Last month’s IWSG post discussed five things writers don’t need to buy (and five worth investing in). The post definitely struck a nerve and made me realize there was a need for a follow-up about all the great free and inexpensive resources out there.
I’d love your suggestions too. If you know of some great free or cheap resources, please post them in a comment. Working together, we can come up with a fantastic list!
Yes and Yes’s Free Site Review: Sarah from Yes and Yes is a bit of a phenom, to put it mildly. She’s ghostwritten NYT bestsellers, been featured in national magazines like Forbes and Glamour, and gets over 12K visitors to her site every day. In short–she knows what she’s talking about. In exchange for your email address, she’ll review your website or blog for free and give you tons of helpful suggestions. Seriously, when I had her do this, the resulting list was daunting–but worth it! If you don’t care for her newsletter, you can opt out, but I always find her posts interesting, insightful, and helpful. She shares a ton of free career advice too.
Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing series: Dean Wesley Smith isn’t afraid to give it to you straight–and that’s what I love about him. He’s never been shy when revealing controversial truths about the writing industry, and he was doing it long before others made it popular. Think you need an agent to be traditionally published, or that an agent always knows what’s best for your career? Think writers can’t make money, or that only a few make a living at it? You need to check out Smith’s myth-busting Sacred Cows series. You can buy the books if you want your own copy, or read them for free on his website.
Toby Neal’s Building an Author Platform ebook: When Toby Neal decided to break into self-publishing, she did it in a big way–she spent $15,000 USD to launch her first book. She made her money back within a month or two (can’t recall the exact time frame), and has now sold well over a million copies of her mystery novels. Neal’s free ebook has lots of helpful advice about how to target your marketing, figure out who your ideal readers are, and launch a successful indie career. Most of her marketing tips would work for the traditionally published as well.
Lexa Cain’s Foxy’s Friday Freebies: Every Friday, writer Lexa Cain features a large and varied line-up of links to free stories, novels, novellas, and other goodies on her blog.
- My own Hidden Library: when my new site debuts near the end of February, those who sign up for my Hidden Library will have access to free ebooks, along with other resources and perks.
Winning NaNoWriMo: It’s only available once a year, but if you sign up for NaNoWriMo and manage to write 50,000 words in November, “winning” the challenge, you’ll receive lots of discount offers and some freebies, including free trials of Scrivener and other software. There’s always a lengthy list of prizes. I guess, if you were just in it for the freebies, you could enter a manuscript you’ve already written to snag them, but you didn’t hear it from me.
Jutoh Ebook Formatting Program: My writer friend swears by this program, and computers are not her thing. She even showed me how easy it is, and it’s true–within minutes, your ebook is ready to go. Jutoh can fill most, if not all of your formatting needs, and the program is a one-time cost of $39 USD (although there are more expensive options, of course). If you currently pay for formatting, this will save you a lot of money over time.
Lynda Online Courses and Classes: Another writer friend is a huge fan of Lynda, which offers courses and tutorials in just about everything, from software programs to design to marketing. After taking advantage of its ten-day free trial, you can subscribe starting at $19 USD per month, which I believe you can cancel at any time. There are free training videos offered for every course. However, if you opt for the free trial and decide it’s not for you, be sure to cancel Lynda or they’ll start billing you as a subscriber.
Focus: I gave a more in-depth description of this program in yesterday’s post, but it has greatly increased my productivity by blocking social media sites, Google, etc. during the hours I’m supposed to be working. It has a generous free trial, and a one-time purchase of the program is only $19 USD.
Fiverr: If you need something–a business card, photography, editing, voiceover work–chances are someone’s offering it on this site for $5 USD. Everyone wants you to opt for something more expensive, of course, but if you’re in need of a great deal, this site has tons of them.
Now it’s your turn to add to the list! What free or low-cost resources have you discovered? Have you tried any of the ones I mentioned?
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.