Writer’s Resources: Indispensable Tools for Every Aspiring Author
We thought it would be most beneficial to put all of our recommendations for writer’s resources in one handy reference section here, at the publisher site. This way, we can ensure the list stays up-to-date with the best available tools and we can easily add to the list over the course of time as more tools become available.
Disclosure: we are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. We have personally used and/or vetted all of the following products and services and can wholeheartedly recommend them. However you should understand that we do have an advertising or affiliate relationship with some of the following companies and we receive compensation when products or services are purchased.
Okay, so here we go …
1. Publishing Account
Let’s begin with the most important of our writer’s resources i.e. your publishing account. Create an account with Kindle Publishing (KDP). Use the information in my book (You May be a Badass) to create a winning book and then upload it to your Kindle Publishing account. They accept files in many formats including both native both Word format and EPUB. You can set your own pricing and upload your cover graphic. It’s completely free and your book gets its own page on the Amazon site.
2. eBook Creation Software
Hopefully you will already have your own word-processor program, but the free tool Calibre is a must have. It can convert your Word document into EPUB, MOBI (Kindle) and a whole host of other formats. EPUB is definitely the best format to work with, even on Kindle, as it allows you complete control over layout. You can upload it to KDP and they will convert it to Kindle format – it works very well. Plus, EPUB is the standard format for every other ebook site. This is an absolutely brilliant and truly indispensable writer’s tool.
3. Market Research
The program I personally use for market research is Publisher Rocket. It is an inexpensive tool you can use to find both niches and keyword phrases to target. It essentially takes away a lot of the guesswork and reports actual search volumes, for both Amazon and Google searches. Once you get this tool, researching the profitability of your book ideas is a breeze. For me, this tool is another absolutely indispensable resource for writers.
4. Competitor Research
For competitor research, you can easily discover the number of actual sales being made by any book on Amazon. Just enter the Amazon BSR (Best Seller Rank) which is show at the bottom of every book listing, into the free Jungle Scout tool. Choose which Amazon store you are interested in (you can research different countries), pick ‘Kindle Store’ (third field) then click the button and the number of actual sales will be shown at the top. This is a nifty little free tool.
5. Universal Links
Universal links are a great way to get your visitors to their preferred bookstore and they also have a reporting feature that tells you how many people actually click your links. If you are planning to publish ‘wide’ (i.e. to more sites than just Amazon) then I recommend that you use these links in the ‘about the author’ section inside your books. This is unquestionably one of the most useful writer’s resources to have in your toolkit.
6. Headline Writing
The job of your headline is to grab attention and get people to start reading your blurb. You should spend time crafting a great headline to improve your conversion rate. Here is an excellent copywriting tool for analysing headlines. It uses a linguistic algorithm based on modelling theory and advertising research – another superb writer’s resource.
7. Domain & Hosting
When you are ready to create your own funnel, you will need a domain (that’s your address on the internet) hosting (that’s the storage service where your website sits on the web) content management system (that’s the software that runs your site) and autoresponder (that’s the email service you need to stay in touch with your readers and prospects). These items are the basic building blocks of internet marketing.
The ideal choice for your content management system is WordPress. It is what I am using, it is both flexible and powerful. It offers a huge array of plugins that can get your site to do anything you want (I don’t say that lightly), and it is completely free. You can get your domain and hosting from HostGator. They have a great track record for reliability and support, they offer a 45 day (money back) trial, their service is very affordable, and you can install the WordPress content management system easily as they have a one-click installation in their dashboard.
You can use your autoresponder for many things including running a newsletter, notifying your fans of your next releases, making special offers to your subscribers, offering advanced copies of your work and so on. It is the way you stay in touch with your prospects and gradually turn them into customers and ultimately, into your fans.
A good choice is Mailchimp, but the ideal choice is for your autoresponder service is Aweber. They offer the best delivery guarantee in the business, they have excellent support, great training, they are very competitive on price, and you can even get started with a 30 day free trial.
9. Newsletter Swaps
To cooperate with other authors by doing newsletter swaps, an excellent service is Bookboast. They have a basic (free) account that should be good enough to get you going. It allows you to get started with up to 2 pen names and you can make up to 10 swap requests each month. Another great addition to your toolkit.
10. Book Promotion
Leveraging the contacts of other sites is a smart thing to do, especially when you are starting out. There are very many book promotion sites out there, but relatively few that can deliver real results. So make sure you check out the following list of book promotion sites that are listed in order of their traffic estimates, which is a very useful indicator of their effectiveness.
11. Book Reviews
Generally, reviews will naturally follow if you can get enough downloads (for a free book) or sales for a paid book. But it tends to be a very low percentage of people who leave reviews these days. However, you can be proactive about getting reviews by approaching book bloggers, so see our handy list below for our favourites.
That’s quite a list, but all of those writer’s resources are tools and services that I have personally used and can wholeheartedly recommend to you. They will certainly give you an edge over your competition and make the business of getting into profit that much easier.