Write more books. You’ve probably heard this advice, yet for those of us who are not full-time authors, it’s tough to find the time to write more.

Our focus should be on ideas and how to turn them into stories quickly and efficiently. But, we struggle with learning new tools and mastering social media.

So, how do we write more in the limited time we have and spend less time on busy work? Luckily for authors today, we have a myriad of free tools at our disposal to help us be productive.

What follows are my top five FREE tools for authors. These are the tools that I can’t live without—my “stranded on a desert island” list.

1. BookFunnel

How do you send advance copies of your book securely to readers? The easy and free answer is to use bookfunnel.com.

Use this tool to upload your book so your readers can download it to the devices of their choice.

It’s also a great tool to host your free reader magnets (the bonuses you give away on your website to grow your email list).

Provide the download URL to readers via an email autoresponder and BookFunnel takes care of distributing your reader magnet for you.book pre-orders

The tool removes the hassle of worrying about different book files and formats. Readers can download your book to their tablets, computers, smartphones, or other reading devices.

Track the number of downloads to see how well your beta readers are following your instructions.

Book funnel can also create book bundles. Create a bundle with a group of authors or join a group promotion within your genre. This could gain you more exposure to new readers.

2. WordCount Tracker

I often hear from writers who are struggling to find time to write. Many of us lead busy lives with families, day jobs, and everything else life throws our way. How do we make writing a consistent habit?

There is a way to increase word count using a simple, free tool which you can download by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2ifSgdR.

It’s not an app or a new software tool that you have to learn. I created this simple word count tracker using Google Sheets. You can view and download it for yourself. This tool lets you track your daily word count progress across the year.

Because I’m a visual person, I threw in graphs for you. Believe me—it’s satisfying to see your numbers go up month over month!

How to stay focused on your goals

Image by Christian Ferrari

“Great,” You’re saying. “One more thing to track.” I hear you. These days we’re told to track everything from our writing to the steps we walk to the calories we eat. It can be exhausting.

But, how badly do you want to increase your word count? What if you could finish that novel you’ve been working on? What if you could finish two books this year instead of one?

As low-tech as this tool is, it has changed my writing life. Rather than focus on deadlines, I track words written every day. I have a routine in place where I write first thing in the morning.

When you track your word count daily, the magic begins to happen. Your word count begins to add up, and it becomes fun to see your progress over time.

I’ve been inconsistent over the years with word count tracking. And that’s why I struggled to find my writing habit. I would track my progress for a month while I worked on a first draft. Then I would abandon tracking while I went on to edit or market the book.

That was a mistake for me. I broke the habit. Now, I write every day, even if it’s only 200 words in a journal. I don’t want to break the habit again. What is your writing habit?

3. Grammarly

Make your writing life easier by using an editing software tool such as Grammarly. Not only will the tool help you catch typos and grammar mistakes, but it also helps with sentence structure and shows where you have overused words.

While the tool is free, I recommend going premium to get the advanced features. Keep in mind the software shouldn’t replace a professional editor, but it greatly reduces the time you spend on your self-edits.

Grammarly also works well for checking your blogs and emails.

Bonus—the tool checks your spelling and grammar when composing social media posts. No more typos in your Facebook posts!

4. Canva

Canva is an amazing tool for creating all kinds of images. Canva is free and is my go-to tool when I need images for social media, workbooks, and more.

The tool is intuitive, and they provide easy-to-use size templates for creating images.

5 Essential Tools for Authors

Source: pixabay.com

Whether you need a Youtube channel banner or a post for Facebook, Canva helps you get it done.

Many of the images that Canva offers are free, but there are those that require a fee. Be sure to read their licensing policy when you purchase an image.

There’s also a professional premium version of the tool that lets you resize images quickly and offers other advanced features. Most of the free, basic features can address most author’s needs.

Check out their tutorials as well to learn some basic design principles.

5. BookLinker

Are you an Amazon affiliate? All authors should sign up; it’s free, and you earn income on your book sales and purchases of other products on Amazon).

Ever run into this problem? It’s time to market your book, so you share your affiliate link, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work for people in the UK, Canada, and Australia.

Instead, they see an error when they go to buy and assume that your book is not available in their country. They move on, and you lose out on a book sale.

You could list out each country’s link separately. The problem is that listing several links could look non-professional and messy.

Avoid this problem with a simple tool from Booklinker.net.  Registration is free, and you can set up universal links by creating one link each for your paperback or hardcover, ebook, and author page.

Once you start using your affiliate links, a dashboard lets you see how many visitors are clicking by country.

You can also earn Amazon affiliate income in the other country stores! In your Booklinker account settings, enter in the affiliate tag for each country where you’re registered, and the magic will happen on the back end.

Setting up your country affiliates and universal links are well-worth the time because you will earn income without having to make any effort going forward.

What do you think? Did I miss any tools that you can’t live without?

Did you enjoy this list? Want more tools? Sign up for my email newsletter where I share free productivity tips and tools for authors. Bonus–get a free eBook: The Productive Author Roadmap when you sign up.