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Tools And Resources I Personally Use, Trust and Recommend

[Please note: Some of the links are affiliate links, which means I make a small percentage of the sale if you buy through my link. I use all these services myself and only recommend those I trust, so I hope they are useful and you can always google them if you don’t want to use my link. Thank you!]

It all starts with a great book! But after that, you’ll want an Author Website…

Nrdly is a website built specifically for authors. Built on WordPress for low-tech people like me, this website software designed by Nick Stephenson and endorsed and used by SPF’s Mark Dawson, is a dream come true! Nrdly includes:

  • a wide choice of fully customizable templates
  • website hosting (saves you $100+ annually)
  • built-in newsletter sign-up forms
  • full integration with any newsletter provider
  • delivery of your reader magnet (saves you paying for services like BookFunnel)
  • robust built-in SEO
  • optional pop-ups
  • your content is fully transferable if you ever decide to leave Nrdly
  • customized design and full customer support
  • for ease of use—especially for this non-techie—it couldn’t be easier!

Click here for your 30 Day free trial + 25% off + Nrdly Learning

Then you need a Newsletter Provider…

Again, over the years of my author career, I have used several newsletter providers and have recently come back to Mailerlite.

The primary reasons:

  • Mailerlite is extremely robust and simple to use
  • integrates with most websites and apps (plays well with other :>)
  • they are much more competitively priced than Mailchimp and others
  • great customer support

For Writing & Editing

Scrivener. Having found MS Word too unwieldy for writing full-length novels, Scrivener is the only program I use; I’ve written my last two books with it. I also use it to organize articles, research, my series bible, and keep track of future story ideas. Even though I know I’m only using a small percentage of what it can do, I love that I can just write scenes and then easily drag and drop to put them into chapters, re-order them, etc. Because I travel a lot (okay, I did prior to the pandemic!) I always have the latest version of my manuscript on my iPad and iPhone so I can write on the go.

ProWritingAid. I always like to pre-edit my manuscript before sending it to my editor both for developmental and for copy/line-editing, so she spends her time (and my money) on the more important issues rather than on things I can fix myself. Then I export it into Word for her and once I get the edits back, I make my revisions directly in Scrivener before formatting into Vellum (see below).

I now can’t imagine my writing life without PWA. I use it for my novels, newsletters, website copy, emails, articles I write… everything. The feature I love the most? It integrates with Scrivener, which saves me a huge amount of time without having to copy and paste. Except for the feedback from my editor, I’ve probably improved upon my own writing the most by using ProWritingAid’s real-time analyses, reports and grammar checker.

You can check it out for free and you can also get 25% off the premium edition if you use my link.

Grammarly is also for editing and is particularly good for newsletters and short stories.

For plotting

If you’re visual, you’ll love Plotter for keeping track of timelines, characters, plots, sub-plots… and more. Click here for a free trial.

Book formatting and layout

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am not a techie! And yet, I love formatting my ebooks with Vellum. I have no regrets at all about buying the software and have formatted two books and the free book I offer readers who sign up for my newsletter. I especially love that I can go in and make tweaks, changes, or corrections in seconds without having to pay or wait for a formatter to do that for me. It’s wonderful for when you need to update your back matter, which I do frequently. (Mac only)

Having said that, if you’re looking for an excellent alternative to Scrivener or Vellum, I highly recommend Dave Chesson’s (Kindlepreneur) new all-in-one writing, formatting (and more) software program. It’s about half the price of Vellum and has outstanding support and well new features are constantly being added.

Atticus is a writing and formatting tool available for PC and Mac.

Marketing Courses

While there are many great sources for indie authors, I still stick with the tried-and-true Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula. I invested in Mark’s course (an investment in myself as a long-term career author) many years ago. What I appreciate most is that course modules are constantly being updated and I’ve never paid another dime!

Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing 101

Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors

See if TikTok is for you (you might be surprised!)

The best newsletter for writers, authors, publishers:

#1: To stay abreast of everything happening in the writing and publishing industry (as well as learning about new tools) I subscribe to Jane Friedman’s Hot Sheet (her paid newsletter). Click here to try your first issue free.

Jane also has an excellent free newsletter, Electric Speed, that I highly recommend. Just click here to go directly to her signup link.

Author Associations (includes “pre-published” authors)
A reliable source for indie authors
National Organization

Western Canada Chapter