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Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, June 29, 2014

TOOLS OF THE (WRITER’S) TRADE: Lots of them FREE + reviews, how-to videos and cheat sheets.

by Ruth Harris

Like plumbers and carpenters, architects and astronauts, cellists and golfers, writers need the right tools to help them get the job done. New tools appear constantly and many of them are FREE. Here is a round-up of current offerings.

Word processors on steroids:

MSWord is the industry standard, the app editors and agents prefer. Has its lovers and haters but it’s powerful, sometimes kind of clunky, and can do just about anything including format your book into epub and mobi files for upload.

Make MS Word Work for You Instead of Against You is JW Manus’s quick primer directed especially to fiction writers. JW explains why over formatting and useless manuscript styling is a counter-productive waste of time for authors.

MSWord also provides the tools that allow you to create a cover. Here’s an on-line tutorial about how to make a cover in MSWord.

Book designer Derek Murphy offers DIY professional-looking book cover how-tos plus templates you can use in Word.

Scrivener (about $40 but you can find often it on sale) comes in PC and Mac flavors and is coming—soon! everyone hopes—for iOS. Powerful and very flexible, Scriv is a must-have for many writers including me. Scriv has a cork board function, an outliner, will file images and web-based research, and compiles to epub and mobi.

The manual is extensive, the video tutorials are excellent and the help forum is outstanding. Keith, Scriv’s developer, often appears to answer questions and his savvy crew is responsive and will walk you through any dilemmas.

Gwen Fernandez’ book Scrivener For Dummies has bailed this dummy out more than once and will help both beginners and experienced users.

If you’re still unsure about Scrivener and want to know more, Gwen has written a post about why she ditched Word for Scriv.

Google+ Scriv forum is another go-to resource. Scrivener enthusiasts answer questions, offer templates and share creative approaches to getting even more out of Scriv.

I found Ed Ditto’s How to Format Your Novel for Kindle, Nook, the iBookstore, Smashwords, and CreateSpace...in One Afternoon indispensable for working my way through the compile process.

Scriptito: https://www.scriptito.com/tour/write.html is a FREE online Scrivener-like text editor and project manager. Scriptito offers storyboard, research folders and linking, autosave and versioning and will also compile epubs and other export formats.

To find out more, here’s a Scriptito review.

Nisus (Mac only—Express $45, Pro $79) is a superb word processor, one I’ve used for years. Nisus works well with Scriv, it’s elegant but powerful, very stable, and the Pro version lets you compile epubs and mobis from within. Their user forum is terrific and Martin—I think he’s one of the developers—is there to answer questions and help trouble shoot.

In this article, Joe Kissell, Senior Contributor, Macworld, tells why he prefers Nisus and puts it on his A-list.

Intuitive, safe and reliable, superfast, portable and entirely customizable, Atlantis (PC only—$35) is a full-featured, moderately-priced MSWord-like app. Comes with a 30-day try-before-you-buy offer, offers on-line help and a user’s forum. Atlantis, which can encrypt your files, can do much of what MSWord does including turn your text into epub and mobi files.

Here’s a helpful review of Atlantis.

Google Documents is cloud based, fast, responsive, and FREE. Google docs does its job well, can be accessed from all your devices and is useful for collaborators who can log in from different locations and work together. Since Docs is cloud based, you get off-site back up along with a fine basic word processor.

Pages (Mac only) is iOS native, often FREE or modestly priced ($9.99) word processor to use on your iPad, iPhone, iPod. Pages also compiles to epub and mobi.

In addition to the brand names listed above, there are even more FREE word processors available on-line. You will find a round up plus reviews of FREE word processors for the pc here. FREE for the Mac is a clean and simple word processor called Bean.

E-book builder:

Vellum (Mac only—FREE to download. Pricing depends on how many you purchase. Right now on sale.) is easy to use and does only one thing: it builds elegantly designed ebooks. Upload a Word file, style text, preview a live version of your book for the iPhone, iPad, Kindle, or Nook; and export multiple versions with a single click.

Serenity Caldwell reviews Vellum, citing its easy templates, excellent preview support, and beautiful multi-version export.

Office Suites:

My generous and tech-savvy twitter pal, @RangeWoman_Inc, clued me into three FREE powerful office suites.

