DIY Tools and Services to Help You Write Your Book

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

by Julie-Ann Harper, Managing Director and founder of Pick-a-WooWoo Publishing Group and Authors Wish
Self-publishing is booming and with this transition comes a plethora of organisations worldwide offering author services to writers. But what if your budget doesn't extend to a professional editor, typesetter, cover designer, and so forth? Does this mean your book will not meet industry standards, be of poor quality, or sadly never be published? Absolutely not.

Hiring a professional is always recommended, but not every author has the funds to do so, but rather than turn you away to haphazardly explore the internet black hole for hours on end, my team and I underwent extensive research, purchasing, assessing, reviewing, and compiling the most useful resources on our platform, Authors Wish, a one-stop shop for DIY authors to locate affordable and practical tools for their DIY self-publishing journey. It took us nearly 10 years to gather this research, and yes, the experience has made me grey haired and humble towards the DIY author’s journey, but I did it so that you wouldn’t have to, so let’s begin.

The Publishing Process

There are five main aspects of the publishing process and many tools for each which are available on the Authors Wish website within these segments.

  1. Writing
  2. Editing
  3. Design
  4. Process
  5. Promotion

There will be corresponding blog posts from me on each of these main aspects, but this post touches on the tools I find best for the writing step specifically. Writing is the obvious starting point – notionally, we are all prospective writers! The trick is to make that critical transition from writer to author/publisher – and now you can with the IngramSpark platform.

Writing Tools or Services

There are some writing tools or services that are generic in nature and others whose sole purpose is to assist authors make the transition easier from writing to publishing. Indie authors would do well to explore those mentioned below.

  • Book Startup Toolkit is designed to take the doubt out of the creative process. It gives you a roadmap, a strategy, and the exact steps you need to take to get your story out of your head and onto the page.
  • Reedsy Book Editor is a beautiful production tool that takes care of the formatting and conversion, before you have even finished writing. It allows you to work online and with other contributors (such as your editor). On completion, you can effortlessly export perfect ePub files or typeset print-ready PDF files that can be sent instantly to print-on-demand services such as IngramSpark. (Web based)
  • Scrivener is designed by authors for authors. This is one of the best programs you can use to organize your writing.

Free Self-Editing and Writing Macros

Macros change the way authors can revise their writing. Below is a glimpse of some of the self-editing macros I recommend that are designed to work with Microsoft Word and have been utilized successfully by our indie authors.

  • Confusables detects words that are often used incorrectly.
  • Lywords finds those adverbs which could be deleted.
  • Needless Words determines words that clutter or are needless.

Plagiarism Check

You know that your novel or book is entirely your own. However, using the below tools to check for unintentional plagiarism is a good idea.

  • Grammarly is by far the best plagiarism checker tool available on the market.
  • Plagiarism Checker has free and paid plans to help you detect plagiarism in your book. It has high speeds and accuracy to easily check your book’s authenticity in just a few seconds.
  • Plagium is a quick way to find if content is original or duplicated.

These are just a few of the services I’ve explored. For more, please feel free to visit Authors Wish. Make sure you take a moment or two to explore your options carefully. Do this when you have time and don’t rush in. You still need to undertake due diligence to ensure the correct solutions are found for your manuscript.


Julie-Ann Harper

Julie-Ann Harper is the founder of the Pick-a-WooWoo Publishing Group and Authors Wish. She has 25 years of experience in publishing, business training, self-publishing workshops and presentations. Julie-Ann is a passionate advocate towards true self-publishing and helping authors to view publishing as a business. With 15 awards in the area of publishing and business she truly walks her talk and is willing to share her knowledge with as many authors as possible, particularly when it comes to self-publishing. She is the co-author of 47 educational titles, two self-published titles, author of five children’s picture books and two traditionally published titles (McGraw Hill).