a published, marketable text that you can promote around the net.

Organization

These tools will help you get your ideas, schedules, and documents organized and easy to keep track of.

  1. EssentialPIM: Organize appointments, to-do lists, contacts, ideas and email messages through this personal information manager.
  2. Evernote: This tool can be an easy way to jot down and store story ideas, to-dos and anything else you wish.
  3. Tellico: Using this tool you can track just about anything, from inspirational images to chapters in your book.
  4. Wridea: Here you’ll find a service to help you manage your ideas and brainstorm new ones.
  5. Google Calendar: Google Calendar is a great free tool for organizing all of your appointments and deadlines.
  6. Teamspinner: This site makes it easy to collaborate on work and build your own wikis.
  7. PingMe: Need reminders in order to keep yourself on task and up-to-date with meetings? This tool will alert you when important things are coming up.
  8. FreeMind: Use this mind mapping software to get all your ideas down and organized.
  9. Project Status: If you’re working with others who will be editing or publishing your work, this can be can easy way to let them know how you’re coming on the project.
  10. Toodledo: This to-do list software makes it easy to get all your tasks organized and written down in one place.
  11. Celtx: If screenplays or comics are more your style, then this tool will help you organize and format your work with ease.
  12. StoryBook: This open source software will help you write and organize your novel.
  13. Lyx: This great tool will help you format and organize what you’re writing as you go.
  14. Vizual Einstein: If you need help bringing together a lot of research into a form that will let you write your book around it, this tool can be a big help.

Word Processors

Check out these free tools that will let you type out your work without having to spend anything on a program to do so.

  1. Google Docs: Use this tool to write your work right on the web. Better yet, it’s saved as you go so you’ll never lose your writing.
  2. Zoho Writer: Part of the larger Zoho suite, this program is comparable to Microsoft Word only free.
  3. OpenOffice: Check out this office suite to get free access to a fully-featured word processor.
  4. AbiWord: This free word processor has all the features you’ll need to write a book.
  5. ThinkFree OfficeWrite: Use the internet as your office with this writing tool.
  6. picoWrite: This web-based product is similar to Microsoft Office and will let you work on the web.
  7. Adobe Buzzword: Newly purchased by Adobe, you can use this tool to write and format your text.
  8. Bean: If you have a Mac not to worry. This free word processor is made to work on OS X.
  9. Gnome Office: This office suite uses Abiword and Evince to let you create and edit documents.
  10. Yeah Write: If you need something that will fill in the blanks of things you write often, this document editor could be for you.
  11. yWriter5: This document editing software is created just for writers and has tools designed to help in the writing process.
  12. Scribus: Made to be used on just about every OS, this tool can be a big help in writing and laying out your work.
  13. RoughDraft: This software was created with writers in mind and it offers several features that will make it easier to write and organize your work.
  14. Kword: Check out this open source suite to get access to a free word processor.
  15. WordIt: This ultra-light word processor prides itself on being speedy and reliable.

Collaboration and Feedback

Through these tools you’ll be able to talk with other writers and editors and get some help honing your work.

  1. Coventi: Use this free site to collaborate on your work with an friend or editor.
  2. WriteWith: With this tool you can share your work with others for feedback and help.
  3. SynchroEdit: This tool will make it easy for both you and your editor to make changes to a document at the same time.
  4. Glypho: If you just want to play around with writing, this multi-user story builder can help get the juices flowing.
  5. Novlet: Through this tool you can collaborate on work, share your own work and get feedback from others.
  6. Portrayl: Use this tool to showcase your work and get reviews and comments from other users.
  7. Writeboard:Check out this tool for an easier way to make collaborative edits to a story.
  8. LooseStitch: The free version of this site lets users publish their work to the site, brainstorm ideas, get feedback, make outlines and more.
  9. Writer’s Helper: Use this site to get a free edit of a short piece of your work.
  10. AutoCrit Editing Wizard: This tool can instantly expose some of the weaknesses with your writing before you ever submit it for someone else to look at.

Formatting and Design

To make your work the complete package, you’ll need to lay it out and create a cover as well. These tools will help you to do so.

  1. Twisted Brush: Create totally new designs or editing existing photographs with this great software.
  2. GIMP: This free software is a budget-friendly alternative to Photoshop.
  3. Inkscape: If you need to create vector graphics, check out this open source tool to do so.
  4. eBook Template Source: If you’ve never created an ebook before you can find templates and instructions to help you do so on this site.
  5. Book Form 1.0: This tool makes it simple to take your existing document and format it so it can be printed as a book.
  6. HTML Book Maker: If you want to publish your book online, this tool makes it simple to put it all into HTML format.
  7. Top Style Lite: Use this free web development tool to create CSS websites.
  8. ColorPic: Find a great color palette for your design with this color picker tool.
  9. Blackman’s E-Book Converter: You don’t need to buy fancy tools with this free alternative that will help you format your text as an ebook.
  10. Paint.net: Design and create a variety of graphics with this free tool.

Publishing

Visit these sites for advice and tools that will help you to publish your work on your own. Keep in mind that some services do come at a cost, however.

