Free Resources for Writers

FreeSelf-publishing involves so much more than simply writing a book. Whether you contract with various experts for help or go it alone, once you make the decision to self-publish you’re responsible for graphic design, accounting, marketing, formatting, and so much more. A person could go broke wearing all those hats.

A couple of months ago I wrote a post outlining several places to obtain free music and photographs under a Creative Commons license. Today, I want to introduce a few more sites that offer free resources for writers. As always, it’s good practice to give proper attribution even if the site doesn’t require it. See the aforementioned post on ways to do this.

First up, Media College.

Media College states, “Everything here is 100% free with no strings attached — we only ask that you respect our terms & conditions and maybe consider helping us out a bit.” They offer not only free audio and video clips, but also tutorials on everything from how microphones work to effective video shots and framing. My favorite section is Sound Effects, where I downloaded a wicked shotgun blast to use in one of my book trailers.

Speaking of book trailers, have you ever seen those trailers that have some sort of constant motion in the background? For instance, maybe rain falls throughout the video, or maybe lasers flash or vines grow. Motion Backgrounds for Free offers a wide variety of motion backgrounds for videos, many of them free. In their words, “Our clips come with a 100% royalty free license allowing you to use the backgrounds in any type of presentation or video project, for worldwide distribution, forever. There are never any licensing fees.” Make sure to read their Terms and Conditions for the specifics.

Another site offering free animations is LunaPic. You upload your own photo and then choose the type of animation you want. They offer a nice selection of animations, anything from snowfall to reflecting water, rapid growth to sparkles and glitter.

There are a couple of free photo editing sites online for those who don’t have access to Adobe Photoshop. One of my favorites is iPiccy which offers free templates as well as basic editing functions such as cropping, rotating, touchup tools, and color adjustments.

Need help creating a Facebook cover photo for your professional page? Timeline Cover Banner ( can help. Either upload your own photos or browse their royalty-free stock photos. Once you upload to their template you can crop, tilt, adjust, and add text and color to create the perfect banner.

Speaking of banners, if you do have book trailers YouTube also gives the option of uploading a banner to your channel. Banner Fans ( has the appropriately (and strangely) sized template for a YouTube banner. While they don’t offer the option to upload photos, they do provide a variety of textured backgrounds, fonts, and colors to assist in designing your banner.

And last but not least, 3DPackage ( is a box-creating site that also works for creating 3D book covers. Upload your front cover, back cover, and spine and click Create 3D-Box. One note: The default setting for the color of the top of the pages seems to be green. If you have Microsoft Paint or a similar program you can download and change the color, or (a much easier solution), before downloading simply tilt the cover to an angle that doesn’t show the top of the pages.

Hopefully someone will find some of these resources helpful, and because I’m always on the lookout for a good deal if you know of other free resources for writers I’d love to hear about them.

Make sure to check out my Free Resource Page for Authors which lists all of these sites and more, and is updated as we find neat, new tools.

Author: Melinda Clayton

Melinda Clayton is the author of the Cedar Hollow series, as well as a self-publishing guide. Clayton has published numerous articles and short stories in various print and online magazines. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education Administration and is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado. Lear more about Melinda at her Amazon author page

27 thoughts on “Free Resources for Writers”

  1. Ooh, I can already think of a number of uses for several of these sites. Including that YouTube banner thing — I keep thinking I ought to upload a banner but it’s such a weird size, and then I forget to make one. Thanks, Melinda!

    1. You’re welcome, Lynne! I’ve had a lot of fun with these places. I noticed the 3-D box creator site seems to be down right now (maybe we crashed it 😉 ). Hopefully it’ll be up soon.

    2. Lynne, I just realized you CAN upload your own photos for the YouTube banner. The option is close to the bottom of the screen and I’ve completely overlooked it all this time.

  2. This is so cool. I just went to LunarPic and added lightening effects to one of my covers. Great promo stuff. This is going to be fun. Thank you Melinda for sharing, very good of you.

    1. Glad you’re enjoying it! Warning: It can be a time drain – I catch myself staying on some of these sites playing around forever, then I’m surprised to see how much time I’ve lost. 🙂

      1. Yep, I’m addicted. I’ve been on all day and having success and fun. This just saved me tons of moola for a project. I bow down to you.

        1. I’m so glad it’s helpful! And I have to admit, I’ve been playing around all day, too, and learning more stuff even though I’ve used all these sites in the past. 🙂

    1. I use GIMP, too. But there’s a pretty steep learning curve, and sometimes you just want to knock something out fast. Sometimes I use (which Lin Robinson mentioned in an IU post some time back) to create text-based graphics because it’s quicker than setting it up in GIMP. 🙂

  3. Looks like 3DPackage is still down, but another 3D cover site is 3D Box Maker. I don’t like it quite as well because the end product is a little boxier than 3D Package, but it’s still a nice option. Upload your front image, what they call your left/right image (which would be the back of the book), what they call the top image (which is the spine), select the size as well as the angle you want and select the type of file (jpeg, png, etc.). Choose whether or not you want a reflection or a shadow, and click render.

    1. Sigh. I really need to stop multitasking (I’m horrible at it.) A correction: Upload your front image, then the left/right image, which is the spine. The top image would be the top of the box (or book). Most of us probably don’t have an image for the top. You have to upload something or you can’t continue, but you can upload just about anything so long as you choose an angle that doesn’t show the top of the book. I uploaded the spine again, choosing the first selection that has the book tilted so the top doesn’t show. Still a little boxier than I’d like, but another option if the 3D Package site stays down (and I really hope it doesn’t!).

  4. Smashing. Thank you.I am braving myself in readiness for making a book trailer thingie. I can now experiment for free and not feel bad about all the messes I shall make before getting any clue of what to do.

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