Updated: Authors' Tools I Use Every Day

Stealthy. Like a ninja.

Stealthy. Like a ninja.

Updated AGAIN: things change so fast! A year after I originally wrote this, I have made some changes.

As my backlist has really taken off, I'm basically running a medium-sized business in my kitchen. Designing promo art, running ads, keeping up with my blogger friends. It's a lot of work. I get a lot of questions about what tools I use to steer the ship. In case you're curious, here goes!

  • I used MailChimp right up until my monthly bill notched up to $150. (Ow!) I love Mailchimp because they'd integrated with all my other services. And the interface is clean and easy. But recently I've converted to Mailerlite because it costs less than half as much.
  • My number one web tool is Squarespace. In fact, I now design websites for other authors in Squarespace because I've created some very special tools that make an author's life easier. The ecommerce features rock, and the 24/7 customer service is a lifesaver. My e-store on Squarespace recently celebrated its 800th transaction. They make life easy.
  • For art I use several tools, depending on what I'm doing. I keep the paid version of PicMonkey because I really like their filters. They're intuitive. I hate the fact that you can't store works in progress there, so I'd like to cut the cord. But... ooh, pretty!
  • I finally updated from Photoshop Elements to PhotoshopCC, and I'm so glad I did. All the tools work better than they used to, and now I can use smart objects. (I know. Geeeeeeky.)
  • I use Canva once in a while because they store the banner sizes for the different social media platforms. Also, you can duplicate your designs really easily, which is handy.
  • There's an app called Word Swag which is really good at placing text over images. It's my new favorite thing.
  • Booktrakr sends me an email every morning telling me how many copies I sold the previous day at Amazon, B&N, Kobo and iBooks. And now it handles D2D, yay. This is a paid service at around $10 a month, but it's so useful.
  • My ebooks are formatted inVellum, which I love. I'll never regret paying for the full version.
  • My works in progress are in Scrivener, which I could not live without.
  • Because Facebook Messenger's TOS offends me, I use a buggy third-party app called Friendly.
  • I love Tweetdeck as a chrome plugin.  I use PostPlanner to schedule tweets and Latergram.me to schedule Instagram posts.
  • My promo videos are made with an imperfect tool called Animoto. Why? Because Animoto has a large (1000+) library of music, and the license for their "professional" version allows those songs to be used for commercial purposes. That's so important. I would never use someone's intellectual property without permission, and that's why Animoto is worth it.

That's a lot of tools! Yikes. What are your faves?

Sarina Bowen5 Comments