Today I’m going to share my top 10 digital tools for the business of being an author. Most of these are free and all of them are easy to use.
I recommend them to you because I use them and find them valuable and think you will too.
(1) WordPress for website and blogging – Hands down there is no better platform for authors to blog. And it’s free. Open source code, it is easy to download to any webhost and if you can read the documentation or watch the video tutorials you can build a site yourself, or have us set it up for you and then you can easily manage and administer it yourself.
(2) MailChimp for newsletters and RSS blog delivery. This service is free up to 2,000 names on your email list. If you want a professional looking newsletter that reflects your brand and personalized to your readers this is how to do it. And it plays nice with WordPress. There’s a plugin and your blog is delivered to subscribers from your website. You can create and import lists directly from LessAnnoyingCRM which I mention below.
(3) Google Alerts. Set up an alert for your author name. Using it is not an act of vanity. It’s called image management. Yes, you want to know when anyone anywhere at any time posts something on the internet using your name or your book title. You can set up google alerts for keywords, names, places, phrases, and let the search engines keep up with the research for you with daily or weekly digests of new items.
(4) Bitly is a URL shortener. You can use it with Facebook or Twitter or both. It also keeps metrics on how many of your links are clicked on and when. Again, a way to assess the reach and effectiveness of your messages.
(5) Marketinggrader.com provides an assessment of your website and social media accounts. It’s a free tool used by Hubspot which sells its social media marketing services. They offer a variety of free downloads with good information on marketing though it is not specific to publishing.
(6) Google Analytics helps you keep track of your progress in growing an audience platform from your website. Monthly check-ins recommended. Google provides a piece of html code which is embedded in your website and calculates the metrics for visitors to your website. Explore Google AdSense to assess how much you could charge for advertising on your site.
(7) Last Pass is a vault for the many passwords you will use for accounts related to your business of being an author. It allows you to enter one password when you logon and then autofills all your username and password information for you. A timesaver; more accurate and more secure.
(8) Citation Machine to format your citations, references, endnotes, footnotes, and bibliography entries into MLA, APA or University of Chicago style.
(9) The Purdue Online Writing Lab for grammar and mechanics, style guides, and writing craft. This is a one-stop shop for questions you may have about writing and editing.
(10) LessAnnoyingCRM. CRM stands for Contact Relations Management. Think digital rolodex and file cabinets. This is the office for your business. It’s the place where all of your contacts can be kept in one place. Name. Address. Email Address. Website. Facebook Page. LinkedIn. @Twitter. Your calendar, projects and tasks, and email happens from inside your “small business office.” There’s a free 30-trial and then it’s $10/mo. It will save you hundreds of hours as an organizational and management tool.