  1. CreateSpace: This online community will give you the tools to edit and publish your work right on the web.
  2. WordClay: While many of this site’s services come at a fee, you can get help and advice on publishing for free.
  3. Sonar: If you’re submitting your book to publishers this tool will let you track who you’ve sent to it to and who has responded.
  4. SAMM: This site offers submission trackers for just about every OS.
  5. Self-Pub.net: Here you will find a host of resources that can help you along the path to publishing your own book.
  6. Lulu: Lulu offers low cost self-publishing as well as some helpful guides and a community to get you started along the process.
  7. Fast Pencil: With this site you’ll be able to write, edit, share, publish and promote your book.
  8. Blurb: While not everything on this site is free, you will get access to free bookmaking software.
  9. CafePress: Through this site you can create and sell your own books.
  10. WeBook: This site is an all-in-one resource, with tools to write, edit and publish your book.
  11. Xlibris: Not everything on this site is free but you will have access to a number of helpful services and informative articles.

Blogging and Microblogging

Blogs can be great places to promote your work or to keep your thoughts organized into one place. These sites offer budget friendly ways to get blogging.

  1. TypePad: Use this blogging service to create a blog and publish your ideas to the web.
  2. Blogger: One of the more popular services, this site offers you the chance to spread the word about your work.
  3. WordPress: This flexible platform can be a great way to develop a blog– even on your own domain.
  4. Moveable Type: Check out this software to build a great promotional blog.
  5. SquareSpace: Through this service you can create a site for your own ideas or to promote your book to the world.
  6. Twitter: Loads of authors are now using Twitter and you can make the most of it’s marketing power as well.
  7. Thingamablog: Help yourself get recognition on the web by creating a blog through this site.
  8. Pebble: If you want to let others out there know what you’re doing and how your work is coming, consider creating a blog through this site.
  9. PowerBlog: Don’t miss out on all that blogs have to offer your marketing and writing process. Create a blog here to cash in on free web real estate.

Social Networking

Social media is becoming more and more a great tool for marketing and promoting just about everything– including your book. Check out these tools to connect with other writers and readers.

  1. Red Room: This social site is focused on writers and can help you highlight your work and meet others who are more experienced.
  2. Writing Room: Polish your writing skills, get feedback and talk with other writers on this site.
  3. LinkedIn: No professional should be without an account on this business networking site.
  4. Writing.com: Connect with both writers and readers on this site.
  5. Book Marketing Network: Join this network to get in touch with other authors and publishers who can offer advice on your work.
  6. Professional on the Web: Check out this site to create a professional portfolio and find publishers who might be interested in what you’ve written.
  7. Edit red: Here you can publish your work, get peer critiques and talk with a range of other authors out there.
  8. Critique Circle: Use this site to submit your work and get helpful feedback on how you’re writing and marketing it.
  9. Booksconnect: Lovers of books can connect here and you can add your work into the mix as well.
  10. My Writer’s Circle: This site is a great place to find advice and guidance for new writers.
  11. Facebook: Create a profile or fan page for your work here to easily keep in contact with readers and supporters.

Marketing Tools

Use these free tools to market and promote your work online.

  1. NetRead: Here you’ll find a great collection of web-based marketing tools for publishers.
  2. RankTracer: Use this tool to figure out how well your book is selling on Amazon and what you can do to better promote it.
  3. Emarketing101: Learn all about what it takes to be good at emarketing from this site.
  4. MailChimp: If you want to start email marketing this service makes it fast and simple– better yet it doesn’t cost a thing.
  5. WriterFace: This site is a social networking and marketplace for writers of all kinds.
  6. Inked In: This online community of writers and publishers can be a great place to promote what you’re writing.
  7. Digg: Link to your blog posts and web articles with this social bookmarking tool to increase the number of people who might see what you’re working on.
  8. PBwiki: Create your own wikis and manage your marketing projects with this free tool.
  9. Campaigner: This email marketing software offers a free 30 day trial.
  10. Mailman: Here you’ll get access to a free program that can help you manage your mailing list.

Miscellaneous Help

These tools will help you write, organize and get inspired.

  1. WordWeb: Download this tool to always have a great dictionary and thesaurus on hand.
  2. Dictionary.com: This site offers a free dictionary, thesaurus and more to help you create the best work possible.
  3. McGill Dictionary of Rhyme: Those writing poetry, songs or children’s rhymes will appreciate this tool that can tell you all the words that rhyme with a chosen one.
  4. WordCounter: Find out just how long or short your work really is with this helpful tool.
  5. WriteThis: This tool is a great way to get yourself inspired and working even when you don’t feel like it.
  6. Paypal: Unless you plan on giving your book away for free you’ll need some way to collect payments for it. Paypal can make that fast and easy.
  7. Seventh Sanctum: Those having trouble naming their characters can get help from this site.
  8. Lazybase: Create a free, organized database of all your important book research and information here.
  9. KTouch: Don’t spend forever just typing out your manuscript. If you’re a slow typer you can get free lessons here.
  10. Joomla!: This open source software makes creating and editing a website for your book easier than ever.