Self-Publishing Tools. Part 1 Pre-Publishing

My two basic rules for my approach on my self-publishing journey are 1.) Learn to do it myself; 2.) Use appropriate tools for those things that are too time-consuming for me to learn or perform myself.

Every journey starts somewhere, and my publishing journey started with the willing heart of a complete novice. I’m sharing the tools I use and how I use them. Note that while I am an Amazon Affiliate I am NOT an affiliate of any of the tools mentioned below. A fan, yes! An Affiliate, no. ~ Judith


Grammarly Premium

ProWritingAid Premium

I started with Microsoft Word to correct any of my very few spelling errors that were basically typos. Novice. I added Grammarly Free and realized my spelling errors were more prevalent than I thought. I purchased a year’s subscription of Grammarly Premium then a year later purchased ProWritingAid Premium because it wasn’t a subscription. That was a personal decision; however, a premium editing tool is a must-have.

I learned my major grammar problem is passive verbs. I speak in passive verbs and write in passive verbs. Finding and correcting passive verbs is not how I want my editor to spend her time. I’m the Super Hero Author who saves my editor for the more daunting tasks of cleaning up commas and finding plot holes.

Why didn’t the Premium editing tool find the commas? Because when I correct one thing I have the audacious skill of breaking one or two others, and commas are my second grammar problem. Every Super Hero has a flaw.


Publisher Rocket

My number one, go-to pre-publishing tool is Publisher Rocket. I first purchased Publisher Rocket for Amazon KDP keywords for my first published book in 2018. Being literal, I found seven keywords to complete the seven spots that KDP allowed. I was grateful for the help because I could think of only two or three. Novice.


I later learned through ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors, of which I’m a member, that a keyword did not need to be a single word, after all; each keyword “spot” on KDP allowed up to 50 characters and could be a list of words. My seven keywords suddenly expanded to 44-48 words, depending on the length of the word, and I had published my second novel! Publisher Rocket to the rescue!


Amazon KDP prompts for two categories for a book. My novice self dutifully picked two of the categories from the KDP selections provided. Once again, I learned through ALLi that I could list up to ten categories, and the ten categories could drill down much deeper than the suggested KDP selections. So for example, I went from Fiction>Mystery>Cozy to Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Cozy > Culinary. Publisher Rocket helped me with ten categories for each format – ebook and paperback – and for each of my books which had grown to three.


When I first started using Publisher Rocket, keywords and categories were my focus. I peeked at the competition once without any concept of what to look for or why I would care. Novice. When I discovered my competition was not the six million books on Amazon as I had originally thought, I delved into competition with the help of Publisher Rocket.  I learned my competition was books similar to mine that were actually selling, and that number was not six million. Publisher Rocket helped me to scope out my competition. I scoured book covers for ideas. I examined fonts and colors to determine the pattern for my genre. I read book descriptions for ideas. I checked the pricing of ebooks and paperbacks.

What About You?

What pre-publishing tools do you use?


Judith A. Barrett Books on Amazon


Judith A. Barrett website

Published by JAB

Author I live on a farm with Farmer Man, two great dogs: TJ and Toby, and a dozen sassy chickens. I write thriller, mystery, and post-apocalyptic science fiction novels. All my books are series because even though each book solves a crime and stops a murdering criminal, there's always something more to life, isn't there? My exciting books with unusual main characters that are now readers' favorite people are for sale by your favorite bookseller for your reading pleasure! Thou shalt not plagiarize. (See Commandment #8) But it's okay to share!

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