10 Great Resources Writers Need to Know

10 Great Resources Writers Need to Know

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.

10 Great Resources Writers Need to Know

Here’s a promotional image I made for an upcoming promotional sale of my book.

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.

Canva book templates


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.

Write a Book That Inspires You

And here’s a holiday collage for Pinterest I created just for fun.

Holiday Collage

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

DIY Book Covers

After writing your book you need a great cover. You can hire a designer or you can try to create a cover yourself.

Self-published authors on a tight budget might want to try a DIY tool. Cover designer Derek Murphy of CreativIndie Covers has put together a package of book cover design templates.

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.

Book Design Templates and More

Joel FriedlanderAre 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 E. Rosenfeld


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 PersistenceWriting 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.

Robbi S. Bryant

Robbi S. BryantAnother 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 DigestRedbook, 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!


Social Media Just for Writers is now just $1.99!

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances 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.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

Indie Author Weekly Update – March 9, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to today’s edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. Do you have trouble getting book reviews? Hey, everyone does. That’s why I included Written Word Media’s post on how to get more reviews.

As always, I hope you have a great weekend!

Five Marketing Tools for Authors Who Hate Marketing from Writer Unboxed: ” If you’re a writer and you’re on social media, have a website, blog, or even just talk about your work with friends, you’re already marketing. So here are five inexpensive and relatively easy-to-use tools to help optimize the marketing you’re already doing.”

3 Inspirational Design Ideas from Bestselling Book Covers from TheBookDesigner.com and by Dave Chesson: “Have you ever come across a book cover design so striking that you not only stop and admire it, but also analyze and learn from it? The best book covers are more than just attractive adornments to the books we love. They also offer ideas and inspiration we can use to guide our own work. There’s no limit to the vast array of inspirational covers out there. Books of all genres and types have covers that not only please the eye but also inspire the mind.”

4 Ways to Create Your Author Persona by Donna Galanti: “Everyone’s persona (or brand) is unique (just like you) and it’s your own personal story that you choose to convey that will draw your readers to you. As Dr. Seuss said, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” After all, it’s so much easier to be you than someone else!”

How to Use Scheduling To Automate Your Social Media by Joanna Penn: “Some people think I’m on social media all the time because my presence is there 24/7, but my secret weapon is automation and scheduling, as well as tools that enable me to use social media without spending all my time on it.”

How to Get Book Reviews on Amazon from Written Word Media: “One of the first challenges you’ll face when publishing your book is getting book reviews. Book reviews are important because 1) Books with reviews sell more copies, 2) Many book promotion sites require a minimum number of reviews to use their service and 3) Verified reviews are an additional metric Amazon can use to promote your book.”

Quote of the Week

All I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.E. B. WHITE

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of 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, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web






Beta Readers, Book Covers and Great Websites for Indie Authors

8-15-14 400The post on the best 50 sites for self-published authors was published in June but I just discovered it last week so I’m including it in the week’s Roundup. You’ll also find posts from Joel Friedlander, The Next Web and one by Anne R. Allen on how to find beta readers, always a timely topic. I hope you enjoy this week’s picks.

The Indie 50 – The 50 Best Sites for Indie and Self-Published Authors from August Wainwright: This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now and kept putting it off. Having now finished the list, I completely understand why I’ve been procrastinating for so long.

What is a Beta Reader? Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Getting and Giving Feedback on your WIP from Anne R. Allen’s blog: The term first came from fan fiction, and it means a person who reads your work-in-progress (or “WIP”) when you, the writer or “alpha,” are ready for feedback—before it goes into final draft to be sent to your fanfic page, editor, or agent.

5 Keys to Book Cover Success from The Book Designer: So, you survived the gauntlet of rewrites, the flood of red ink your editor poured on your pages, and countless sleepless nights you spent worrying about how to tie the story together. Finally, you put the last period at the end of your tale’s final sentence with a heavy sigh and a hopeful cheer. Congrats! You have a manuscript.

What really happens when someone clicks your Facebook Like button from The Next Web: We talk a lot about reversing the decline in organic Facebook reach and succeeding with Facebook marketing. Maybe we’ve been overlooking a quick win right under our noses. The Facebook share button could be a huge opportunity to delight a reader with a seamless sharing experience, one in which you can control the look, feel, and message of what gets shared.


Social Media Time Suck Final 200About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the San Francisco Writers Conference. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web



Photo credit: Micky** via photopin cc

Book Covers, Publicists, Book Sales and Leaving Amazon


I have a wide variety of post in this week’s roundup. Let’s start with book covers. To me, designing book covers is not only an art it’s a science. Luckily, Joel Friedlander makes it easier for all of us by reviewing dozens of them every month and imparting his wisdom. Be sure to review his thoughts on this month’s submissions. Jane Friedman, meanwhile, wrote a wonderful post on what to expect from a publicist. I know someone who is paying a publicist $10,000 for two months worth of work. Is he happy with the results? It’s too early to tell. Every writer thinking about hiring a publicist should read Jane’s post. There are three other great posts below and I hope you’ll check out all of them.

