Every writer, author, and entrepreneur needs the right set of tools to help them turn their vision into a reality. Here are the tools and resources I use as well as the ones I recommend to others starting out. This is years of experience, testing, and implementing combined all on one page! I hope these tools and resources help you as much as they’ve helped me.
Note: This list is a constant work in progress. If you find a broken link or you think I should add something, let me know. Also, full disclosure, some of these may be affiliate links, which means I get a small commission at no additional fee to you if you purchase one of these products.
- WordPress – The world’s largest blogging network. Comes in two versions: .com and .org. One is a blogging social network, the other is a content management system you can install on your website. (say hello)
- Medium – Founded by the guy who brought you Blogger and Twitter, this is an awesome social network that’s built for exchanging ideas. Articles by tech entrepreneurs, aspiring authors, big brands, and your next door neighbor… oh, and you, of course. (say hello)
- Quora – A Q&A site kind of like Yahoo Answers, but much better. Experts answer questions asked by other users. If you have knowledge, share it on Quora, become a “most viewed writer,” and drive crazy traffic to your blog. (say hello)
- Maptia – A lot like Medium, but focused on travel writing. The stories here are beautiful, thought-provoking, and inspiring. (say hello)
- Pencil – Also like Medium, but stories are told with .gifs. Lots of potential here. (say hello)
- Ulysses – A distraction-free editor that lets you write in Markdown. You can export to HTML, PDF, ePub, and a bunch of other formats.
- Scrivener – The number one tool used by writers to write, organize, and publish their work. Exports to Word, PDF, and ePub, among other formats.
- iA Writer – A super lightweight, ultra-minimalistic writing experience on Mac. It’s the closest thing to writing on a Typewriter I’ve been able to find… only it’s even more immersive.
- Novlr – A powerful app for novelists with a very active and responsive development team.
- WordKeeperAlpha – A great way to set word count goals for yourself, track your progress, and hit your deadlines.
- Beegit – Work with your team of editors and beta readers to make changes in real time.
- Draft – I used to use a collaborative writing app called Editorially that sadly bit the dust. They recommended this tool and it’s a good replacement.
- Canvas – Another collaborative writing tool.
- Reedsy – An author marketplace that helps you find editors, cover designers, and book marketers all in one place. They also have an awesome book publishing and editing tool. (say hello)
- Createspace – Amazon’s self-publishing toolkit. Find services to get your ideas out into the world, then hit publish to go live on Amazon’s marketplace.
- IngramSpark – Self-publishers can get print books too. These guys make it easy and affordable to get your book printed in bulk.
- Bowker – If you want your book to be catalogued, you need an ISBN for each version (print, ebook, audio, etc). This is where you buy them.
- BookBaby – They make it easy to distribute your book to the most popular book marketplaces online. They also print books in bulk.
- Booktrope – If you want to go the indie publishing route, but you’re not quite ready to take the leap on your own, Booketrop hooks you up with an editor, designer, and marketer to help you along the way.
Book Marketing & Discoverability
- Tablo – Share your stories with readers and explore other writers’ work.
- Wattpad – A place where writers publish stories to share with readers.
- iAuthor – Where authors and publishers discover their audience and where readers discover stories they love.
- Bublish – A publishing tool with marketing features built in. Readers can also sign up and search through available books.
- Find My Audience – Audience discoverability for social media. Discover potential readers who are talking about books like yours and reach out to them directly.
- Story Wars – A fun way to share your work with others. Write one chapter then write someone elses second chapter. Users upvote the best version of a story.
- Goodreads – A social network for book nerds. Build your library, write reviews, and share your work. (say hello)
Email, Marketing Automation, and CRM
- Mailchimp – The gateway drug to email marketing. Build a list and send simple automations, RSS feed newsletters, and easily designed emails.
- Autopilot – A very affordable and robust marketing automation tool. Lacks some crucial things like RSS and one-off emails, but it’s flexible enough that you can find workarounds.
- Streak – Nice, simple CRM for Gmail.
- Zapier – Hook up APIs from various apps. Get your platforms talking to each other with this very powerful automation and integration tool.
- IFTTT – Like Zapier. Connect apps with each other and create automations called “recipes.”
- Leadsius – Affordable marketing automation with WordPress integration.
- Hubspot – Powerful marketing automation platform. A bit expensive, but extremely comprehensive.
- Pardot – Like Hubspot. Super powerful marketing automation for people and businesses with bigger budgets.
- Salesforce – The quintessential CRM. A little on the pricey side. Mainly for businesses with growing sales teams.
- ConvertKit – Marketing automation built for bloggers and writers by a blogger and author.
- Typeform – Beautiful forms for anything from contact boxes to quizzes and surveys.
- SumoMe – The ultimate lead conversion platform. Pop-ups, heatmaps, social sharing buttons, and much more.
- Add This – Powerful social tools to plug in to your website. Comes with nifty analytics updates straight to your inbox.
