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Author Utilities

Some fun and useful Utilities for Authors...

Hey, fellow authors! So I got fed up with wading through my gazillion bookmarks, and decided to share some of my favorite utilities here, all in one place... Hope you find it useful! :-)

Please note that I neither recommend nor endorse any of these services. Always do your own careful research and use at your discretion.

Author Utilities

General Knowledge for Authors:

Know what your rights are worth (Courtney Milan) - how to evaluate a publisher's offer

Top 10 Reasons Why I Would Never Publish Traditionally (Dean Wesley Smith)

Author Earnings (, Hugh Howey, Data Guy)

Freelancer's Survival Guide (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

Bookbub Promotion Requirements / Pricing / International Retailer Links

Ultimate Guide to Self-Publishing & Book Distribution Tools (BookBub) - useful comparison of aggregators and distributors such as Smashwords, BookBaby, Draft2Digital, CreateSpace, IngramSpark, Amazon KDP.

CreateSpace vs. IngramSpark - Part 1 - Part 2 (Giacomo Giammatteo) - detailed comparison and contrast of the two POD service providers.

Distribution: Getting Global Reach for your Self-published Books (Karen Myers) - great checklist for "going wide" with global distribution

The Liliana Nirvana Technique (Hugh Howey) - explanation of the successful practice of releasing many books at once, for maximum long-term impact

H.M. Ward's Book Marketing Tips - extremely useful blog articles

How Indie Authors Should Price a Book for Optimal Success (Digital Book World) - useful article on pricing best practices

How to Publish an Audiobook: Your Guide to Audiobook Production and Distribution (Written Word Media) - a good start to audiobooks

Helpful Links for Authors (Robert Bidinotto) - a wealth of author utilities links similar to this page

Writers' Resources (Laura Resnick) - a wealth of author utilities links similar to this page

The Hot Sheet (Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson) - essential publishing industry newsletter for authors

Writers Cafe at - the one-stop place for modern publishing

Writer Sanctum - the alternative forum similar to the above.

20BooksTo50K - a high-level motivational and informative Facebook group of both high-achieving and aspiring indies with cutting-edge info for marketing, increasing sales, and self publishing tips.

Wide for the Win - an excellent high-level informative group specifically for "wide" authors (wide means selling on all platforms and vendors as opposed to only being exclusive to Amazon) with a wealth of industry info and advice.

Self-Publish Your Ebook Here:

Amazon KDP - Set up your author account here

B&N Nook Press - Set up your author account here

Draft2Digital - Set up your author account here

Kobo Writing Life - Set up your author account here

Google Play - Set up your author account here

StreetLib - Set up your author account here

Smashwords - Set up your author account here

Self-Publish Your Print-on-Demand (POD) Book Here:

Amazon KDP - Set up your author account here (paperback only, more info)

CreateSpace (Amazon) - Set up your author account here (paperback only) - NOTE: this program has been discontinued and in now merged/transformed into Amazon KDP (see above).

Lighting Source / IngramSpark (Ingram) - Set up your author account here (hardcover and paperback, widest distribution)

Copyright Registration:

Copyright Registration (United States Electronic Copyright Office (eCO), Library of Congress) - register your book here within 3 months of first publication, current cost per book is $30.

Search Copyright Records - US Library of Congress search.

LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) - Authors: How to Get Your LCCN (Library of Congress Number) for library cataloging.

PCN new account (US Library of Congress) - Get an account here to obtain an LCCN.

Reviewers, Bloggers and Book Tours:

Book Blogger Directory

Networked Blogs - Paranormal Romance

Book Tour Coordinators - spreadsheet of various

NetGalley - professional review source

Advance Review Copies: Why They’re Used and How to Create Them (IngramSpark) - useful article on ARCs


LibraryThing Member Giveaway - form to post giveaway (ebooks)

Goodreads Giveaway - form to post giveaway (paper print)

Amazon Giveaway - various

Rafflecopter - paid tool for running a giveaway

Publicity and Street Teams:

HARO - Free publicity connecting reporters and news sources

What is an Author Street Team? (BiblioCrunch) - how to set up a street team of fans to promote your books

The Balancing Act of Author Street Teams - explanation of different street team styles

More on Street Teams:

Mailing Lists and List Building:

MailChimp - highly recommended mailing list provider

Setting up MailChimp (Desmond X. Torres on Kboards) - very useful instructions, all you need to know

How to set up an automated welcome email with Mailchimp (WrittenWordMedia) - basic intro article on autoresponder automation

Set up Custom DKIM (MailChimp) - set up account so mailings appear to come directly from your domain, instead of from MailChimp servers.