Apache OpenOffice is FREE, has many the same features as Microsoft Office and is available for Windows, Linux, MacOS X, Linux X86-64, Solaris X86, Solaris Sparc. Through "save as" you can export your OpenOffice for Microsoft Office (inter-exchangeable).

Open Office extensions (includes dictionaries) and templates can be downloaded at http://extensions.openoffice.org/

OpenOffice extension "After the Deadline" (FREE editing and grammar check extension).

NeoOffice is a FREE office suite for OS X and includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation and graphic program. You can export NeoOffice documents in different formats, including .doc, .xlsx and .xml.

NeoOffice user's guide is a FREE download as are the language packs.

LibreOffice is FREE open source office software for Apple OS X, Linux and Windows and includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation and graphic program. It has received awards from the Linux and Apple communities. In 2013 it was awarded the InfoWorld Bossie Award:

"After the Deadline" is a FREE editing and grammar check extension for LibreOffice and here are five recommended grammar and editing extensions for LibreOffice.

Back Ups:

Dropbox is a must-have essential for off-site back up. It’s FREE, creates one file in the cloud and another on your desktop as you work. DB also synchs on all your devices and works seamlessly with both mobile and desktop apps.

Microsoft offers FREE cloud storage called SkyDrive and Apple’s version is called (guess what?) iCloud. Google’s cloud storage, Drive, is also FREE and works on all popular systems.

Mozy, Carbonite, CrashPlan are remote backup services. Each one offers a FREE trial and various subscription plans for personal and business back up.

Publishing blogger Passive Guy—who has worked on computers for thirty years and knows first hand the soul-searing tragedy of lost work—shares his belts-and-suspenders back up method in his must-read post Never, Never, Never Lose Your Work!

Ooopsie Fixers:

India Drummond takes on editors (the cyber kind) in this review of White Smoke, Style Writers, Serenity Software, and Autocrit.

Hemingway app aims to make your writing—guess what?—bold and clear. Hemingway highlights long, complex sentences and common errors, highlights passive verbs, points the finger at adverbs.

Ginger, a spell & grammar checker, offers various monthly plans and works with MS-Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, IE, Firefox and Chrome and enables cross-platform users to correct their text with a single click. Ginger’s Text Reader lets users hear what they wrote in a U.S. or U.K. accent as spoken in the voice of a male or female reader and is useful when proofreading.

ProWritingAid is a FREE online editor that checks your grammar but also acts as an online plagiarism checker, finds overused words and phrases, improves readability and checks for consistency of spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization.


Although I’m still addicted to old-fashioned paper notebooks, I find the cyber versions indispensable.

Ubiquitous Evernote, is a powerful, FREE note keeping app that works on all platforms. Searchable by keyword or tags, includes reminder and web clipping functions, great for keeping research including images, for brainstorming ideas, for parking stuff you’re not yet sure what to do with. Cloud-based, Evernote synchs across all your devices.

One Note is now FREE and comes in Mac, Windows, iPads, iPhones and Androids flavors. An electronic version of a 3-ring binder, OneNote lives in the cloud and is synchable across devices.

In this article, award-winning tech writer Ed Bott offers cross-platform power tips for OneNote.

Bestselling romance author, Jami Davenport, provides a cheat sheet to OneNote and talks about the was she uses it to keep track of her heroes and heroines.

Preston Gralla is a contributing editor for Computerworld.com and the author of more than 45 books. Preston compares Evernote and OneNote pointing out the plusses and minuses of both.

Put the prod in productivity:

Spend too much time on FaceBook and not enough writing? A Tweet-a-holic? An internet addict? Need an enforcer?

RescueTime It’s FREE, but there’s also a Premium version with a monthly bill attached. https://www.rescuetime.com.

Write Or Die by Dr. Wicked. $20. Windows, Mac and Linux which aims to eliminate writer's block by providing consequences for procrastination and, new to this version, rewards for accomplishment http://writeordie.com.

Mac Freedom $10 compatible with Windows, Mac, Android & Ubuntu that blocks the 'net 60 day money-back guarantee.

