21 free resources for authors

What are your favorite free resources for authors?

I publish the free Build Book Buzz newsletter twice a month; the content in the second issue of the month always includes a free resource for authors. I’ve compiled my absolute favorites for power and impact in a free report, Top 5 Book Promotion Resources, but that doesn’t mean that the others I’ve been featuring each month aren’t valuable.

Here are some of my favorites from the newsletter in somewhat alphabetical order. What would you add to the list? Please include them in a comment.

1. Author Monthly Planner

The authors at the Duolit website have created the Author Monthly Planner, an easy, visual guide for organizing your writing and marketing life. It’s a simple, downloadable calendar that lets you assign writing or marketing tasks to specific days and weeks so you see where you’ve been and where you’re going.

The thinking behind this, they say, is that you’re more likely to do what’s on your to-do list if you’ve got context for it. When you see what you’ve already accomplished, you’ll be more likely to keep moving forward.

2. Babelcube

Has the cost of translation services kept you from expanding into global markets with your book?

Babelcube will translate it into other languages absolutely free. The service provides an easy way for publishers and independent book authors to partner with translators at no cost. The company then distributes the books in multiple languages globally. You, the translator, and Babelcube share the royalties.

3. Book Blogger Directory

Planning a virtual book tour?

Check out the comprehensive Book Blogger Directory.

Use the tool bar at the top to select fiction, non-fiction, religious, or young adult, then select your book’s genre or category to find bloggers who love books and authors.

Need more information on virtual book tours? Check out my free download, Virtual Book Tour Basics, too.

Booktrib4. BookTrib.com

BookTrib is a site for book lovers that offers sneak peeks of pre-released books, new books just published, news, book trailers and related videos, weekly giveaways, and live chats with bestselling, well-known, and new and talented authors.

According to the site, BookTrib has an established presence among book bloggers and book buyers. It features authors and titles in a weekly giveaway and enjoys a regular following of well-educated and primarily female readers  who receive the site’s e-mailed book alerts.

It also provides a social community component that allows users, including authors, to connect with each other to talk about a book, share opinions and reviews, or even form book clubs.

I recommend signing up as a free member and spending time on the site before considering purchasing an advertising package, which is how authors get exposure on the site.

5. Competwition  

If you’ve been thinking about creating a Twitter contest for your book, now’s the time to do it. Competwition creates and supports Twitter contests. Just log-in with your Twitter account, follow the instructions for creating your competition, and let Competwition supplement your own promotion efforts by promoting it to its (currently) more than 60,000 followers.

Once Competwition users enter your contest, they will automatically follow you on Twitter and tweet the message you chose when you set up your contest.

If you’re new to Twitter contests, which can help promote your book and generate more Twitter followers, read “How to host a book contest” here on the blog.

6. Contact Any Celebrity

If you want to snag celebrity endorsements for your book, use my affiliate link to check out ContactAnyCelebrity.com. It’s a searchable database of celebrities and contact information for their representatives (note that it doesn’t give you any celebrity’s personal e-mail address).

There’s an annual fee for the database, but you can sign up for a trial program that offers seven days of access at no charge. That gives most authors enough time to grab contact information for the representatives of celebrities they want to endorse their books.

It’s important to note that you need to provide a credit card number or checking account information to participate in the trial program, and if you don’t cancel your account within those seven days, your account will be charged the annual $197 fee. If you don’t want to subscribe for a year, make sure you add a reminder to your calendar to cancel so you don’t get charged.

7. Editorial Calendar Database

Cision, a company that distributes press releases and provides other publicity products and services, offers an online Editorial Calendar Database that lets you search the scheduled editorial content of nearly a half million publications at no charge. You’ll have to provide your name and address to get access to the results, which means you’ll be added to the company’s mailing list, but that’s a small price to pay for this powerful and helpful tool.

8. 15 Places to Promote Your Book for Free

MediaBistro’s Galleycat blog is one of my favorite resources for information about the publishing industry, in part because of content like the “15 Places to Promote Your Book for Free” list.

