Resources for Writers

I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page to help you with your writing, blogging, and publishing needs. I’ll add to this page whenever I find additional resources that I believe are worth recommending to you. Please take a moment to bookmark this page now, and enjoy!

Disclosure:  Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. It means that if you decide to use any of them, I might earn a commission from that company for recommending them.  Please understand that I have experience with all of these products, and I recommend them because I honestly believe they might be helpful to my readers. 

My 5 Most Recommended Resources

If you look at nothing else on this page, check out these top five resources for writers. They make my life easier, and I find that I am frequently recommending them to my readers.

 


Amazon Kindle
Amazon Kindle
: If you are a writer then chances are you are also an avid reader. One of the best ways to read books today is with an Amazon Kindle E-reader. You may be tempted to buy a different eReader, and there are several good brands. However, most people end up buying ebooks from the store that “goes with” their brand. What better store to have your device associated with than Amazon’s Kindle Store?


Kindle SpyKindleSpy: One of the biggest challenges for indie authors today is getting good data on what is really working and not working in Amazon’s Kindle Store. I use KindleSpy to “reverse engineer” the Kindle Store. I can see which books are performing well and an estimate of the monthly revenue. With this tool, you’ll know which niches and genres are the most profitable to target. I even made this 15-minute video about Kindle Spy so you can see it for yourself.



Bluehost
: If you want to build a website or blog then you need to host it on computer servers somewhere. I recommend Bluehost hosting for your first website. I’ve used them, and they’re one of the best hosting companies. The customer service from some companies is terrible, but Bluehost have built their reputation on excellent hosting packages and good service. Disclosure: many of my websites are currently hosted at Hostgator, but that is as a result of consolidating separate hosting accounts I had with these two companies. Hostgator is also excellent.


Aweber
Aweber
: this is a powerful mailing list management and email broadcasting tool. Aweber is the tool I have used for many years now to manage my email lists and newsletters. I’m not the only one who likes it. Aweber is now used by more than 120,000 small businesses, bloggers and entrepreneurs around the globe. You can get a 30-day free trial through this link. You may also like to read my comparison of email service providers.


Scrivener
Scrivener
: one of the most popular, specialized word-processing programs for authors. It is excellent for outlining as well as being a management system for your documents, research and notes. Scrivener comes with templates for screenplays, fiction, and non-fiction manuscripts, and makes it easy to export your document in various formats including ebooks.

 


Writing

Grammarly Logo

Grammarly: one of the best spelling and grammar tools for serious writers. Even after years of writing, my grammar is far from perfect. My audience includes thousands of writers, so you can probably imagine how many emails I receive whenever I make a grammatical error! I am now using Grammarly to check and improve my writing before it goes out to the world. With the browser extension for Chrome, you can write without mistakes everywhere you go online. You can use this link to try the standard version for free, although the premium version does have more powerful features.


Scrivener
Scrivener
: one of the most popular, specialized word-processing programs for authors. It is excellent for outlining as well as being a management system for your documents, research and notes. Scrivener comes with templates for screenplays, fiction, and non-fiction manuscripts, and makes it easy to export your document in various formats including ebooks.


Learn Scrivener FastLearn Scrivener Fast: it can take a while to learn any new software application, and Scrivener is no exception. In fact, it is probably a little harder to learn than some other applications, but once you’ve got your head around it, it’s fantastic! Although Scrivener has some built-in tutorials, this is the “Go To” course if you would like to learn Scrivener quickly.


Google DocsGoogle Docs: I do a great deal of my writing in the free Google Docs.  One thing I love is that Google Docs constantly saves my documents in the cloud, in Google Drive. Google Drive comes with 15 GB of cloud space (shared with my Gmail storage). I like to write in a variety of locations including my local libraries and cafés. Google Docs enables me to access and work on the latest version of my document from anywhere, as long as I have my computer, tablet or smartphone connected to the Internet. I wrote an article about this. It is also quite simple to convert a document into other formats, e.g. into Microsoft Word or PDF formats.


EvernoteEvernote: One weakness of online word processors like Google Docs and Word Online is that there is no local client, so you can only access your documents over an internet connection. With Evernote, it is easy to take notes or write articles and store them online for synchronizing and accessing with local clients on almost any device. Evernote has apps and versions for Web browsers, Windows, Windows 8 Touch, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.


