Authors have to juggle a lot of balls in today's book industry. Not only do they have to write that next book, they also have to market it, balance the ledgers, woo their fans on social media, do background research on their next project, and make dinner.
With all this work piling up, everyone is always looking for ways to get more done in less time. The following post details a few tools authors can use on to stay ahead of the game.
Editor's note: I am looking for a home for this series now that I have worked out most of the bugs. I would love to contribute it to a writing blog.
This is the leading open-source Epub editor. It is free, and available on both Windows, Linux, and macOS. Authors can use it to produce an Epub ebook that meets the Epub2 standard (it only has limited Epub3 support, which is okay given that there's only limited reasons to use Epub3). And yes, it does have a compliance checker.
It offers both a text-editing mode and a code editor, and authors can use either option to format their book. The code editor is also a great way to fix errors identified by the compliance checker.
Google has indexed virtually the entire web and made it possible to find most of the world's websites through its search engine, but sometimes a more narrow focus is required.
Take definitions, for example. Google is great if you just need a simple definition for a common word, but if you want to search all the dictionaries and look for a specific nuanced meaning of an obscure 17th century word then you're better off with a site like OneLook.
OneLook automatically searches over a thousand dictionary websites, including Websters, the Urban Dictionary, multiple Oxford dictionaries, and more. It has almost 19 million words in its index in a couple dozen languages.
Book sales are how authors put food on the table, and KDP Rocket is the secret weapon for increasing sales. It is a complete book marketing tool that authors can use when selling their books in the Kindle Store.
Authors can use it for everything from validating a concept, finding the best keywords and categories, identifying a title and subtitle that resonates with an audience, write better book descriptions that convert browsers into buyers, and more.
Best described as the Meetup for author and publisher events, BookGig is owned by HarperCollins. The site features a curated schedule of publishing and author events across the UK, including book signings, literary festivals, readings, and related events like the British Library's upcoming Harry Potter themed exhibit on magic.
This is a service that is so obviously useful and desperately needed that it's a tragedy that BookGig is currently limited to the UK.
If you take lots of notes in your Kindle ebooks then chances are you will need a tool for managing notes and highlights. Kintrospect is one such tool (here are a dozen others). Connect it with your Kindle account and you can use it to import your notes and then remix them into a study guide or a draft for a paper.
You can also export the notes to Evernote, or Markdown.
Kintrospect is currently free, and is available for macOS and Windows.
This is a free background noise generator that you can use to help boost your productivity. It runs in Chrome, on iOS or Android, and there's also a website. Noisli offers over a dozen options ranging from the sound of a fan to tides, rainstorm, the buzz of a coffee shop, and the crackling of a fire. You can mix and match two or more of the noise makers, setting the volume of each part to create your perfect blend of noise.
I find the rain storm option very soothing; it's playing right now, giving me just enough of a distraction that I can focus all my attention on this post.
* * *
There you have it; six great tools you can use to get stuff done.
So tell me, what are your favorite tools?