Here are my picks for essential business and productivity tools you need for doing business as a professional author-publisher.
Reminder: This consumer’s guide is a companion reference to the Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors, 4th Edition, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to create, publish, distribute, and market, and sell your book.
IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
Derek Murphy at CreativIndieCovers provides a free online barcode generator here: https://www.creativindiecovers.com/free-online-isbn-barcode-generator/
You’ll also get a free barcode when you create a free book cover template with IngramSpark https://myaccount.ingramspark.com/Portal/Tools/CoverTemplateGenerator
Make sure to always include the ISBN (one for each format) and the price in the barcode. See my guide for more information.
Blasty is an online tool that monitors Google for illegal copies of your content and allows you to remove them from Google search engine results with one click. The product is in beta until November 2017 but you can get free access now. Blasty’s system will alert you by email when it finds a Google search engine entry for your book.
Blasty has an arrangement with Google to take down your listing when you click the orange BLAST button next to an infringing site. The listing will disappear, often in a few hours. Removing search results from Google means that people will not see them offered for free.
This is convenient because otherwise, you’d need to contact Google directly to remove each site from their search engine results.
In a checkbox next to each suspected entry you’ll be able to click Forbidden (trusted by Google site), Whitelisted, or Blast.
Sites trusted by Google are retailers like Amazon, who may indeed be offering your ebook for free, with your permission. Whitelist the entries you recognize as blogs, excerpts, and interviews for which you’ve given permission by clicking the white flag. For infringing sites, click Blast and it’ll be taken care of. (Sounds ominous, huh?)
Universal link creator for your book so that the customer is automatically directed to the Amazon.com country website they live in. Allows Amazon Affiliate links.
In the US you can register your copyright for $35 in about 35 steps and, coincidentally, it took me about 35 minutes, too. I wrote a lengthy blog post about this, detailing the step-by-step process, with screenshots. The US Government Copyright Registration site provides very detailed instructions. Other countries have similar copyright registration procedures. Do take a look at the post before you start so you can prepare all your materials and gather your information. There’s a lot of it!
Learn about copyright infringement vs fair use. The Authors Alliance has published a guide to Fair Use for Nonfiction Author, available in PDF format.
You’re going to need to share your manuscript, your book cover, and images back and forth with beta readers, editors, artists, and all kinds of people. But lots of email hosting services block emails with large attachments, so your email may never arrive. Also, attachments can carry viruses.
You’re better off using a free online sharing service like Google Drive, DropBox, Hightail (or SendOwl, SendThis, WeTransfer, and many others).
Most of these services will notify you when your invitee joins the site and downloads the document, so you’ll never have to wonder if your document reached its destination.
Don’t use email attachments, use Google Drive, a free office suite in the cloud that allows you to share documents with others and even work on the same document, concurrently. Google Drive gives you 15MG of storage free, but for an additional $1.99 a month you get 100GB more (or 1TB for 9.99/mo) to store, sync, and share documents, images, videos, and other data, with the ability to access via any web browser it from any of your devices. This is a really good deal, and it’s great for backups and for sharing your work. You can download your doc from Google Drive to Word and use a template to create your ebooks and PDF for print.
Maintain your independence and purchase your own ISBNs. Bowker is the official U.S. ISBN agency, and you should buy your own set of 10 or more ISBNs with their MyIdentifiers service. Other countries have similar agencies. In the UK it’s the Nielsen UK ISBN Agency and Canada its Library and Archives Canada. Do a web search for your country’s official ISBN agency.
Bowker has a partnership with StreetLib reviewed in Aggregation and Distribution and their Word-to-EPUB formatting services bundled with 10 ISBNs and two barcodes for $395 is an okay deal, but you’re wasting money on barcodes because you can easily get them for free.
Rev Transcription Service
A team of transcriptionists takes your audio or video recordings and transcribes them to 99% accuracy. Simply upload your files or use their iPhone Transcription App and get a complete transcript in as soon as 12 hours. $1.00 per minute. Done by people and not speech recognition software.
The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide
The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide is a book available in print and ebook formats that lists curated and verified resources for independent authors who plan to publish their own books. Produced by a team with long experience in both traditional and independent publishing, the over 850 resources are listed in an easy-to-use format that includes live links, phone numbers, email addresses, and brief descriptive copy. The Guide makes vendors and other resources easy to find by separating them into 33 distinct categories within the three main tasks the self-publisher must deal with: Prepare, Publish, and Promote.
Are you serious about doing business as an independent author or small press?
The Self-Publishing Boot Camp courses will help you with every aspect of self-publishing including how to create a business as an independent author. Visit the course page and invest in the Set Up Your Publishing Business course. It’s worth it! Find out with the 30-day 100% guarantee.