- RaffleCopter – Run giveaways that require people to follow your social media accounts, tweet or pin messages, or a variety of other things.
- Gleam – A lot like RaffleCopter. Has some cool integrations with other apps like Gumroad and Eventbrite.
- WooBox – Another platform to run social promotions on. Also includes Facebook tab integrations for Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
- LeadPages – A great way to create landing pages and sign-up forms quickly and easily.
- KingSumo – A really robust way to run promotions on your WordPress blog.
- Upviral – Platform that lets you gain subscribers through referrals and contests. You can also build landing pages, do some A/B testing, and automate email drips.
- Calendly – The easiest way to let people schedule meetings with you. (say hello)
- Assistant.to – The video alone is enough to sell you. But the product really is the best thing since sliced bread. Easily share your availability via email and let the recipient choose a time that works for them.
- Wunderlist – The easiest way to track your to-do list and get stuff done.
- TrackingTime – A nice way to track projects and see how you’re spending time on certain tasks. Great for freelancers and small business owners.
- Dropbox – Cloud document sharing and storage.
- Skype – A great way to keep in touch and have online face-to-face meetings.
- Slack – A messaging app for teams. Great for sharing ideas and chatting about a project.
- CadmiumCD – Basically everything an event planner needs to manage their conference and share content with attendees.
- Eventbrite – A really easy tool for registering attendees and promoting your event.
- Catch Box – A fun way to engage attendees in sessions.
- Sli.do – A great tool for audience response in sessions.
Social Media Management & Monitoring
- Tweetdeck – The best way for Twitter junkies to follow hashtags, participate in tweet chats, and generally manage their Twitter experience.
- Buffer – A great tool to share articles to multiple platforms at one time. Also helps you schedule posts to multiple platform so your feed stays up to date and your audience stays interested.
- Crowdfire – An app that lets you manage followers and automate direct messages (be careful). Great to weed out active followers vs. non-active followers.
- Hootsuite – The king of social media management. If you’re looking to manage multiple accounts across a variety of platforms, this is the tool for you.
- Klout – A way to keep track of how much of an impact you’re making across various social media networks. The higher your score, the better you’re doing. (say hello)
- Friend or Follow – Another tool to manage followers and mass friend/unfriend followers and unfollowers. A bit like Crowdfire.
- Commun.it – Yet another tool to manage followers. This one makes it really easy to identify and interact with influencers and send out various messages based on interactions with other users.
- Google Alerts – A great way to monitor the web to see who’s talking about a certain topic, product, or company.
- Mention – Like Google Alerts, but more robust. Monitor the web, social media channels, blogs, and much more.
- StumbleUpon – Socializes the open web. You won’t ever regret sharing an article you wrote here and you’ll probably end up stumbling for hours after you do.
- 1and1 – Fairly inexpensive and secure shared hosting with apps (like WordPress) built in. Makes setting up a website and purchasing your first domain easy.
- Squarespace – A fool-proof content management system, cloud hosting, and domain registrar all in one.
- Rackspace – If you’re a bit more web savvy and want to have your own cloud server, this is a great service.
- Cloudflare – DNS that makes your website more secure and faster.
- Codecademy – The best place to learn the basics of coding. Stay dedicated for a month and you’ll be able to build your first website. Give it another month and you’ll be building the foundation of an app.
- Coda – A great text-editor for coding with a built-in FTP for managing your websites files.
- Sublime Text – Another amazing text-editor for coding with a bunch of open source packages. Has a heavier learning curve, but is super powerful once you get the hang of it. Also good for writing in markdown.
- Canva – Lets you explore templates, icons, and images, then combine them to create beautiful images, ebooks, and more for the social web.
- Pablo – A lot like Canva, but not as feature rich. Focused mainly on allowing you to easily create images for social media.
- Adobe Creative Cloud – The powerhouse of graphic design. Adobe has created an entire suite of tools for designing and editing anything from websites to books to images and videos. Requires lots of learning.
- Paypal – Basically a cloud-based bank account. Sell goods, collect payments, and manage funds.
- Stripe – A great way to collect payments for your products on your website or in your app. Requires a bit of coding to get set up.
- Amazon – Sell your goods on Amazon’s network because it’s the largest marketplace in the world. If you’re an author, check out Createspace above.
- Gumroad – A place for creatives to find an audience and sell their goods the way they want to. Features pay-what-you-want pricing and a database for users to see what they’ve purchased and access their downloads again in the future.
Reading & Entertainment
- Serial Box – The coolest serialized fiction I’ve ever seen. First chapters are always free.
- News360 – Like Pandora for news. The app learns what you like to read as you read. Replaced the much-missed app, Zite.
- Scribd – Tons of books for next to nothing. Also a subscription service for the voracious reader.
- DEVICE 6 – One of the greatest reading experiences I’ve ever had.
- McSweeney’s – Great stories by great people.
- Monument Valley – A puzzle game with a compelling story.
- Sword & Sworcery – Zelda meets LOTR. ‘Nuff said.