Email Whitelist Instructions Generator ( Key Web Data LLC, Chris Lang) - handy free tool for generating a page with whitelist instructions for your website

Email Spam Filter Trigger Words To Avoid In Your E-Campaigns - tool to analyze the effectiveness of your email subject line - Test the Spammyness of your Emails

Free Course: List Building for Authors (Mark Dawson) - how to grow your mailing list

Revue - tool for paid newsletters, free up until 50 subscribers, then costs $5/month for 200 subscribers and increases.

Substack - tool for paid newsletters, free but deducts 10% of your subscription fee after costs.

17 Insanely Actionable List Building Strategies (That Work Fast) - useful article with strategies for building up your mailing list.

Hosting Venues to Store or Direct-Sell Ebooks: (Ingram) - Native Retail Network for making a store online.

BookFunnel - upload and store freebie ebooks for mailing list signup incentives



Social Media Tools:

Canva - free tool for creating images to use on social media

How To Make Killer Promo Graphics In Canva (David Gaughran) - useful instructions for making ad graphics

PSD Converter - tool converts your PSD image files to other image formats, such as JPG, PDF, BMP, PNG, GIF, TIFF and more.

Book Brush - easily create professional ads and social media images for your books

Hashtags For Writers: Free Generator Tool (Kindlepreneur) - easily generate relevant Hashtags for writers and authors on bookish subjects on various social media, free generator tool.

QR Code Generator (Beaconstac) - create QR codes for free for your business and marketing materials.

QR Code Generator for Authors (Kindlepreneur) - create QR codes for free for your books and marketing materials.

Fans and Fanfic (Fan Fiction):

Professional Author Fanfic Policies (Fanlore) - various fan fiction policy examples

Cracking the Wattpad Code

Book Awards for Indies:

Book Awards For Self-Published Authors (Publishers Weekly)

50 Book Awards Open to Self-publishers (Alliance of Independent Authors)

Countdown Clock Widgets:

Countdown Clocks Widget (free) - Widget 2

Word Count and Word Trackers:

Progressbar - basic useful wordcount and word meter progress bar using HTML

Word Trackers, various (Tracy Lucas) - 13 free writing meters, progress trackers, and word counters

Author Wordcount ( - plugin widget shows word counts for works in progress

5,000 Words Per Hour (Sly Fox Applications) - app to increase hourly word count productivity, on Apple platform

Various Analysis Tools:

Headline Analyzer (Emotional Marketing Value)

KnowEm Username Search (check for use of brand, trademark, product, etc.)

Bookalyzer - (Author Marketing Club)

PickFu - unbiased feedback on book titles, covers, and other aspects of your project

K-lytics - publishing analysis tool

Mobile-Friendly Test (Google) - check to see if your author website is mobile-friendly, with tips for improvement

UsabilityHub - place to post your website, book cover design, etc., for user evaluation and quick feedback

MacInCloud - virtual Mac service for uploading ebooks direct to Apple

Freebie.Supply (Awesome Free Things for Entrepreneurs & Startups) - useful tools, apps, and widgets

Buy Links and Universal Link Redirects:

Books2Read (Draft2Digital) - new universal redirect free service for all authors, excellent

MyBookTable Bookstore ( - plugin to display books with buy links

Kindle Instant Book Preview (Amazon) - widget for a mouse-over preview - worldwide Amazon URL redirecting book purchase links

Geotargeted Amazon Shortlink - another Amazon URL redirector

Marketing and Plans of Action:

Monthly Book Marketing Planner (Penny Sansevieri) - free PDF for organizing your monthly marketing activities, download in exchange for her newsletter signup

Author Capital Planner - a tool designed to help you determine the cash you'll need to get your publishing company to break even.

Promotion, Cross-Promotion, and Book Submission Tools: (Gerald M. Kilby) - cross-promote with a huge network of other Indie authors via a painless widget on your website.

Bookbub Promotion Requirements / Pricing / International Retailer Links

Interactive List of Book Promotion Sites & Free Submission Tool (Readers in the Know) - useful tool for keeping track of all promo sites and their criteria

Book Promo Sites (Indies Unlimited) - very comprehensive

Free eBook Promotion Sites (Free & Discounted Books) - very comprehensive

KDP Select Free Promo Resources (The Self Publishing Toolkit)

Patty Jansen's Science Fiction and Fantasy Promo - sign up to be notified about next promo op

Nicholas Erik's List of Promo Sites - list of various promo venues

KDROI (Wesley Atkins) - bookmarklet tool submits both free books and paid books to promo sites, paid

Free Kindle Book Submission Tool (Author Marketing Club) - scroll down

eBook Submission Tool (Book Marketing Tools)

Ultimate List of Sites to Promote Your Free eBook (Kate Tilton)

Where to promote 99 Cent eBooks (Ruth Nestvold)

FREE book listing sites (C. Gockel) - spreadsheet of various

Author Resources (The Kindle Book Review) - various useful

Book Raid - promo site that only charges per click to your featured book, with maximum charge capped at $20.

