Useful resources for writers
In this section, I give links to resources that have proved helpful to me as an author. In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll receive a commission if you click any of the links and then purchase the product. I only recommend those I love and have found useful, however, and the price you pay will be the same regardless!
1. A – Z of Self – Publishing Course – FREE!
Iain Rob Wright is one of the UK’s top novelists, and has carved an immensely successful career for himself with his books. He has always bent over backwards to help other novelists, myself included. Now you can access Iain’s wealth of knowledge via his course, A-Z of Self-Publishing. I’ve been blown away by the depth of content and comprehensive coverage. The course has nine units comprised of several lessons each, almost fifty in total. They take you through the entire process of self-publishing from creating ebook, paperback, and audio files to building a website and mailing list. You’ll discover how to sell your work using competitions, promotions, ad campaigns, as well as other ways to quickly grow your fan base. The course gives detailed tutorials on all the tools and programs that a self-publisher might encounter, along with advice on how to get the basics absolutely spot on (like book descriptions and keywords).
The course features about thirty hours of HD video and also includes supplementary material like PDFs and spreadsheets. Everything can be accessed online. All the third party tools mentioned are either free to use or feature discounts exclusively for students of the course. None of the paid tools are necessary to get through the course, but they are useful for those who want to invest in the very best software and programs.
For students who require extra help, there is a private Facebook group, where they can talk directly to Iain or with other students. At first this was a paid course, but Iain has announced it will be free from now on. So what do you have to lose? Check out A-Z of Self Publishing here: www.azofselfpublishing.com.
2. Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi)
I belong to ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors, a professional association for authors who self-publish. So what is ALLi, and why should you join?
ALLi members are committed to high standards for their books and act as advocates for self-publishing. There are a wide range of benefits, such as free online seminars, help with selling translation and film/TV rights, free guides and resources, as well as the chance to network with other self-published authors. An active Facebook forum exists and monthly meetings are also held in many locations. To find out more, click the image.
3. Scrivener – outstanding software for writers
I’ve written in my book, ‘Write Your Novel! From Getting Started to First Draft’, how much I love Scrivener. Scrivener is powerful software for writers, enabling us to organise manuscripts and research easily. Outline and structure ideas, take notes, view research alongside your writing and compose the constituent pieces of your text in isolation or in context. Scrivener won’t tell you how to write—it just makes all the tools you have scattered around your desk available in one application. I love the split-screen facility, which means I can have my notes or research visible as I type. When it comes to publishing my books, Scrivener compiles them seamlessly into whichever format I require. There’s a reason many top authors, such as Michael Hyatt and Joanna Penn, use this software!
There’s a generous trial period, and at $40 for the Windows version and $45 for the Mac one, Scrivener is amazingly good value for money. The website has help tutorials and an active forum. Simply click the images below.
4. Learn Scrivener Fast
Much as I love Scrivener, there’s a learning curve involved. Once you master the software, you’ll never want to write without it, but you may need some assistance getting there.
Enter Learn Scrivener Fast, a digital course which is the brainchild of Joseph Michael. With LSF you’ll get all the help you need in a convenient package, with bite-sized pieces of information delivered via helpful videos. It’s like having your very own Scrivener coach showing you how to resolve every issue you may encounter. Believe me, mastering Scrivener is well worth the time invested, and with LSF you can do so quickly and easily. There are three levels of the course available, all reasonably priced. Click the image to find out more.
5. Pro Writing Aid editing software
I love Pro Writing Aid! It’s manuscript editing software for writers, with lots of excellent features. There’s a free version, but it’s well worth splashing out on the paid version for its extra functionality (interactive editing, no word limit, offline as well as online use).
So what does PWA do?
It checks spelling, grammar and punctuation, as well as searching for overused words, clumsy sentences, vague phrases, homonyms and much more. Use it to look for cliches and redundancies, hidden and passive verbs or repetitive sentence structure. In total there are twenty-seven checks and reports, including one for plagiarism.
The software has add-ins for Microsoft Word and Google Docs. The developers are active, often releasing updates, and they’re also very approachable. Their blog is well worth a look too. Other resources on the website include writing prompts and quotes along with a couple of dictionaries. Why not give Pro Writing Aid a try, and see how it can help you? Click the image to find out more.
6. Help combat e-book piracy with Blasty
Help combat e-book piracy with Blasty. Many authors find that their books are being offered for free on the Internet without their consent. This constitutes a breach of copyright, but it’s surprisingly easy (and lucrative) for unscrupulous characters to turn a kindle book into a PDF and upload it to a website offering unlimited e-books for a monthly fee.
Blasty is a service that hunts down such websites, after white-listing genuine sites such as Amazon, Apple, etc. The author is then able to request removal of the unauthorised books. There are three levels of subscription, with the basic one being free. If you subscribe to the premium level, Blasty will do the hard work for you and issue ‘cease and desist’ notices to the offending sites. Why not give it a go? Either click here or the image.