My #Fav Tech Tools for Busy Authors

The available technology that’s supposed to help you get it all done in your day to day and make things easier, faster, stress free are too numerous to name.
But I have some programs that really do make my author life easier and I thought I’d share them with you.
First, before I list all the tech tools I’m employing, I wanted to make a couple of  disclaimers about this list.
 
I’m not endorsed by any company whatsoever, nor do I have any affiliate links should you use the URL I provided to take you company website to learn more about them. 
I have and currently use ALL of the tools listed, (the numbered list), regularly.
Most of the versions I’m using are the FREE/BASIC ones. IF you want a little more of the bells and whistles, obviously you’ll want to get the paid versions. Some of the paid versions are wonderful additions that can enhance whatever you’re doing. I put an asterisk if I’m using the PAID version of something and some I have paid for and let lapse for no real reason other than I wanted to try it and see. 
 
Some of these have the app version for usage as well. I only have the app version for one or two of the tools as I don’t personally like working long periods of time on my phone/tablet and thus prefer desktop versions.
 
Finally, some of these you won’t need until you are published. Canva for instance, you may want to make some graphics about you and could use it to make your headers for all your platforms (as I do) for Facebook, IG, your Youtube, Twitter and other social media channels and this can help give your sites professionalism until you have an actual book out. 
Finally, they are listed simply, in alphabetical order.
 
  1. Animoto – I love this video making program – I make all my trailers using a combination of Animoto and IMovie on  my Mac. I’ve even taught an online class for using it. 
  2. Canva – make awesome posters, flyers, cards – I really didn’t need this (and it wasn’t available until years after my publishing but I absolutely love it. 
  3. *Constant Contact – a professional way to easily drag and drop content to create your newsletters and other communication 
  4. Evernote – write anywhere on the go, jot down notes
  5. Google – you should really have a Google address simply for the tools you will then have access to including Dropbox, accessing files on the go and saving pictures that you take, and backing up your computer files for storage in the Google Drive
  6. Grammarly – basic check of your writing, to reduce errors and ensure your writing is tight
  7. *Hootsuite (or Buffer App) – when you are ready for posting info on your social media platforms, this will allow you to schedule things one time in advance, AND across multiple platforms (3 platforms with the free version)
  8. Paypal – accept money, have someone purchase a book and send you the funds, collect funds from others for goods/services
  9. Square – sell your stuff anywhere and send invoices to folks to collect your money (I personally think that Square and Paypal (now that I’ve used both) are so similar that you really only need one but let me know in the comments if you think they differ in some way). – I do believe that Sqaure and Paypal do much of the same thing. I’ve sent invoices in both of the platforms and don’t there there is much different, except that Paypal has been around longer.
  10. *Transfer Big Files – this has been a big help and I recommend only if you need to send stuff to different people e.g. large book cover files in Photoshop and other large files that can’t be sent over email
  11. Typorama – I like this tool even more in recent weeks since I learned that it has partnered with Unslash and Pixabay to increase the availability of additional images. When I first started using it, those companies were not part of the package and thus the backgrounds/photos selection were VERY limited. 
  12. Voice Recorder / Dragon Naturally Speaking program for computer or app – This is any digital voice recorder that you can purchase at your local office supply store, smaller than a cell phone, and fits into your pocket/purse, or this is also refers to something like the Dragon program to dictate. Many may not like dictating and at times for some, it can take some getting used to, connecting your voice/thoughts, but once you have it and get it going, it’s a real handy way to get down some thoughts and increase your writing output. 
  13. *Wordpress – Um, you’re on my WordPress site, by far the easiest website design platform I’ve used EVER!! To update and change the information is simple, not to mention a dot com address, is very reasonable. They have unbeatable tech support and tutorials you can watch anytime!!! Support (at least the one you get online talking to a professional) even records your conversation and the instructions they give you so you can refer back to them later. That is more than worth it. 
Enjoy these awesome tools. Try them, learn them, see what’s going to be easiest for you to utilize. 
Lastly, below are a couple of tools I use for some things but not as regularly as those mentioned above:
Dictionary List A – Z – I only discovered this as I wrote this blog post. Both Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, are open while I’m writing. What I love is the recent discovery of the list. The ENTIRE dictionary word list online which helps if you want a certain word and you want it start with a certain letter, you can see ALL the words. This is so easy rather than pulling out the big dictionary we all have somewhere, likely, holding a door open. 
Mail Chimp – everyone I’ve heard mention this newsletter builder absolutely loves Mailchimp and I too enjoy aspects of it, I simply started using Constant Contact first. I do use Mailchimp (free) to get people to sign up for my website, I created a popup to request name/e-mail address from site visitors, thus building my mailing list and it was super easy to do. If you’re visiting now, you should have seen it. 🙂 
Poster My Wall – like Canva, you can  make awesome graphics and posters and get them printed (Canva also recently added a print option for anything you create, you can pay to have it printed and mailed to you).
Crello (don’t confuse with Trello – a scheduling app for working on projects with your team / multiple parties) – Crello is also similar to Canva, as are, PicJumbo, BurstPixabay and Unsplash, Shutterstock, etc.,– these are ALL similar to Canva in that they are a place to get photos and edit them for your needs with text. Most of my graphics in this blog and etc., were likely made using Canva. 
Now, I am getting ready to spend a little more money on the development of my book trailers, one thing I do like about Shutterstock is that they have some live footage that’s not terribly expensive. I’m hoping to up my book trailer game and start using live footage in them. I mean they are great already, aren’t they!?! 
For any photos you will obtain, ALWAYS, ALWAYS read the licensing information as this will ensure you do not break any copyright infringement laws, especially when it comes to making book covers and using images from these sites for your cover. Any graphic designer you use should already be aware of this and be purchasing the right licenses for work they do for you.
A few more tips: I’d say, be sure to try one thing at at time, IF it’s not working for you, move on and don’t forget to delete/uninstall the app as that takes up storage on your devices. 
I also don’t employ ALL of these additional (second list) tools because it can become too much, get overwhelming AND many of the programs do the exact same things, particularly the photo editing programs. It just depends on what aspects of it are more appealing to you and the look of the user interface. Also, remember the more programs you have, the more places you have to lose things or forget in which app you were working on something if you leave and have to return to it, not to mention, the more logins you have to remember to access all of your stuff. I keep all my graphics once downloaded in a file on my desktop named GRAPHICS GALORE. 🙂 
Pay attention to any guidelines, don’t just share blindly or use for your book covers, see what the copyrights say or send a question to customer support when in doubt.
Finally, Youtube has been the biggest help in figuring out HOW to best learn and use all of these different tools. If you’re going to have them, take time to explore/understand all of their bells and whistles so you can be assured you’re getting the most out of what they offer AND what you’re paying for, it you will pay. If they haven’t been out for that long, just wait. In no time someone will be putting up a video any day (I can’t assure you the quality of that video but someone will get it right, just keep looking and watching). 
These tools should be helpful and fun, once you get the hang of it. If that’s not the case for you, don’t worry, move on and hire a professional (or, as I’m fond of, buy a teenager food or Forever21, it works)!
Please, leave your favorite tech tools in the comments. Share a snippet about why you like them. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s