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Writing tools & resources

Looking for tools to help you successfully write, publish, and market your next book? Find tools, information, and services approved by the Dabble writing community here.

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Editing Resources

Truth: It’s really hard (impossible) to edit your own work. Enlist the help of these pro resources to take you manuscript to the next level.

Proofreading, editing, and manuscript review packages are specifically tailored to help you publish the best possible version of your story.

Founded by Kristen Tate, The Blue Garrett is a San Francisco-based editing company. They happily edit most fiction genres, including literary fiction, historical fiction, thrillers, romance, young adult fiction, erotica, and fantasy.

Kirkus Editorial only hires editors who have edited books published by leading publishers, and all their editors are held to the highest standards. They currently offer three levels of editing: basic copyediting starting at 2 cents per word, collaborative editing starting at 3 cents per word, and a professional editing package starting at 6.5 cents per word.

Revise and Resub is a Twitter writing community featuring editing-focused chats and mini-events throughout the year. Their competitive annual contest invites querying authors to win feedback and edits on their full manuscripts from professional editors.

Their team of editors consists of vetted professionals who are passionate about helping authors transform their manuscripts and essays into masterpieces.

The company offers developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, proofreading, and manuscript critiquing. They also offer a comprehensive editing package called Everything Edit, which involves several rounds and different levels of editing (especially recommended if you are planning on submitting your manuscript to an agent or publisher). In addition to book-length manuscripts, they also work on essay collections, graphic novels, short stories, and children’s picture books.

They offer writing courses, editorial advice, and a range of editing services for writers of fiction and non-fiction. Although Jericho Writers has membership plans that give you access to more services and discounted rates, non-members can also avail of their editing services. Their services include assessing manuscripts, copyediting, reviewing agent submission packs, and reviewing manuscripts’ opening sections.

Publishing

Publish. Distribute. Earn money for all that mayhem you put your hero through. Could there be a better happy ending to your novel’s journey?

BookBaby is a self-publishing platform that offers significantly discounted ISBNs and worldwide distribution for your book. They have a pricing calculator on their site if you want to tweak and plan your publishing budget accordingly.

IngramSpark distributes to retailers outside of Amazon, including Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, libraries, among others. There’s a one-time setup fee of $49. Just be aware that this platform can be tricky to navigate for new authors. If you don’t know what you’re doing, ask for help.

Query Shark helps you write and revise query letters so you get a response. Upload your query letter and they’ll critique it!

KDP is Amazon’s publishing arm for distributing both ebooks and print-on-demand across their U.S. and global marketplaces. They don’t charge anything upfront, which is great if you’re on a tight budget.

Publisher Rocket is a super-valuable tool to own so you can boost your book earnings, save time on data research, and leverage your author career. Publisher Rocket is designed to help self-publishers build a solid, profitable book business based on real data collected from Amazon.

Marketing

From publishing to promoting, these resources come highly recommended for getting your hard work into readers’ hands.

Many new authors miss out on the easiest marketing opportunities, including forgetting to set up their Amazon Author Central and Goodreads profiles. These are essentially your “About the Author” pages that get linked to your book’s product page on Amazon (and elsewhere). This is also where you can customize your book listing, add editorial reviews, and more.

BookBub is your golden ticket to reaching millions of targeted readers, if you can get it. The price to run a promotion is reasonable given the return on investment, but they are highly selective about the books they choose to promote. So, be sure to read through the submission guidelines to maximize your chances of landing a spot.

Sending out ARCs (advanced reader copies) to reviewers or people on your email list seems easy enough…at first. When you consider that readers are consuming ebooks on thousands of different reading devices and apps — each with its own quirks and issues — it can be exhausting to have to constantly troubleshoot. With BookFunnel, you can just send a unique, non-shareable download link that allows reviewers to read a water-marked copy of your book in any digital format of their choice (epub, mobi, pdf, etc.).