Web Hosting and Domains


Bluehost: If you want to build a website or blog then you need to host it on computer servers somewhere. I recommend Bluehost hosting for your first website. I’ve used them, and they’re one of the best hosting companies. The customer service from some companies is terrible, but Bluehost have built their reputation on excellent hosting packages and good service. Disclosure: many of my websites are currently hosted at Hostgator, but that is as a result of consolidating separate hosting accounts I had with these two companies. Hostgator is also excellent.


Hostgator
Hostgator
: Over the past 15 years of building websites I have used a bunch of different hosting companies. I’ve had both good and bad experiences, but I can recommend both Bluehost and Hostgator.  From humble roots – the company started in a dorm room at Florida Atlantic University – HostGator is now headquartered in Houston and Austin, Texas, with several international offices throughout the globe.


Website Design & Development


Wordpress
Wordpress
: If you are developing a website it’s hard to go past WordPress as the engine to build it on. It’s free, and it’s a breeze to install with a couple of clicks on any good hosting company. I do not recommend building your website at WordPress.com. To have full ownership of your content and domain name, use the WordPress software (either download it from WordPress.org or, even easier, use the quick installer in your control panel at Bluehost or Hostgator.


theme_forest_125x125
Themeforest
: WordPress is the engine I recommend for your blog, but you also need a good-looking design. Some of the most beautiful and responsive WordPress themes are available from ThemeForest, one of the brands operated by Envato.


Email Management

Aweber
Aweber
: this is a powerful mailing list management and email broadcasting tool. This is the tool I have used for many years now to manage my main email mailing lists and newsletters. I’m not the only one who likes it. Aweber is now used by more than 120,000 small businesses, bloggers and entrepreneurs around the globe. You can get a 30-day free trial through this link. You may also like to read my comparison of email service providers.



GetResponse: a competitor of Aweber for mailing list management and also very good.  While both tools are very good with GetResponse you can take a free trial without handing over your credit card details, once you are using it, it’s slightly less expensive, and it has more powerful autoresponder capabilities (for sending automated follow-up messages to your subscribers).


Epublishing

Kindle SpyKindleSpy: One of the biggest challenges for indie authors today is getting good data on what is really working and not working in Amazon’s Kindle Store. I use KindleSpy to “reverse engineer” the Kindle Store. I can see which books are performing well and an estimate of the monthly revenue. With this tool, you’ll know which niches and genres are the most profitable to target. I even made this 15-minute video about Kindle Spy so you can see it for yourself.


Scrivener
Scrivener
: one of the most popular, specialized word-processing programs for authors. It is excellent for outlining as well as being a management system for your documents, research and notes. Scrivener comes with templates for screenplays, fiction, and non-fiction manuscripts, and makes it easy to export your document in various formats including ebooks.


Calibre Software


Calibre
: a free and open source e-book library management application which is very useful for converting your manuscripts to ePub and kindle formats. I explain in detail how I use this software in The Indie Author’s Guide to Publishing Ebooks.


Image Editing & Graphic Design

canvaCanva: Design shouldn’t be hard but somewhere along the way we became bogged down with expensive, complicated software that put design out of reach for most people. Canva makes design simple for everyone. It gives you everything you need to easily turn ideas into stunning designs. Most of my writing quote graphics were created using Canva.


 

GimpGimp: Some people will tell you that you need expensive image editing software to edit your images. I work extensively with images and photos and I use Gimp in addition to using professional software such as Adobe Photoshop. You can do so much with the free Gimp software. It’s a little harder to learn because it doesn’t have a very good help feature, but I simply Google what I want to do in Gimp to get instructions. If you don’t want to spend a lot on image editing software, then Gimp is what you need. Free.


 

Hardware & Devices

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Kindle
: If you are a writer then chances are you are also an avid reader. One of the best ways to read books today is with an Amazon Kindle E-reader. You may be tempted to buy a different eReader – and there are several good brands – however most people end up buying ebooks from the store that “goes with” their brand. What better store to have your device associated with than Amazon’s Kindle Store?


Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
: I confess that I love working in various places such as coffee shops. It’s a lot more interesting than staying at home all day. I used to take a laptop everywhere but now all I take is my Samsung Galaxy tablet. I love this device.


Sony- A58
Sony A58 DSLR Camera: For blog photos and videos I use and am very happy with my Sony A57 DSLR camera. The Sony A58 shown here is the updated model which is available at the time of writing this.

 


 

Books & Ebooks

Amazon
Amazon
: Amazon has been the leading online retailer of books for many years and they revolutionized the publishing industry with their range of Kindle eReaders for ebooks.