If you’re a writer looking for some advice, I’ve put together a list of products, services, and podcasts I’ve found helpful over the years. Whether you’re querying agents or self-publishing, I hope this information points you in the right direction. Best of luck & happy writing!
Scrivener: Scrivener is a writing software that helps you stay organized while you write. It can also format your document for publication. It is used by many authors and I highly recommend it if you are the sort of person who tends to write scenes out of order. You can download it for Mac, Windows, and as an app for your iPhone or iPad. Learn Scrivener fast with this program that teaches you how to best utilize its features.
AgentQuery Connect: This is a website where you can post query letters, synopses, and find critique partners. This is a great tool if you’re just starting out and looking for honest feedback on your writing. I recommend you have your writing critiqued by other writers rather than family and friends.
Query Tracker: If you’re querying agents, this website helps you keep track of your query letters and responses. Make sure you find agents who represent work similar to yours. An easy way to do this is to read the acknowledgments page in books within similar genres to yours.
Brandon Sanderson Lectures: There are many creative writing lectures posted on YouTube if you search for them. I found these lectures to be the most helpful and organized. Brandon Sanderson is a notable fantasy and sci-fi author, but his lessons can be applied to any genre of writing.
*When booking promotions and editorial services, remember the old adage that you get what you pay for. Be wary of crazy-fast turnarounds (as in 24 hrs. to proofread 100k words), and anyone who claims they can guarantee you a certain amount of sales.
Upwork: This is a great place to turn if you’re looking for editing services or cover art. It allows you to find someone within your budget. There are other freelancer sites similar to Upwork, but I’ve found that Upwork operates a bit smoother than the others.
Fiverr: This is another website where you can find editing services and cover art at an affordable price. Make sure you pay attention to reviews and ratings before you decide to work with someone.
Grammarly: A great tool that helps you self-edit your work. I’ve found that it has been worth the investment, and you can use it to proofread anything on your computer. Grammarly has a free proofreader and plagiarism checker that you can test out.
MailChimp: There are lots of email marketing services out there such as MailerLite, MadMimi, and MailMunch, to name a few. If you’re just starting out, MailChimp allows you to send emails to up to 2,000 recipients before having to pay a monthly fee.
ConvertKit: For larger lists and more frequent interactions with your subscribers, I recommend ConvertKit. The investment is worth it, but I suggest having a healthy email list before purchasing.
BookBub: One of the most popular book promotion sites. It can be very expensive, but it is worth the investment once you’ve published more than one book. Be sure to read this article with tips on how to get accepted.
Bluehost: If you’re building an author platform, Bluehost is an affordable way to create a professional self-hosted website. Having a self-hosted website ensures that you’re the copyright holder of all of the content you post. If you have a limited budget, Bluehost’s basic package is only $3.95/month + a free domain name.
Tesla Themes: Clean and professional looking WordPress themes. I created this site with the Narcos theme, and my computer skills are very basic. I highly recommend them.
Canva: A design tool for creating custom graphics, and even e-book covers should you choose to do so. Canva offers a standard free account if you’re just starting out.
Pic Monkey: Another graphic design tool similar to Canva. There are a few differences. Since both of these websites offer free services, I recommend you try both to see what style you prefer.
Depositphotos: This is the stock photo website I use, and so far, I have no complaints. The prices also seem to be a bit more affordable than its competitors.
AppSumo: AppSumo is a daily deals website that partners with companies to offer their subscribers unique discounts on digital goods. It is free to sign up and I HIGHLY recommend it! Through AppSumo, I was able to purchase an image pack from Depositphotos and a TeslaThemes membership at over 50% off. Their discounts are no joke!
Self-Publishing Formula: Mark Dawson is known for his course teaching authors how to build their mailing lists using Facebook ads. His podcasts cover a wide range of topics and are always worth a listen.
The Creative Penn: Joanna Penn also offers a podcast where she interviews writers in multiple genres. Her podcasts are also always worth a listen.
Sterling & Stone: Sean, Johnny, and David run a self-publishing podcast as well as an annual writer’s conference called the Smarter Artist Summit.
The Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast: Lindsay, Jeff, and Joe post weekly self-publishing podcasts that you can also tune in to watch live. You don’t have to be a sci-fi or fantasy author to find their discussions valuable.
Kboards Writers’ Cafe: A great place to browse for questions and post questions related to Kindle Direct Publishing and other similar topics.