As an self-published author, I use a lot of tools and resources. I’d love to say that writing a book is as simple as banging out the words, doing a quick edit and then sending it off to a publisher. As an independent publisher, it’s a lot more complicated than that.
Having great tools at my disposal, I have been able to streamline my writing and publishing processes. (I was a process improvement analyst in a previous work life, so the skill is ingrained.)
I’ve tried a lot of tools, and have ruled out the time wasters. The tools I mention here keep me on track, writing books and selling them. And, of course, this is a living, breathing list, so it may change as I go.
Today I’m sharing the tools and resources that I find MOST helpful.
The app to get the scenes written and to ‘bang out’ the initial storyline. I put all kinds of stuff into Scrivener: character outlines and questions, ideas for lines to include, setting, scenery, images, etc.
This is an amazing tool, but as a writer, you have to be careful not to lose your voice. ProWritingAid will keep you honest with grammar and spelling and offer you help with sections that could be better written. But if you have a certain style, it can see your style as ‘incorrect’. That’s where knowing who you are as a writer and being clear on your style helps steer you away from ‘accepting all’ the changes ProWritingAid offers. Still, I LOVE this app and use it for many things. My writing has improved as a result.
Once I have my final draft file, I copy it into Word and use this file to send to my beta readers. Most have this app and it’s the most universal app to track and review changes.
Another fantastic tool for when the brain freezes.
There are a lot of authors out there who write about the writing process, or their writing process (me included), but I often revert to Jane’s incredible expertise. She offers brilliant suggestions that we all need to hear sometimes.
A great website for writing tips.
I mentioned this tool in my post Creating Complex and Believable Characters. It’s a quirky tool I use to create the visuals for characters. It’s fun and sometimes a distraction, but it helps to get the idea out of your head and on to a page.
Character Count Online
A great tool when advertising portals (like Amazon) have character limits and you need to maximise every letter.
For working out the best categories for your book, if you publish via KDP on Amazon.
Also handy if you publish on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Offers some great tips.
A great resource for finding editors/book designers/PR folks. The newsletter is very helpful as well.
MARKETING – Creating
I’ve tried several mailing list management sites and after ten years, find Mailerlite the best one. All author’s need a mailing list because you never know what your social media moguls will do to your ‘followers/likes’. Consider this: I lost everything over a three month period on my Facebook Author page because of one simple mistake which I made. GONE. Seriously. Start a mailing list.
The man is a marketing god. His books, his newsletters are FULL of helpful information. (His beard is on another level.)
Jenn Hanson-dePaula offers sage advice that is exactly what every new author needs to hear. She offers resources and templates and so much more. I’m now a part of her “Author Circle”, something I’ve found to be extremely valuable.
StoryOrigin and BookFunnel
Two great tools to expand your mailing list/subscribers, send reader magnets, review copies for ARCs/Beta Readers, create Universal links for your books. These are great resources for self-published authors to increase your readership.
This is the website I use to create my book marketing images. I’ve tried some others, like BookBrush, and found this one the easiest and most robust.
Brian hosts a ‘5-Day Amazon Ad Profit Challenge’ which took me from freaked-out to knowledgeable with advertising on Amazon. A free course that teaches you HOW to create Amazon ads that will save you a TON of money.
When you publish directly on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), this is THE tool that will help increase sales. You can create hooks (see Bryan Cohen), link them to your book and select the specific places on Amazon to market your book. I’ve seen an increase in sales when I do this, and now I have ongoing ads on Amazon.
BookBub is one of those deals that either works – or it doesn’t – and when it doesn’t, it’s a very expensive lesson. I’ve determined (through research) that it is better to have a backlist before plunging into the BookBub world. After doing extensive research, I’ve decided not to do a Featured Deal on BookBub but will invest in some strategic ad planning. BookBub is not cheap.
Facebook is another resource that can be money waster. But with some smart planning and wonderful resources (Help! My Facebook Ads Suck! eBook is great), they can pay off.
I’m active on Goodreads for a couple of reasons.
First, it helps me keep track of my ‘to be read’ pile. Before Goodreads existed, that list was kept on my Amazon Wish List.
Second, as an author, I love to post updates for my followers.
And finally, it’s great to watch people add my books to their own lists. And then leave reviews. 😉
FACEBOOK GROUPS TO JOIN OR PAGES TO FOLLOW:
Writers Go Forth. Launch. Promote. Party.
For Australian authors and their readers. Authors can promote their books while readers can post reviews.
Alessandra Torres Inkers
A helpful group for asking questions and the admins run great webinars as well.
Wide for the Win
Going “Wide” means selling online on other platforms, not just Amazon. If that’s you, this is the group you want to be in.
As I said, this man is a marketing god. He shares a lot of free information, but his books are also a wealth of knowledge.
If you sign up for StoryOrigin, you definitely want to be in this group. The app developer is very active and helpful.
Indie Writers Unite
If you go Indie, this is an amazing group for sharing information. I’ve learned a great deal here.
Another ‘support’ group for authors. Lots of tips and tricks shared here.
Another support group, with all stages of the fiction writing process.
ALLi Author Member Forum
I strongly support joining the The Alliance of Independent Authors. This is such a valuable group. Not only does it provide solid advice, based on years of experience, but it also is a supportive community. As a member, you also benefit from discounts like IngramSparks, and promotion sites. The Facebook group is a quick place to ask the community questions and ask for support/advice. I’ve used it a few times and have never been steered wrong.
I highly recommend connecting with your local chapter of NaNoWriMo or join your local Writers Centre group. Often these groups have Facebook groups that meet throughout the year. I LOVE my Tassie NaNo group.
What is Type-in? This is an hour dedicated to help you get the words down. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing. Novel, poem, blog post, newsletter… These are online write-ins that I host every Tuesday morning (Australia Eastern time).
We chat about what we’re working on for a couple of minutes, then put our fingers to the keyboards and write for about fifty minutes. When we are done, we wrap up with how we did with our writing. We use Skype for our calls as it’s very interactive and this gig is lonely enough! You don’t need to have Skype. Just click the link and add your name! Simple. I hope you’ll join our lovely writing group.
Is there a resource you’ve used that you find imperative to your process
PLEASE NOTE: Affiliate links were used in this post. I do not promote anything I have not used or experienced myself or had recommended highly to me. All opinions are my own. Please follow our advice at your own risk. By clicking these links allows this website to continue running. For that, I thank you.