Advantages of freeware for writers

For over a decade I’ve been a dedicated and happy user of Adobe Photoshop for all my photo manipulation needs. From book cover creation to blog post headers the program has been invaluable. But now everything shifted to a subscription service. The result? I am moving over to Gimp, a freeware software. Zero cost and excellent tools for the same projects.


The problem arose that my budget for my writing endeavors is limited and limited funds need to be set aside wisely in order to produce quality products for my readers. I am not a fan of the whole  subscription-based idea. At $20 per month Photoshop now costs $240 per year. I’m not short-sighted… so I see the math of spending that money over the next five years. Yep, the same program that could have been purchased and installed on any desired machine for a few hundred dollars is now running over $1,000. To me that seems like Adobe greed and a foolish purchase on the part of a small business owner (such as myself).

You will notice that my recent blog posts have not featured header images (which I love to do). Windows 10 blocked my installation of Photoshop 7, which I’d used for many years, and even blocked the install of CS2.

The choice seemed clear now. I would need to downgrade to Windows 7 and buy one of the last versions of Photoshop that is available on disc. Discs can be used again and again… digital copies limit my options.

Another choice is one that I am currently exploring and achieving success with: Disposing with Photoshop entirely in favor of freeware version Gimp. My problem with Gimp has been the learning curve. At first I found it difficult to migrate to it from Photoshop. It does not feel as intuitive, more like it was designed for code experts. This could be due in large part to the fact that what I had is what I am familiar with, but Gimp does seem more confusing than any other software I’ve attempted to learn in a long time. And the learning curve requires precious time. I’ve been tempted to renew my subscription to Photoshop but then I think, “Get off your lazy butt and learn Gimp… and save yourself a hefty chunk of change in the process.”

Thanks to some youtube videos Gimp is growing on me. Initial challenges are being overcome and I am finding it simpler than I had thought to learn it.

Freeware is a powerful asset. One I am becoming more inclined to focus on. The products cost nothing but are often user-focused instead of created by companies looking first to their own profit. Freeware is created by those who do it for the love of it, not the profit in it. As a creative this is attractive to me.

We will see which wins out. My familiarity with Photoshop, or my frugal nature and the desire to conquer a new challenge. So far I see Gimp winning out in a big way.

Q: Do you have frustrations or celebrations of subscription-based software?



Subscribe to get my blog posts directly in your inbox!

The most obvious thing about me is how much I love reading and writing. Great stories are truly my passion and have been for as long as I can remember. Growing up in a conservative Christian home I learned to value God, intelligence, and life. I am always striving to learn. I am a husband and a father to five children. I love my family and my life. God is good and I attribute my success to His provision.

Great fantasy stories are a lot of fun. I write the stories that I want to read and am fortunate enough to have several published novels under my belt as well as more in the pipeline.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 thoughts on “Advantages of freeware for writers

  1. Hi Mr. Appleton!!

    Do you know when the next Sword of the Dragon book will be released? I have read all four of the previous books (as well as Neverqueen) several times, and I am anxiously awaiting the fifth installment. I have several theories that need confirming or debunking. :)


    • Hello Karissa,

      Umm… working on it. The story is good but this year has been a real challenge with all the settling into our new life in South Carolina. 800-mile-move was a hard shift. Originally I thought Neverqueen2 would release this Christmas but I’m behind schedule.

      I promise you I will let you know as soon as it’s coming out :)

  2. This is so good to read! ^_^ Thanks for sharing!
    I have recently started dabbling in digital art, and I did not want to deal with Photoshop’s month to month payment, when I was referred to Gimp. :)
    I haven’t used it too much, but with it being the first digital art program I’ve owned, I’m happy with the results. 😀

  3. I’m a video editor – I put together lots of stuff for family, friends, and me personally, and have been for the last 4 years. I use software that was a one-time purchase, and it’s worked out great. I know some more powerful editing programs are subscription based, and since what I do now is more of a hobby/side thing than full-on job, I’m quite content to use what I have….though the idea of paying for a subscription-based software still isn’t that appealing, no matter my situation.

    • That was me until Windows 10 installation invalidated my one-time purchase software. Compatibility issues killed it for me.

  4. Hello, I just want to say thank you. In times when I doubt my faith or am depressed these books lift my spirits. You are an amazing writer and I am very excited for when I get to read book 5.

    • Hi Amanda,
      Thank you for sharing that. It means the world to me as it encourages me to keep writing and to remember the purpose those writings serve.
      God bless!

  5. “Do you have frustrations or celebrations of subscription-based software?”

    No. I don’t use it in the first place. Why would I want to use software where you have to pay for it over and over? (And over… and over… and over…)

    Plus, what happens when the software company that hosts the “subscriptionware” you’re using suddenly folds and vanishes? The most you can hope for is maybe getting your latest subscription fee back, and sometimes, not even that.

    But what about the project you’re working on? The project that depends on having access to that subscription software? How do you continue to work on it, if you suddenly cannot access the right software to continue to work on it?

    For those reasons, I only use downloadable software or software CDs.

    Because not only don’t they force me to shell out money every month, quartal or year, but because you will have those software images/software CDs forever, no matter WHAT happens to the company originally publishing it.

    Worrying about the fact that Microsoft keeps putting out additional WINDOWS versions that make it hard to impossible to use 10-15 years old software?

    If so, what exactly keeps you from re-installing an older OS where the software still runs? Nobody forces us with a gun to buy new operating systems. We don’t HAVE to use modern operation systems– unless they’re WINDOWS 10 users, and in that case, it’s their own fault: After all, there were LOTS of warnings in the internet about WIN 10 making forced upgrades, WIN 10 refusing to letting your PC get downgraded back to earlier WIN versions, etc, etc.

    So, rather than jumping into that moebius stripe-shaped death-spiral of buying/upgrading/upgrading/upgrading… , or worse, getting software where I need to repeat my payment for it until the end of my life (“subscription”), I very much prefer to buy software ONCE (preferably after all bugs are removed, which is easily researchable on the web) in image or CD form, and then they belong to me, and I can install it a million times if neccessary, without having to pay for it again at the end of this month or the start of the next month.


  6. If it wasn’t for freeware, I never would have been able to publish two books. I’m using Apache OpenOffice for writing, and Gimp for making my book covers. I use it for all my artwork, and I even make book covers with it to sell. I actually learned a lot of how to use Gimp just by watching Photoshop tutorials. And even better, you can use Photoshop brushes with Gimp, as well as get free filters for fancy special effects.