My 5 Favorite Author Tools 🛠 🧰
There are SO many awesome author tools that indie authors have now that we simply didn’t have when I started publishing back in 1998. And today, I’d love to share my five favorites with you.
(standard disclaimer: most of the links below are NOT affiliate links. But a couple are. They’re labeled. They don’t cost you any extra if you buy through them, but they do give me a small income. Thank you for helping my kids get math tutoring!)
Vellum has been a game-changer. For anyone who struggled to format books when no one knew how to format this new-fangled thing called an “electronic book”, Vellum is a shot of adrenaline and peace and calming all mixed together.
I have found that Vellum is one of the best softwares about releasing updates every time Amazon changes things. They also update whenever one of the other ebook formats updates. They recently released an update for IngramSpark that made my uploading process MUCH easier!
With Vellum, not only do you get a generic epub, but you can get device specific versions easily and quickly, all with their personalized store links! You can also publish a print book in several different sizes, with more coming every day.
If you’re an author formatting your own books, definitely look into Vellum.
Draft2Digital & Books2Read
D2D and B2R are an unbeatable author tools combo! If you don’t want to spend money to purchase a Vellum license (understandable), then Draft2Digital has an awesome book formatting service. And it’s free!! Many authors format their books in D2D and then download that epub & pdf to upload everywhere else.
But my favorite feature of D2D is their aggregation service. Through D2D, you can publish your book on many different stores and platforms! It saves you tons of time from going to lots of different platform sites and uploading your book over and over again.
Then, once you’ve published a book on D2D, it automatically gives you a universal book link (UBL) that you can use to give everyone a single book link, but they can purchase the book from whichever platform they prefer! This makes readers happy, of course!
And Books2Read is the UBL side of the D2D world. Even if you don’t publish your books through D2D, you can get a B2R account and create your own UBLs. Plus, if you put in your affiliate codes with any of the platforms/stores, then they automatically get added to your books that are clicked on from B2R! Can we say “passive income”?
I promise, I would tell you how awesome BookFunnel is…even if they didn’t occasionally hire me to create user videos for them. 😀 Basically, BF answers the question of “How do I give my books to people?” And when you’ve got a reader who isn’t tech savvy, BF also has the best tech support in the world. IMO.
But Damon didn’t stop at helping authors give away books! No! He wanted to create even more author tools! He can help you sell books directly! Plus you can easily create landing pages for each book, so you don’t have to have a book page on your site, if you want to keep it smaller.
Then, last year, BF got into the audio game too. For quite some time, you could give away up to two hours of audio on BF, but now you can give away an entire audiobook! (Or sell it directly, of course!)
The possibilities of how to use BF are incredible and many. This should definitely be a part of your author business plan!
So, I admit, I’m a tad late to the mass exodus from MailChimp. I had few enough subscribers (and I wasn’t really emailing much anyway) back then that I didn’t NEED to move. I did help Andrea Pearson put together an awesome tool to help you compare all of the different newsletter service providers. If you’re shopping around for a new newsletter provider, you can take a look at that. (Yeah, those are affiliate links.)
But after doing my own comparisons, and really evaluating what my business needed, I had to go with ConvertKit 100%. (That’s an affiliate link too.) What I love best about ConvertKit is that it’s aimed at creators. And they’ve got all kinds of automation templates that handle just about any situation you might need to have, as an author. I’m still learning, and occasionally googling how to accomplish a specific thing. But usually, when I find out how to do that thing, I find myself saying, “Oh, that’s so much better than MC! I can think of several different ways I can use that now!” Yep. it’s pretty awesome. Oh! And since this is an affiliate link heavy bullet point, make sure you check out the very capable FREE PLAN that ConvertKit has! (Including free landing pages, if you didn’t have enough of those from Books2Read or BookFunnel. LOL)
Let’s face it. There’re lots of different ways to schedule out social media posts to various platforms. But my favorite is SocialBee.
SocialBee allows you to connect several different accounts, both professional and personal across many platforms. You can set up a schedule with categories of posts (newsletter signup posts every Monday, featured products every Tuesday, blog posts every Wednesday, etc). Then, you fill the various categories with posts fitting the categories.
There are a couple of types of accounts that SocialBee does not automatically post to for you (instead, it sends you reminders from the phone app.) But other than that, I’ve enjoyed being able to sit back and know that my posts are going out, whether or not I’m available to post.
But don’t you have to have evergreen stuff for that to work? Yes, and no. When creating posts, you can customize which accounts it will post to, when exactly it will post (or leave that unselected), whether it will requeue after it’s posted, and what date it will expire on. So if you have a limited time promotion, create the post, and then schedule the first time for it to post on the day the promotion begins. Tell it to requeue, and then put the expiration date in for the last day of the promotion. And, boom! Your accounts will automatically promote your promotion while it’s running.
But, wait, Adriel! Instagram requires a different approach to hashtags than TikTok does. And Twitter can’t take as many characters as Facebook can! Correct. And you can customize a post by profile, adding in (or deleting) as many hashtags and characters as you need. But what if I want a particular image (like my book cover), but I don’t want it to say the exact same caption all the time. I want to test my descriptions! That’s totally doable as well. You can add as many variations as you need!
What about analytics? I make business decisions based on feedback and response analytics? Those are also available (though, not for all account types). And it creates beautiful graphs to make it easier to absorb the information.
So, yes. I think you should take a look at SocialBee.
I there are so many more useful author tools that can make your life easier. But these are the five that I use the most frequently that I simply love.
Owner, Adriel Wiggins Author Services and Consulting
Hello! I’m Adriel Wiggins, wife, mother of three, bibliophile, art geek, and all around student. I’ve been on a quest all of my life to learn as much as I possibly can about everything I possibly can. This has helped me tremendously in what eventually became my life’s purpose: to help other people become the best version of themselves. It is in that line that I became an assistant.
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