Goodreads is another hidden gem for getting the word out about your book. It only takes a few minutes to set up an author profile and claim your book. From there, you can use the platform to promote and build buzz when it comes time to launch.

“The money is in the list.” As cliché as it is, this statement is key to a successful book launch. Mailchimp is free for your first 2,000 email subscribers, which makes it the perfect tool for list building and marketing your book on a budget.

For the less tech-savvy, I recommend using Substack. This newsletter platform was built to save writers the hassle of having to learn the ins and outs of email marketing so that they can focus on doing what they do best.

Book Covers And Art

Raise your hand if you’ve ever judged a book by its cover… Yeah, us too.

Create a professional book cover for free.

Co-founded by Shoshanna Evers in New York in 2012, SelfPubBookCovers is a company that helps self-published writers get in touch with professional book cover designers. Although it is mainly a premade cover business, indie authors also have the possibility of working with their team on custom designs.

Based on the Oregon coast, Bookfly Design is a small company which was founded with the purpose of providing self-published authors with high-quality book design services. James T. Egan, who has about 12 years of experience in print, book design, and in advertising, is the one who creates the covers.

RLD Inc. is a corporation based in Jacksonville, Florida. They provide book design, consultation, book branding, and marketing services for both self-published and traditional authors.

Based in Valley Cottage, New York, the company was founded by Glen Edelstein, who has extensive experience in the publishing industry. After working at St. Martin’s Press and at Penguin Random House Inc. for more than 25 years, Glen has gathered vast knowledge in terms of print and eBook formats.

Design and build your own awesome maps with Inkarnate. From planet scale to city streets, Inkarnate helps you turn your ideas into beautiful maps that bring your world to life. 

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Becky Wayne is the founder of Becky’s Graphic Design, which came to life in 1992. After gathering knowledge for more than 25 years as an entrepreneurial graphic designer, Becky is now able to provide high-quality services for any kind of project.

Founded by Deborah Bradseth in Minnesota, Tugboat Design is a business that came to life after she earned her B.A. in Design Technology from Bemidji State University, where she specialized in digital and electronic design. In terms of achievements, Deborah created the covers for Driven and Fueled, both by K. Bromberg, and they both reached the Top 100 Paid on Amazon.

Writing & Literature Websites

Bookmark these sites to discover access to classic works, tips, and writing challenges that will “fill the well” of inspiration and keep you motivated.  

An amazing repository of free ebooks. Volumes upon volumes of public-domain classic literature can be searched and read online, from Dante Alighieri to Émile Zola.

A well-regarded writing resource for twelve years and going, Daily Writing Tips is an archive of thousands of articles, ranging in topics from grammar to structure.

Pitch Wars is a volunteer-run mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read the entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for the agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents. Mentors can participate solo or pair up and co-mentor.

Writer Beware® is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, with additional support from the Mystery Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. They offer insights on the problems and pitfalls that face aspiring writers.

National Novel Writing Month was the crazy idea of a man named Chris Baty, who decided one year to set aside the month of November and write a 50,000-word novel, quality be damned. The idea caught on, and now thousands of writers all over the globe spend their Novembers in a coffee and keyboard frenzy. NaNoWriMo is a fantastic venture with a lively forum and local events for getting together with other (insane) writers in your community. Scrivener gained its first users on the NaNoWriMo boards, and we’ve been enthusiastic sponsors of the event for years.

If you thought trying to write a novel in a month was a madman’s dream, what about writing a novel in a day? Well, “Novel in a Day” is exactly what NiaD stands for. It’s not quite as impossible as it sounds, however—one day each year, a number of writers come together to write a chapter of a book each. NiaD is the brainchild of a Scrivener user (moniker: Pigfender) and is still predominantly run on the L&L forums. It’s usually run in October as a warm-up for National Novel Writing Month. As you’d imagine, the finished books are somewhat disjointed, but it’s a lot of fun.

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