Several of the sites require the books to be either new or free, but scan the list to see which ones might be a good resource for you and yours.

fresh figs

9. Figment.com 

Figment.com is a community for young writers and readers that lets you share your writing, connect with other people who love to read, and discover new stories and authors.

The site features several ways for you to interact with readers and vice versa. There’s no charge to participate as an author or a fan.

10. iDreamBooks.com

iDreamBooks.com’s tagline is, “Never read a crappy book again!”

It’s a “book discovery tool” with a rating and recommendation system based on reviews from critics at publications that include The New York Times and select bloggers. The scores represent a weighted average of all reviews from book critics. Each book’s score is a percentage; iDreamBooks recommends books with a score of 70 percent or higher. A blue cloud icon next to the score indicates a critically-acclaimed book while a grey icon represents one that isn’t.

It’s also a great resource for scanning book covers. Go through the various lists and study the covers and their ratings. Do you see patterns in your book’s category – does a certain type of cover always appear on a highly rated book or not? Use it to inspire your own cover plans.

11. Authorgraph

If you’ve got an e-book book available, you can now sign it electronically for buyers with an online service called Authorgraph. Because you sign each book individually as you receive requests, you can write something different (if you want) for everyone who makes a request. So, while you might write something generic for a stranger, you can write something personal when you get a request from someone you know.

12. PicMonkey.com

Ban boring blog and Facebook images with PicMonkey.com, a no-charge site that lets you edit and combine images for your blog, Facebook cover shot, book cover, or anything else quickly and easily. Add special effects and filters to your photos, crop images, even add text – do it all at PicMonkey.com.

In addition, use it to create image collages for your Facebook fan page cover photo by combining several images side-by-side or in other visual combinations.

PicMonkey can also support your marketing by adding a watermark – identifying text such as your website URL – to the images you post on Facebook so that when others share them, they share your web address, too.

Learn more about other resources for creating social media images in “How to create shareable images with quotes.”

Insegna on air

13. Podcast411.com

One of my favorite authors and bloggers, Pat Flynn, says that most of his website traffic now comes from people who discovered his podcast first.

Hosting your own podcast is a great way for an author to build an audience, expand reach, and connect with people. Being a guest on someone else’s podcast is also a excellent way to promote your book (and it takes far less work than launching your own podcast).

If you host a podcast and want to get it listed in more directories, or if you’d like to be a podcast guest and need to find shows that are a good fit, check out the directory list at Podcast411.com. It’s a good starting point for both goals.

14. Press Release Template

Did you quote others in your nonfiction book or rely on the topic or location expertise of others for your novel? If so, you can use them to get publicity for your book.

Simply use the fill-in-the-blanks “local source” press release template I’ve made available for immediate download. Tweak it to fit your situation, complete it individually for each expert or source, and send it to the hometown media of each of those individuals — including sources of anecdotes — in your book.

Need help determining media outlets for your sources? Get a few tips in this blog post, “How to build a killer book publicity media list.”

15. Publishing Profits Podcast Show

I listen to the Publishing Profits Podcast Show produced by e-book publisher Tom Corson-Knowles. He interviews authors, publishers, editors, agents, marketers, and others to share inspiration, education, and best practices. Guests often discuss the huge changes in the industry and what you can do to succeed as an author today.

Whether you’re just thinking about writing your first book or you’re a multi-published author, you’ll find new ideas to help you take your career to the next level.

16. SourceBottle 

One of my smart and helpful Australian subscribers alerted me to SourceBottle, an international service that connects journalists with experts on topics related to women’s interests. Topics include parenting, health and well-being, women in business, entertainment, food, and many others.

Click on the interactive global map to get to the portion of the website for your part of the world. Subscribe in the box on the right to receive daily e-mailed alerts for the topics you select when you register. It’s that easy!

lightning landscape

17. Thunderclap

What if you could amplify a single, important tweet that supports your book?

You can with a cool tool called Thunderclap.

Thunderclap is something like an online flash mob – you and others share the same message at the same time, spreading an idea through Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr that’s hard to ignore.

