Anyone can be an ebook self-publisher! But sometimes it pays to be organised. Here are five tools you can’t afford not to be using.

As a self-publisher you have full control and full responsibility for everything from the words on the page, the inclusion of images, the design of the front cover, the page layout, the online publication process, the hard copy distribution paths, the marketing strategies (both online and in print) and a whole host of things in between. Sounds overwhelming doesn’t it?

The good news is that even though it’s called ‘self-publishing’ it doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. Having a good team around you and a host of tools will reduce your anxiety and you can focus on why you decided to self-publish in the first place. I’ve trawled the internet and present, for your information, the five tools every self-publisher should be using.

Tool #1: Elance

Elance is a network of online freelances from around the world who bid on work that is offered by clients. So what would an ebook self-publisher use Elance for? Let’s start with the bricks and mortar of your ebook or novel – the words on the page.

You could easily use Elance to find a copy writer, proofreader or editor to help you finalise your content. The great thing about Elance is that you can outline your exact project, your time frames and your budget. A downside to Elance – you get what you pay for. The work will reflect your budget.

If you would prefer to build a relationship with a professional writer, proofreader or editor then I suggest looking for an onshore Virtual Assistant. Here’s a good article about why onshore VAs can sometimes be more beneficial to your business than going offshore.

Tool #2: Fiverr

Fiverr is an online market place where sellers offer gigs for $5 or a ‘fiverr’. What gigs can a novel self-publisher use? Well if you are including images, illustrations or will need an ebook cover designed, then Fiverr should be your first place on your online research journey.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of designers happy to help you create your dream look for your book. I’ve used Fiverr for quite a few gigs, from logo design to ebook front and back cover design and have had nothing but a great experience.

Tread wisely though and consider each seller’s star level and read through their testimonials.

Tool #3: Google Drive

There is good competition in the cloud industry at the moment and I’ve included Google Drive in this list of tools because I use it and it’s my favourite. I have used Dropbox but after an increase in price to space ratio, I decided to switch to Google Drive and I haven’t looked back.

I think that if you have online information that is important to you and needs to be backed up, then you would be crazy to look past any cloud-based technology that could remotely store your data.

Self-publisher or not, go out and sign up for an account today! If you have a Gmail account then you already have access to free storage using Google Drive – did you know that?

Tool #4: Scrivener

Scrivener is a cool tool that helps writers to manage their writing, researching, formatting and project managing tasks altogether.

It allows you to outline chapters, structure ideas, take notes and view research all within the same neat package. You can also compile all your information into draft format and export into other word processors ready for online publishing. Another trick that Scrivener allows for is exporting your ebook into Kindle or ePub format.

It isn’t free but there is a trial period so you can see if it’s the right tool for you. Maybe simple Microsoft Word will suffice.

Tool #5: LinkedIn

Once your ebook or novel is available (online or in print) it’s about marketing the book to your intended audience. A marketing strategy or campaign is a must (and if marketing isn’t your strong suit then, without a doubt, you should outsource this task) and should consider social media as a communications channel. This doesn’t mean use every form of social media possible to get your content noticed. Be wise and choose the best platform for you.

I suggest LinkedIn as your primary social media path for your ebook marketing. I’ve written about other ways to get your ebook noticed and make reference to why I think LinkedIn is the best platform. Essentially you network with like-minded people as well as your intended audience meaning your reach is twofold. You can use LinkedIn to give away your book, receive testimonials to add to your credibility as a writer and spread the word to a professional community.

Final thoughts

Self-publishing really couldn’t be any easier in our ridiculously fast-paced online world. It just takes some time to plan the whole process and prepare yourself for what’s to come.

If I can leave you with something it’s this: outsource whatever it is you are not good at or don’t like doing. Guaranteed there is someone out there who is better at it than you are and can do it in half the time, saving you energy, stress, heart-ache and of course, money.