41 redundancies you should ditch from Ragan.com: I ‘ve always believed that editing someone else’s work is easier than writing your own. Lately, though, I’ve been asked to “work my magic” on so many bad writing projects—blog posts, emails, articles—that I am not so sure anymore. Sometimes I just stare at the screen wondering, “What can I possibly do with this?”

The Real Key to Strong Book Sales from The Passive Voice Blog: It has been a mantra in self-publishing circles that an author’s most reliable pathway to long-term financial success is to rapidly write and publish more and more books. This strategy is supposed to increase your exposure and name recognition, and therefore the “discoverability” of your books to buyers who browse retail websites like Amazon.

Simple Tips on Finding and Working with a Book Publicist from TweetSpeak by Jane Friedman: I’ve heard a lot of nightmare stories from authors who hired freelance publicists and didn’t get what they wanted out of the relationship or investment. Sometimes I think that happens because of misaligned expectations, or even a misunderstanding of what publicists can achieve or accomplish.Put another way: When it comes to book marketing and sales, it’s not always easy to say “Effort A led to Outcome B,” especially if book sales gain momentum from word of mouth (that’s still often the case), and authors don’t have access to precise sales analytics. You can’t always figure out how or why someone decided to visit Amazon or their local bookstore to buy your book.

e-Book Cover Design Awards, October 2013 from The Book Designer: Each month, Joel Friedlander reviews book covers while imparting important insights to his decisions. This month he received 99 covers in the fiction category and 17 in the nonfiction category. Take a look at what he has to say about them.

Self-Publishing And Direct Sales: Pros, Cons And Problems from Forbes: A few months ago, I pulled my ebook from Amazon and decided that I would only sell direct for a while. I made that decision mainly because I was fed up with the hideously basic tools that Amazon provide and wanted to experiment more than Amazon would let me. Since then, I’ve released an anthology of non-fiction writing, A Passion for Science, which I’m also only selling direct as an ebook.


socialmediaforwritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media strategist, trainer, and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.



Writing, Book Marketing and Covers that Sell

self-publishing, Social Media Just for WritersIn this Roundup, there are some great tips on writing, book marketing and covers that will make your books stand out on the Web and at your local bookstore. 

Key Components to Include When Writing Your Nonfiction Book – by Stephanie Chandler: “If you’re writing a book, you may be wondering what you should include aside from your standard manuscript. Following are components to consider, though not all are mandatory.”

25 Editing Tips for Tightening Your Copy – by The Write Life: “Writers rarely spit out their best copy on the first draft. (If you meet a writer who claims to have the secret for doing so, please let the rest of us know.) First drafts — and second drafts and sometimes thirds — exist to hash your ideas out on paper. After you’ve revised your book, story, blog post or article until you can revise no more, you just hand it off to your editor to clean up, right? Well, that’d be ideal. But most of us don’t have the luxury of hiring an expensive editor to review our personal blog post. And since procrastination is the writer’s best friend, you probably don’t have time to even ask a fellow writer pal take a quick peek for errors.”

The Secrets to Successful Guest Blogging – by Peg Fitzpatrick: “Guest blogging can be a valuable asset in your tool kit, whether you’re a blogger, writer, podcaster, or small business owner. Being published on the right blogs can help you gain new followers, hone in on your niche or build your thought leadership. I’ve written posts for Bit Rebels, Marketing Profs, and The Huffington Post to name a few. There are a few tips to doing it right as as an editor of 12 Most for the past few years and a fairly frequent guest writer, I’m happy to share some of the secrets that have worked for me.”

Book Cover Design Awards for July – by Joel Friedlander: This post is Joel’s review of book covers he receive during the month of July. I always learn a lot from him about covers that work and those that fail.

The Collapse of a Writing Routine—and How It Was Restored – Written by Frances Kazan for Jane Friedman: For years I was a disciplined writer. After walking the dog, I was seated at my desk by 9 a.m. After 500 words I’d go downstairs for lunch, followed closely by the dog. Sometimes my husband joined us, and sometimes he didn’t. Like me, he was a writer; his office was on the floor above mine. Around 2 p.m. I would return to edit, then I took off for either a yoga class or a walk in the park. Following this routine, I finished a master’s thesis (later published), a historical novel, Halide’s Gift, numerous articles for Cornucopia magazine, several lectures, and the first draft of another novel, The Dervish.


socialmediaforwritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media strategist, trainer,  and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Editor for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapterthe San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.