Tell Us About Your Free Titles! (Kobo Writing Life) - form to submit perma-free Free First in Series titles to Kobo

StoryOrigin - Author community to find reviewers, increase sales, and build mailing list.

Prolific Works - Author community to reach out to fans, do giveaways, and build mailing list.

BookFunnel - Author community to upload and store freebie ebooks for mailing list signup incentives

Writing Productivity and Increasing Output:

For Those Who Write 5,000+ words/day (Kboards) - how to increase your daily writing output

The Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel (Randy Ingermanson, Ph.D.)

Virtual Assistants - people who provide services to authors who want some help with the business side of their workload

Writer Critiquing, Writers Workshops, and Beta Readers: - excellent online workshop



Book Cover and Ad Design:

James at / Humble Nations - excellent book cover design

Canva - free tool for creating images to use on social media

MyeCoverMaker - create your own 3-D book covers for boxed sets

Free Online Mockup Maker ( - create your own 3-D book and flat covers and more

3DPackage Online - another 3-D cover tool

Covers Sell Books - create ads with 3D covers out of 2D cover images

Book Brush - easily create professional ads and social media images for your books

27 Superb Sites With Royalty Free Stock Images For Commercial Use (Verve)

Deposit Photos - stock photos, supposedly without the 100,000 usage limit, please verify this

Free Online Logo Maker, Generate Logos Instantly (Launchaco) - useful, easy, and free logo creation tool

Animated Book Covers - How to make your own animated book covers, similar to "Kindle in Motion."

Glitterboo - a useful tool for animating images, such as book covers, and other online sparkle and magic photo effects.

JPEG and PNG Compressors - a useful tool to compress your image files, with neat formatting options.

Ebook Formatting and General Guides:

Smashwords Style Guide - How to Format Your Ebook (also free on Amazon)

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide - How to Market any Book for Free (also free on Amazon)

Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success - Smashwords (also free on Amazon)

Amazon Book Description Generator (Kindlepreneur) - tool for attractively formatting the book description section of your book record metadata on Amazon.

WideWizard - "The fastest way to publish books on sites like B&N, Kobo, Amazon, and more."

Stats and Analysis Tools for Sales Rank Tracking:

Sales Rank Express

Kindle Best Seller Calculator (Kindlepreneur)

Sales Ranking Chart (Theresa Ragan)

KDP Sales Rank Calculator - estimated unit sales per rank (link seems to be down, but keeping it in case it is restored)

eBook Tracker (Kindle Nation Daily)

NovelRank - Amazon Sales Rank Tracker

KDSpy (Wesley Atkins) - very interesting Amazon multi-analysis tool, paid

Publisher Rocket - "reverse-engineers" and analyzes Amazon data, key word searches, categories, paid tool.

Categories and Keywords:

Categories on Amazon (keyword charts)

Keywords on Amazon (best practices)

How to Choose Kindle Keywords - useful explanation

Amazon Categories to Maximize Book Sales + A Little-Known Secret!

Bklnk - Reverse lookup your current categores and verify category placement, plus more.

Wordtracker - Keyword Research Tool

YASIV - Amazon "also-boughts" relationship analyzer

Submission Tracker:

Story Tracker for iOS (Andrew Nicolle) - track story submissions to publishers

Sales Statistics and Royalties Apps and Trackers:

Kindle Sales Total (Eric James Stone) - Bookmarklet to add totals to Kindle sales stats

Author ROI Calculator (BookBub) - useful Excel spreadsheet for figuring out whether or not you made money from each of your marketing campaigns

Book Royalties Calculator (Shawntelle Madison) - calculator to determine units sales needed to earn out an advance

TrackerBox ( - sales tracking software for all vendors, excellent

Book Report (Liam) - KDP reporting bookmarklet, free if you make less than $1,000 a month, otherwise $10 a month.

ReaderLinks (The Author Helper, LLC.) - "The all-in-one tool for authors who want to simplify their business."

KDPulse - The Complete Kindle Stats Dashboard that Amazon forgot to give us Authors, all your Kindle stats in 1 click.

Afterword  Free App for Android (GooglePlay) - check your Amazon KDP stats

ScribeCount - tracks your books on many vendors, includes sales numbers, many reports, and much more (without requiring your passwords). Dislaimer: As a ScribeCount Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and subscribers.

BookTrakr - tracks your books on many vendors, includes sales numbers, review rankings, bestseller info (requires your passwords)

BookTrakker - send your book listings to over 25 online bookselling services

Datasprout - data comparison tool for Amazon KDP Sales Reports

AKreport - The Reporting Tool Amazon Forgot to Give to Publishers