Everything happens through the Thunderclap site: You set up your message and a campaign, then let your social networks know about it. Your connections go to Thunderclap and agree to support your “cause” – in this case, a specific message about your book. When you reach 100 supporters, the campaign happens – the message is shared automatically through the social networks of those who agreed to participate.

If you don’t get 100 collaborators, the message doesn’t go out.

18. Top 100 Websites for Book Promotion

Author A.D. Winch has compiled what he calls the “Top 100 Websites for Author Promotion and Book Promotion.” The list is free and downloadable in both Word and PDF formats.

He says that most of the sites listed are designed to help you promote a free or reduced-price book. He recommends using the list when you’re promoting a free book on Amazon.com

Pretty sweet.

19. The Ultimate Author Checklist for Online Book Marketing

The Ultimate Author Checklist for Online Book Marketing from the Book Marketing Tools website gives you a comprehensive checklist that you will want to refer to regularly while you’re writing your book and later, once it’s published. The downloadable PDF file includes a printable version of the comprehensive checklist, too. Let it help guide your marketing decisions as you move through the publishing process.

20. 21 Ways to Write and Publish Your Nonfiction Book 

Get a free copy of Kristen Eckstein’s e-book, 21 Ways to Write and Publish Your Nonfiction Book, by completing the survey form. Just answer a few quick questions, and she’ll send you a PDF of the book. It’s a pretty fair trade-off for the couple of minutes it will take you to help with her market research. 


21. Yasiv

Yasiv is one cool tool.

Type your book title into the box at the top of the (very empty) page, then select “Go.” The screen comes to life as the software displays a fun “mindmap” type of visual featuring the covers of books that people purchased in addition to yours. It also tells you which of those books are the most popular.

Use this tool to learn more about the people who are buying your book (you might be surprised!) or for recommendations for your own reading list.

What free resources would you add to the list? Please help your author colleagues by adding a comment with your recommended free resource or tool. 


Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

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  1. Sandra, this newsletter is awesome, thanks for sending.
    I have been busy with many things, and need time to rethink my direction on getting my books to sell.
    I am grateful for your continued support. Yes I do read all your newsletters, and appreciate them very much.
    Be back in touch soon.

    1. Hey Nick, I’m glad you found the blog post helpful. Sometimes you have to explore a little to see what will work and what won’t, but you’ll figure it out.


  2. Sandra.

    Thank you so much for this newsletter. There is so much great info here which is so helpful to new authors such as myself. You truly are a Godsend for those of us who need to figure out how to do all the other parts of being an author aside from writing the book!

    Thanks and God Bless.

  3. Great post! I had heard of some but not of others and I’m taking note and saving for future reference. I also like Canva.com https://www.canva.com/ that offers options for creating visuals, from covers (for CDs, books, posts) to signs, banners…with pre-prepared formats and templats for the different social media outlets. Some of them you have to pay for and you can also buy inexpensive pictures, but if you use your own photographs it’s an easy option for people with not many skills for manipulating visuals. They also offer brief workshops where you learn by doing the exercises and following instruction.
    Thanks again!

  4. Thank you! Great post. Love the link to the newspaper listings by state – never would have found that on my own. Starting my spreadsheet!

    1. I’m so glad to hear it, Bill! If you haven’t done so already, you might want to subscribe to the Build Book Buzz newsletter. I send it twice a month and the content is different from what you’ll find on the blog.


    1. You’re welcome, Lisa! I always enjoy looking for a free resource to include in the “Build Book Buzz” newsletter every month — it’s amazing what’s out there!


  5. Saundra,

    The Monthly planner folks just went me into a Merry go round. They have my info, and I have nothing. Please inform them they need to clean up their links, or sever your association with them.

    1. Robin, this message at the top of the monthly planner page: [Hi there! Duolit is on hiatus, but please feel free to explore our extensive archive of posts and our free Weekend Book Marketing Makeover. Thanks for visiting! ] explains things. You have lost nothing by not receiving the free planner, right?

      It’s impossible for me to continually update the 10 years of content on this site, unfortunately.


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