Self-publishing

Best Self-Publishing Software and Tools for Indies

Best Self-Publishing Software and Tools for Indies

For a fellow indie author or publisher, resourcefulness is key. When running your own business and taking care of everything, many authors learn tech-savviness as part of their author journey. This list of the best self-publishing software and tools is designed to make the basic tasks of publishing easier for those who handle multiple responsibilities. It’s important to have the right tools at your fingertips for editing, marketing, and beyond.

Some of these are free options, and others are paid, but when it comes to the best software for book publishing, make sure you’re looking at:

This list goes over:

  • Microsoft Office / Google Drive
  • Grammarly / ProWritingAid
  • Scrivener / Vellum
  • Online Ebook Converter
  • Canva / Photopea
  • Smartmockups
  • Mailchimp / Hootsuite
  • PublishDrive

💡 What is PublishDrive? It’s the simple and effective global self-publishing solution. This is an all-in-one self-publishing platform that helps with the publishing, distribution, royalty reporting, marketing, and overall management of books.

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Microsoft Office / Google Drive

When writing a book, there’s no need to get fancy or pricey writing tools. Microsoft Office or Google Workspace are among the best free book publishing software applications to use. You can easily format your manuscript in Microsoft Word or Google Docs for ebook conversion. You can use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to track finances.

Google docs is a popular writing software for indies

Grammarly / ProWritingAid

Grammarly and ProWritingAid are editing tools that help spot common grammatical mistakes and other areas for improvement. They’re super easy to use. Install Grammarly for real-time suggestions when you’re writing in Google Docs. Or run a finished chapter through ProWritingAid’s browser editor.

Use ProWritingAid to edit your manuscript

Scrivener / Vellum

Scrivener is a popular ebook writing platform. It acts as a management system for documents, notes, and metadata. You can find templates for different types of manuscripts. You can also export text into different ebook formats. Scrivener is around $50 for computers and $20 for iOS devices.

Scrivener is a popular writing software

Vellum is another favorite book publishing tool (please note that it’s a Mac-exclusive). It has some similarities to Scrivener but is more expensive (around $200 for ebooks and $250 for ebooks and print books). For this price, though, you get a program that helps with formatting and producing high-quality books. 

See this list of other popular writing and formatting apps and pick the best software for book publishing.

Online Ebook Converter

Let’s say you want to skip the paid software and go through most of the publishing process without spending a dime. After formatting a manuscript yourself, use the free Online Ebook Converter straight from your browser. There are over 15 input formats.

How to Format a Manuscript for Ebook Conversion?

If you have a .docx file, use PublishDrive’s free ebook converter by dropping your file and converting it to an .epub or .mobi format.

Bookmark Free Ebook Converter

Canva / Photopea

Canva is among the self-publishing tools for those who prefer to create their own book cover designs. It comes with all kinds of awesome designer templates. Check out this write-up about using Canva to create a book cover for free easily. Its drag-and-drop function makes it quite fun to put pre-made design elements together. No technical design skills are needed. I was able to make this sample cover on Canva (not too shabby, right?):

Book cover design made on Canva

Photopea has the general capabilities of photoshop. Although a bit clunky, it’s a helpful and fast tool for self-publishers whenever they need to create basic graphic art. Think simple quote graphics for social media or email invites for your virtual book launch.

Smartmockups

Smartmockups is among the best software for self-publishing books. Use it to create 3D mock-ups of your book for free. These images are great for online advertising, like running Amazon ads for books.

Bestselling author Karen Myers shared how you should use 3D images, especially for promoting book bundles: “You will certainly want to display book bundles as 3D images for the instant identification that it represents a multi-book purchase.”

Use 3D images to showcase book bundles

Mailchimp / Hootsuite

Marketing your book is crucial in sustaining a self-publishing career. While you’re looking for software to publish a book, consider including one for building a mailing list to keep an open line of communication with your readers. This is about retaining customers. A mailing list helps with announcing new releases or special offers. Mailchimp is a popular software for organizing this activity and sending beautiful newsletters. Here’s a write-up that covers other email providers best for published authors.

MailChimp is a popular email software for authors and publishers

Social media is another marketing tactic used to connect with readers and get discovered by new potential readers. Get active on at least one social platform like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok. Don’t forget about creating an author page on Amazon or Goodreads too. Here’s a cool guide on planning a book launch with social media.

If you decide to go all out with your social media strategy, Hootsuite is a perfect tool for scheduling posts for multiple accounts in advance.

PublishDrive

PublishDrive provides a platform where you can publish a book to thousands of stores worldwide with time-saving publishing tools. Under one dashboard, authors can edit books (ebook, audiobook, print-on-demand), track finances, and even run book promotions. Here’s how easy they make the process:

Publishing

  • Upload and prep your book with a user-friendly interface.
  • Set up metadata easily with features like AI-suggested book categories.
  • Go through a quick review process by industry experts who have already helped 18K+ indies get published.
  • Ask for a customer service rep at any time.
PublishDrive publishing is fast and easy with its friendly dashboard

Distribution

See 400+ Book Stores

PublishDrive distribution includes thousands of stores

Finances

  • Eliminate the multiple spreadsheets and receive automated royalty reports for all your stores.
  • Track sales numbers as soon as they’re sent from retailers, plus rankings and ratings.
  • Generate pre-made charts to analyze trends, like where your sales come from.
Handle royalties easily with PublishDrive

Marketing

  • Collect book reviews by sending DRM-protected copies straight to devices via Apple or Google.
  • Schedule price promotions–like discounted special sales–for a limited time.
  • Run Amazon ads and enhance them through the use of PublishDrive’s AI tool.
  • Browse feature opportunities with hundreds of PublishDrive’s partners and apply to be selected for retailer-specific promos like appearing on the front page of a retailer’s digital store, or in their newsletter.
Promote your book with PublishDrive tools

Indies Made 85% More Book Sales with PublishDrive

Try the free book publishing software for 14 days.

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Digital Books Are In Demand

The time to self-publish is now. Readers today prioritize online channels to digest content. Make sure you’ve got the best tools to make your publishing career a success. 

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