Open Office

Open Office is a free, downloadable word processing program. While many authors prefer Microsoft Office, this is a nice, free alternative for those who would like a word processing program but do not have the money to invest in a paid program.

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OWL

The Purdue Online Writing Lab is an awesome resource for writers.  There are over 200 resources on the site, including information on writing, research, grammar, style guides, and even professional writing. If you’re using MLA format, then this is most definitely the site you need.

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Writer Resources

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has compiled this great list of resources for writers. This site has a rather extensive grammar section that can be very helpful. There is a section of the website that summarizes APA and MLA citation. You’ll also find some great writing tips on student writing, as well as cover letters and resumes.

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APA Style

While the APA Style guide, a necessary use in the social and behavioral sciences, is not available for free, this site is a very useful one for those new to the style. If you’ve never used APA Style before, be sure to check out the great “The Basics of APA Style” tutorial that the site offers. There are also some really awesome “quick answers” to the questions everyone new to the style may have. Even more exciting, there are directions for how to format the different aspects of APA Style in word processing programs. That means that if you have no idea how to format your running head, margins, table of contents, or quotations, you’ll have a step-by-step walk-through to get you where you need to go.

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U.S. Copyright Office

If you have a question about copyrights, this is the place to go. Whether you want to know how or why to register your work or simply search if something is registered, you’ll find it here.

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ISBN by Bowker

If you plan not to use a free ISBN through Smashwords or Createspace, then you will want to check out this site. Many self-publishers who plan to write numerous books and not to use free ISBNs find that purchasing ISBNs in bulk is helpful. Be sure to check out the FAQs to answer your questions as to why you need an ISBN and what exactly they are.

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Library of Congress Control Numbers

If you’re interested in getting your book included in the Library of Congress Catalog, you will want to check out the Preassigned Control Number page to find out how to get started before you publish. The Preassigned Control Number Program is a great way to get started before you self-publish.

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EPUB Converter

If you are looking to give away an EPUB e-book independently, this site is great! It will provide you with an EPUB version of your book for free. Since EPUB is the format of e-book used on every reader except Kindle, this is a valuable resource for those looking to give away an e-book from their own site.

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MOBI Converter

If you’re looking to convert your book into MOBI format to give away, then this free site is a great resource. MOBI files are used for Kindle, so this is a great option, especially when paired with the EPUB converter above.

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Bible Gateway

Bible Gateway is a great resource for Christian writers. It offers multiple translations of the Bible and easy search for the Bible verses that you need.

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Authorgraph

This is a handy site for self-published writers as it allows authors to provide a personal digital inscription for an e-book sent directly to the reader’s digital reading device.

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Font Squirrel

Font Squirrel is a wonderful resource for downloading free fonts. Although the site claims that the fonts on it are 100% free for commercial use, this may be a little misleading for those who aren’t familiar with downloading new fonts. Be sure to check the highlighted icons under the font name, as some fonts are only free for certain commercial usage (which may or may not include e-books or print books). Also be careful to read the font license as some fonts are found fonts that may or may no longer be free. Overall, however, this is a very useful site for those looking for a new look for their books or online material.

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GIMP

GIMP is a free image manipulation program that can do a good many of the things that high-end image manipulations programs can do. It takes a little time to learn, but it can be very useful for those looking to do simple manipulations such as enlarging or shrinking images and changing the resolution of an image. It is also very helpful for adding text to images, and the fonts that can be downloaded through Font Squirrel (above) can be used with the program easily. This is a nice tool to have if you have things you need to get done but do not use image manipulation enough to pay the running fee or high cost of other image manipulation programs.

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OverDrive

OverDrive is a great site for self-published authors. This site allows a free download of the OverDrive Application which can be used to listen to audiobooks and read e-books. It reads EPUB files, such as those found on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.  If you are trying to reach an audience that does not use e-readers, this is a free site you can send people to so that they can read e-books on their computer, tablet, or phone.

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Free Kindle Reader App

This link will take you to the current page to download the Kindle APP for your computer, tablet, or phone. This downloadable program will allow readers to read Kindle e-books (MOBI files) such as those available on Amazon and Smashwords. This is a great link for authors who wish to take advantage of Amazon’s self-publishing program but have readers without that specific type of e-reader.

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LibriVox

If you love audiobooks, LibriVox is a great site. This site offers free public domain audiobooks. Ever want to be the one whose voice people are listening to on an audiobook? You can also volunteer to read public domain books for the site to distribute as well.

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“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” (Proverbs 16:3 KJV)