Here is a list of resources for writers that I love and that I believe will make your lives easier. Some will save you money and others will help you to polish your books.
So let’s get’s started with my list of 10 great resources writers need to know about and in some cases start using today.
Make Banners and Images for Pinterest & Social Media
Have you ever experienced Facebook banner envy? You know, those beautiful Timeline banners that some people pay a great deal of money to graphic designers to create?
Guess what? Canva, a free application, is a tool you can use to create Facebook banners, Twitter headers, cards business cards, photo cards, other image-based messaging, and even book covers. It’s an easy, intuitive tool to use.
Here are a few samples of items I recently created with Canva. First, here’s my Facebook banner.
I created this image for a client.
I also made this book cover on Canva.
Canva offers free and fee-based templates and images for book covers. See this sample.
Find Canva’s book cover templates and image on this page.
Canva features some images that you can purchase for $1 or you can upload your own. Many of the images and features are free of charge.
I’ve used PicMonkey to resize and crop photos. But recently I wanted to create some images for Pinterest so I upgraded to the paid plan, about $7.99/month or $71.88/year for the basic plan. Here are a couple of examples of my creations.
And here’s a holiday collage for Pinterest I created just for fun.
Once you create and save the images, you can share them directly to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, or Tumblr as well as send them via email to a colleague. You can also use this tool to create Facebook covers or perhaps a collage of some of the books you’ve written. You can also upload your own images.
Pablo is a great little application from the people at Buffer, which is a scheduling tool. Anyway, Pablo is perhaps the easiest image app on the internet.
When you navigate to Pablo, you’ll see a column of free (yes free!) images. Just select the image you want to use, enter the text, select the size, and the contrast and your set.
Here’s a simple image I made using Pablo.
What’s great is that once you create an image, you can schedule it to Buffer in one easy step.
Pixabay is my go-to place for copyright free images. When you need pictures for your blog or to use as a background for a quote, this is the place to go.
Images are free and in nearly every conceivable topic area. Upload your own images as you sign up for hassle-free downloads. You’ll love this site.
Social Media Scheduling App
I’ve been using this social media scheduler for years and love it. It’s only practical for LinkedIn and Twitter so if you want to also schedule to Facebook (bad idea because Facebook downgrades scheduled posts in the newsfeed), or Pinterest or Instagram, then use Pinterest.
But with SocialOomph, you can schedule posts, set a recurring update so the post can reappear, have access to analytics, monitor interest channels, and see your feed without going to Twitter, this is the app for you.
As a backup, I recommend Buffer. It’s super easy to set up and use and the customer service is awesome. (The customer service at Social Oomph is great too.)
DIY Tools for Designing Your Next Book
After writing your book you need a great cover. You can hire a designer or you can try to create a cover yourself.
Although it sounds like an unlikely pairing, the templates look clean and professional, not only for simple non-fiction covers, but also for all types of fiction. If you’re familiar with using MS Word, customizing the templates to make them unique shouldn’t be difficult.
There’s even a tool on this website to help you make a 3D mockup of your book.
Endorsed by Matt Stone, Pat Flynn, and Joanna Penn, this tool is the real deal.
Are you tired of paying the high cost of a graphic designer for the layout of your book? Joel Friedlander’s Book Design Templates let Indie authors quickly and easily create the interior layout of their books. There are templates for fiction, memoir, narrative non-fiction, reference, and technical and non-fiction books. In addition, there are templates for children’s books and more.
Plus, Joel offers templates for book covers, and toolkits for blogging, social media, public relations, book launches, and self-publishing on Amazon. Here’s the link to all of his other toolkits, including mine. 😎
Joel is a book designer so self-published authors can trust that the templates carefully balance typographic beauty with ease of reading.
Although I haven’t yet used the template I purchased, a colleague has and she said the process was easy. If you need help, Joel’s team will upload your book into your purchased template. Finally, each template comes with different kinds of interior pages, section breaks, running heads, and page numbers.
These templates will save writers money and help them to produce books that appear professionally designed.
By the way, self-published authors should all become acquainted with Joel’s blog, The Book Designer. You will learn everything you need to know about self-publishing, social media, book covers, and book marketing by reading his posts.
Every Author Needs an Editor
Jordan says that she has a simple philosophy in her editing, coaching and teaching: “Practice. Polish. Persist.”
She advises, “Make your writing life into an ongoing, deep writing practice that can survive the test of time, discouragement and change. Never stop trying to become better and polish your work, learn new things, take classes and feed both your muse and your craft. But what will set you apart is your persistence. Don’t give up. If you need help with any of these things, I’m here to help you.”
Jordan brings an editor’s attention to both the micro and macro aspects of your fiction project, but she also brings a writer’s ear—having been writing and publishing for two decades (author of the novels Forged in Grace and Women in Red and the writing guides Writing the Intimate Character, A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, Writing Deep Scenes, and Make a Scene & Write Free).
She likes to work with fiction writers at all stages—from the seed of an idea, to the final product—and at all levels, whether the writer needs coaching or a final copyedit. She is especially fond of developmental edits and critiques.
Another wonderful and popular editor is Robbi S. Bryant. She says that an editor does a lot more than correcting grammar and sentence structure. “I am a content editor, which means I review everything from grammar to the breakdown of the story—including focus on plot, scene, character arcs, story arcs, pacing, subtext, dialogue, theme, and voice. In other words, I am a developmental editor, a copy editor, and a proofreader.”
As an award-winning author, she has honed her skills. Over the years, her focus has shifted from writing her own work to helping others write theirs.
She offers a free 10-page edit so potential clients can get a feel for her style.
Robbi says that it’s important for a writer to be comfortable with an editor. Trust is essential. She describes herself as a gentle, thoughtful, and light-handed editor. Respect is crucial as is communication. She says that she offers all this and more.
Her books include a novella, four novels, five short-story collections, and one book of poetry. She has been published in magazines including Readers Digest, Redbook, Penthouse, college textbooks, and several anthologies. As editor in chief of the Redwood Writers 2018 anthology, she supervised the creation and publication of Redemption: Stories From the Edge. Her work was also optioned twice for television’s Movie of the Week, and she appeared on TV’s Jane Whitney Show to discuss her article, “A Victim’s Revenge.”
Go Wide with Your Publishing
When you’re ready to go wide with publishing your books, Draft2Digital is the best service available to get your book on more venues than just Amazon.
What’s wonderful about Draft2Digital is that authors are in charge and because they’ve been where you are, they know how important it is to provide informative and quick customer service.
There is no fee for using this service. Draft2Digital will take a 10% commission when your books sell. But if you want to price your books at $0 permanently, that’s fine too.
The people behind Draft2Digital are truly cool and supportive. Try them out for yourself.
I hope you enjoyed reviewing my list of resources for writers. I’d love to hear about your favorite resources too!
Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.
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