It’s that time of year again and I got software that’s in serious need of an upgrade and several of my friends are looking for cheap book covers. So I went on a quest to find the best deals on everything from advertising to free college courses. And since I promised to share everything I learn, I’m passing this info on to you so you can share in the savings and spread the word.
Before I go on, I have to announce I am in no way affiliated with any of the products or services listed.
Word Processing Software
Did you know that your MS Office software has an expiration date? It’s called a lifecycle and when yours ends, the software no longer receives updates thus making your computer vulnerable. So when the lifecycle on your software ends, you’ll have to upgrade. Today, Microsoft has subscription based services ranging from $6.99-$9.99 per month or $69-$99 per year. This sounds cheap but If you compare it to a one time purchase, it’s not.
For example, you can of course purchase Office Word 2016 for about $109.99, while, Office Home & Student 2016 costs $149.99 and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. If that’s not enough for you, Office Professional 2016 is $399 and includes Outlook, Access, and Publisher as well as the basics Word, Excel, etc. According to Microsoft the 2016 software’s extended support date is over in 2025. So long term, a one time purchase beats the subscription hands down.
Yes, Microsoft does have a free online version of their software, but as you may have already guessed, it’s not complete like the paid version. But if all you need is a very basic version of Word, this is a great thing because now MS Word is 100% free for you!
Check it out for yourself and while you’re doing that, I’ll list all the cheaper and free alternatives below.
- Scrivener: For the past few years Scrivener has made a name for itself as THE writer’s software. Everyone from novelists to screen writers sing the praises of this software. Scrivener is great for indie authors because it can convert files to .epub or .kobi making it easy to upload manuscripts to retailers.
Price: $40 after a 30 day free trial.
- Word Perfect: MS Word’s twin cousin who is very basic in features. Price: $89 for the student version and $219 for the standard edition. *These are their holiday 2015 sale prices*
- KingSoftware: Often called the clone of Microsoft Office, KingSoftware is based in Hong Kong and offers both free and paid services. Their paid professional software will cost you around $79.99 and includes spreadsheet, word processor, and presentation software.
- Google Docs: I have a Google account and shared both documents and spreadsheets on this blog. It’s also convenient having your Gmail account, Google Drive and Youtube account all in the same place. However, Google Docs are relatively Spartan so I only use them to share documents with others.
- Apache Open Office: I know several authors who use Open Office and sung the praises of this free word processing software. Over the past few years though, it’s fallen out of favor because of numerous bugs and user issues. However, developers have fixed those things and now Open Office is slowly mounting a comeback.
- Libre Office is a spinoff of Open Office’s source code but is different in the sense that it is user friendly and less buggy. It also translates Word documents much better than it used to.
If your internet bill or data plan is sky high, then maybe it’s time to get your internet free. I know plenty of authors who use free wi-fi at libraries, cafes, and even airports in order to keep their expenses low.
But if you need to have the internet purchase a plan that is basic and cheap while occasionally going to wi-fi hot spots. This way you can surf all you want at a wi-fi hotspot while not exceeding your data limits. Consider it a 50/50 compromise.
Here are a few apps to help you find free wi-fi hotspots in your area.
Many indie authors are frightened by the idea of advertising their books because they believe it will cost a fortune. However they couldn’t be more wrong. There are several reader-centric sites that offer cheap or even free advertising. Keep in mind some of these sites are only for books that are free. If you want to actually make a profit then go to my post Cheap Advertising for Indie Authors.
- Book Daily Listing on their sales page with free sample chapter.
- Awesome Gang Basic listing.
- Digital Book Today: Weekly Featured Reads is temporarily free as of 12/1/15 You have to meet their requirements though 35 reviews of 4+ stars of more etc. P.S. They are looking to fill up their 2016 schedule so space is limited. Also, their regular listing is available for free here too.
- Bargain Booksy (The cousin of Free Booksy) offers advertising as low as $25.
- Kboards: $35 to get a feature.
- Free Kindle Books & Tips: This is for a regular posting and is $25 for books under $1.00 and $50 for books over $1.01.
I hesitated before writing this because of all of poorly made self-published book covers. However there are so many good free photo editing services and even cheap book cover designers I decided why not? Maybe this will be the year indies shake that image the rest of the industry has about our book covers. A girl can dream, right?
- Canva: Offers Kindle covers and Ebook covers for free as well as up to $1.
- StockSnap.io (stock photos)
- New Old Stock: (vintage stock photos)
- Fiverr: Price $5 and up.
- CanStock Photo Credits start $9 and $39 monthly subscription.
- Ebook Indie Covers: $40-$180 for premade covers.
If you need more resources, I have a Pinterest board called: Affordable Book Cover Designers you can check out if you’re in the market for a book cover.
Many indie authors are determined to perfect their craft and figure out business side of publishing while others are looking to perfect their craft. That’s great because an education hasn’t been this accessible since— ever.
- Open Culture: Courses include; young adult literature, Lord of the Rings #1-3 (I kid you not!), copyright law, journalism and business.
- Coursera :Advanced writing, historical fiction, grammar and writing for young readers.
- edX.org: Did you know that Ivy League schools are offering free courses online too? At edX.org several ivy league schools like Harvard, Yale and Princeton are uploading courses like; how to write a novel, English comp, and electronic literature for free!
- Udemy: Here courses can be anywhere from $199-$299. Courses include; Marketing, communication and entrepreneurship.
- Lynda.com: Has a subscription service of $19.99 $29.99 a month as well as yearly services that ranges from $239.88 to $359.88. Courses range from; Email marketing, freelancing, and writing (look in the business category). There is a free trial so it doesn’t hurt to try it before committing.
I know I dumped a lot of resources here but it’s the holiday season and I think you’re worth it! ❤