When I began my journey to become a self-published author I looked at some of the available digital platforms out there that offered free tools and services.

As an independent author, my resources are devoted to fund my own projects. So, “free” means a lot. And it doesn’t have to mean settling for low quality, because digital platforms know, “free” gets customers through their virtual doors. Sure, they won’t waste any time reminding you of the perks that come with upgrades to paid services…but you can always choose not to take the bite.

Everyday, new tools to edit, create and publish come to the digital marketplace. Pickmonkey, Pixabay, and of course, CreateSpace are some of my favorites. They allow me the freedom to visualize, enhance and produce… rather than consume… I get to wear many hats, be actively involve in the creative process and ultimately share my work with the world.

Recommended for young creatives: Bookemon

Over all, it’s a good alternative for young writers or young illustrators. It could also support efforts by Language Arts teachers or parents who want to encourage their young creatives, to come up with projects, share their work and print copies of their own books to give as gifts.

Recommended for Indie writers: CreateSpace

This is a user-friendly platform with good customer service, two things that are always high on my list. CreateSpace offers a variety of distribution opportunities, not just through their online store, but on Amazon.com and Kindle. The physical books themselves are of good quality and, even though they do not offer the option to print hardcover copies, I’m fine with the paperback editions, for both my novels and children’s books.

Not all tools you use have to be free, but they should accommodate your self-publishing budget. Illustrations through Fiverr.com start at $5.00, and if you offer creative services there yourself, you can even use the funds you generate to pay for illustrations (like I do), editing or proofreading services. You can think of these virtual creatives as your “team”, and that’s also important.

Self-publishing doesn’t have to be a lonely endeavor. You can connect with other creatives and find collaborators online. Having a “team” will help you visualize your work as more than a hobby; rather, as a way of life. It will also boost your sense of personal responsibility and commitment to seeing the work to fruition. Best of all, it will spread the creative energy around!

If you need a spark to get your team started, give me a shout out!

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