RESOURCES FOR WRITERS
Every author needs a tool kit of essential resources which helps them work smarter and more efficiently.
Through a process of trial and painful error I have assembled a collection of essential resources which I could not be without. Some I use daily, others are there in case I need them. [Just like that special battery charger which you only use now and then but it is vital to have the perfect tool.]
I am happy to share this resource list with you and I hope that you find it useful.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links.
I see this as my business face to the world, and it is very important to me that my website reflects my professionalism and integrity.
Bluehost: has a brilliant 1-click automatic installation of my self-hosted WordPress.org website and has very comprehensive training and information videos and advice for first timers like me. The dashboard is easy to use and the hosting fees are very reasonable. [Affiliate]
Also, you can use the same hosting account for multiple domains if you plan on creating more websites.
WordPress: The #1 Blog Publishing Platform.
I started blogging many years ago with a free WordPress.com blogging site which was brilliant, but earlier this year I moved my website to a self-hosted WordPress.org site and a free template to customise the site. The software is super easy to use, you can add any PlugIns you want and there is an archive of free advice and support.
WordPress Theme: I am using the free Radiate theme by ThemeGrill and love it, but WordPress has a huge choice of templates to meet all tastes, both free and premium.
GoogleAnalytics: If you want to track your unique visitors, page views, bounce rate, and a host of other metrics, you need to sign up for a free account and then follow the directions for installing it on your blog.
For a free step-by-step tutorial, try The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Newsletter from Pat Flynn.
Fiverr: Outsource a task to a freelancer for just five US dollars. I used them to design my logo and was happy with the result.
IMAGES & PHOTOS
iStockPhoto: This is where I purchase most of the royalty-free images that I use on my blog and website and self-published eBooks.
ShutterStock is one of the largest online stock photo databases and also has a terrific range. Can be cheaper than iStockPhoto.
FREE IMAGES & PHOTOS
CANVA is a simple, drag-and-drop, design software that’s completely online and free to use. If you want to create a professional book cover design or a Facebook banner, and lots more, CANVA is the place to go. Plus, it has stunning free images which you can use in your design – go to the Canva Design School for more information.
Flickr Creative Commons: This is where you can get free images for your website, but you have to make sure that you have checked what rights the photographer has set on that image and give credit where needed. It does take time to search through the archives but you can find real gems.
Outlook: for Windows is my default e-mail system.
I need both Internet Explorer and Google Chrome as Internet Search Engines for my desktop Windows application, and Safari for my MacBook, which I use but find inflexible. Chrome is my recommended browser.
Google Drive: I create my work inside Google Drive and know that I can access it from both my Windows pc and my MacBook and it is backed up in the cloud.
TweetDeck: This is my Twitter dashboard and I use this tool to send messages and replies and check any new followers.
ClicktoTweet: makes it easy to prepare tweets for your followers to share during launch campaigns and promotional events.
I am totally biased here and prefer to use Microsoft Office Applications on my desktop whenever possible.
WORD: is my default writing software and nothing I have tried comes close to the flexibility of Word.
EXCEL: I have tried iWorkNumbers and the Google Docs spreadsheet, but always come back to Excel for all of my spreadsheets.
POWERPOINT: has developed recently to match the very exciting elements of Mac Keynote and I now prefer Powerpoint and use it to generate all of the slides for my Online Courses.
Plus I have found it an excellent tool for manipulating simple images instead of expensive and complex photo imaging software. All of my website banners and logos and slide covers were made using Powerpoint 2010.
SlideShare: I use SlideShare to embed extracts from my books onto my website and to upload my PowerPoint slides and then share them with my audience. You can make them private or public.
Kindle: I read eighty percent of my books on the Kindle app for MacBook.
I own a KOBO eReader and use it when I am travelling without my MacBook.
Adobe Digital Editions:to read the other twenty percent ePubs and digital downloads.
NetGalley: for someone who loves to read and review the latest books, a system for sharing electronic advance reading copies is a brilliant way of keeping up to date.
Goodreads: An essential resource for any writer who loves to talk books with like-minded book lovers in every genre. Create an author account and link your blog posts to your page to keep it fresh.
Creative Live: This is a brilliant source of free training. Originally designed for professional photographers you can participate in live sessions with the top names in business and the creative arts, or watch rebroadcasts for free.
CREATING ONLINE COURSES
This is a new venture for me and I am experimenting on technology and equipment. Right now I am using Powerpoint slides with audio commentaries created using :
The Blue Yeti USB Microphone. Good quality and three options so I can use it for dictation, teaching and interviewing.
Audacity Audio Recording Software.
No doubt I shall be adding to this list as I discover more resources but I do hope that this is a useful start.