It used to be a writer just needed a Smith Corona, a pipe and a drinking problem. But the tools of the indie author have really expanded in the last few years and, as the writer wears more hats than ever, these tools become indispensable. Here are a few that I use.
(Note: I’m pretty full of myself and I’m convinced that my two cents are worth at least three, so I’ll be using some affiliate links here. They don’t cost you a thing.)
I wrote my first couple books on Word or Pages. But the more I started outlining the more I’ve come to enjoy working in Scrivener. The ability to break chapters into folders and move them around is amazingly useful. It also makes it much easier to track my drafts and notes.
I use professional proofreaders for my books and stories and will always do so because my spelling is the worst. But I wanted to get something a little quicker for blog posts, Facebook posts and anything else I do online. I’ve just started using ProWriting Aid but I’m already finding it very helpful. One thing I like is that it’s always on so I don’t have to remember to run things through the program. It works on everything from blog content to replies on Facebook.
Do I really need a fancy notebook? No. Could I get basically the same thing for half the price? Yes. The Moleskine Journal is the one indulgence I allow myself when it comes to writing. I like the lay-flat stitching and I love that the paper takes a fountain pen without bleeding through or running on the page. (Especially since I’m a lefty.) So, no. I don’t need it. But a good notebook may just be one of life’s great joys.
I hate to admit it but the truth is the best way to sell words is with pictures. And I’m not just talking great covers. You need graphics for ads, for blog posts and social media posts. The Adobe Creative Suite may seem like overkill at first but over the years I’ve found a use for many of the applications. Photoshop is a given for just about any graphic. I use Illustrator to ink coloring books and other graphics. AfterEffects gives me the ability to animate still images and make a dynamic ad with simple stock photography. Premier for editing videos and vlogs. Audition for audio recording. And I haven’t even dug into this character animator that lets you create real time animations yet.
Created in After Effects in about an hour
I never imagined I’d use as much stock photography as I have. I’ve found Envato Elements to be a great resource. The best thing about it is that it’s subscription based so the downloads are unlimited. And it’s not just photos. They have stock videos, music, sound effects, After Effects templates, Photoshop actions and other resources. It’s relatively new but already packed full of stuff. And, they are constantly adding more items. With this and Adobe you can put together some marketing material that makes all the other authors look really lazy.
I’m not going to lie, I don’t know much about formatting books. My wife handles that and ever since we got Vellum she has been ecstatic about it.
Sales, ad spend, read through, ROI and all the other things that made me want to avoid numbers by writing are taken care of in ReaderLinks. It really does everything including tracking ARC readers.
I’ve got to have music on. For one thing, it covers a lot of the neighborhood noise that sets the dog into bark mode. I listen all day so I find it worth paying for the premium/commercial free version.