Whew! We sure are lucky to have somebody as tech-savvy as Ruth offering us this smorgasbord of tech help for the writer. What about you, Scriveners? Do you have any more fav technology to add to this amazing list? Any questions for Ruth about what might work best for you? Have any of you made a book cover in MS Word? ...Anne

This just in: Many of the tools Ruth talks about in this post are ON SALE until July 8th.

Nisus Writer Pro

"You know that feeling you get when you put on your favorite, well-worn T-shirt and jeans? I just got that feeling when I started up the program. I live in NWP." --Lou Lesko, award winning writer and photographer.

You all know Nisus Writer Pro. It is the powerful word processor for OS X. An intuitive interface, powerful writing tools, and unmatched compatibility make Nisus Writer Pro the choice of serious writers everywhere. To receive the 25% discount on Nisus Writer Pro, enter the coupon code "SUMMERFEST" during checkout in the Nisus Store.


"Tinderbox helps you keep track of the real complexity and messiness of the world." --Ted Nelson, inventor of hypertext and author of Computer Lib and Possiplex.

Allowing you to store and organize your notes, plans and ideas, mapping and building relationships between your notes as you make them, Tinderbox also offers seamless integration with Scrivener. Claim your 25% discount on Tinderbox by ordering from this special page.


"The biggest software advance for writers since the word processor." --Michael Marshall Smith, bestselling novelist.

Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. To claim your 25% discount, enter the coupon code "SUMMERFEST" during checkout when purchasing the regular license of Scrivener, or just click here.

DEVONthink Pro

DEVONthink Pro is a paperless Mac office; your trusted supplementary brain. It's the one store for all your documents that also helps you keep them organized and presents you with the just right data you need for your work. Many Scrivener users use DEVONthink to store all their general research and ideas before bringing what they need for a particular writing project into Scrivener. To claim your 25% discount on DEVONthink, enter the coupon code "SUMMERFEST" during checkout or go to their special SummerFest page.

Aeon Timeline

"[Aeon Timeline is] the best [timeline] program I've found for Mac OS X, and the only one... written with fantasy and SF writers in mind... It's a hugely useful program for any writer planning a complex novel, and I strongly recommend you give it a try!" --Anne Lyle, author of the Night's Masque trilogy.

Aeon is a unique timeline tool for creative thinking that works great with Scrivener. To claim your 25% discount on Aeon Timeline, enter the coupon code "SUMMERFEST" during checkout.

All of these great writing tools have demo versions for you to try on the developers websites.

Act quickly: SummerFest savings end on July 8, 2014.


#1 in Kindle 30-minute Short Reads: Humor

Kindle  |  Kobo  |  GooglePlay   |  Nook

Ladies! Is Your Husband Driving You Crazy? 

Is the husband you’re living with the man you married? Or has he changed? And not for the better? 
Is he too pooped to participate? 
Does he get an “F” in foreplay? 
Don’t give up. Get even. 
Stop the ugly nagging. 
Put an end to your anger, resentment and frustration. 
Two sisters who managed to survive four husbands decided to do something about it. 
Their creation, HUSBAND TRAINING SCHOOL, is dedicated to saving marriages—and the sanity of wives the world over. 

Kindle  |  Kobo  |  GooglePlay  |  Nook

Three Fed-up Wives—and only Husband Training School stands between them, murder, and a lifetime in prison.

  • Will Trailer is a super-achiever on the baseball diamond but at home? Not so much, according to his gorgeous movie star wife. 
  • Efficiency expert Howard Hopkins has just retired. His wife married him for better and for worse—but not for 24-hours-a-day.
  • Gordo Canholme would procrastinate breathing if he could, but will he ever get the new baby’s room ready? Not without HTS, according to his very pregnant wife.

Ex-Marine Drill Instructor, Robin Aguirre, and her sister, Melodie, run HTS and have been hardened by years of experience. When the three fed-up wives enroll Will, Howard and Gordo as new students, Robin and Melodie are ready for anything the most hapless and hopeless husbands of the 21st Century can dish out.

They think.


Want to Appear in Writer's Digest? Here's how. Have you ever tried to write a book in a month-as part of NaNoWriMo, with a writing group, or just on your own? What was your experience? WD wants to hear from you. Tell them about your write-a-thon! Send your story-along with your full name, city and state to writersdigest@fwmedia.com with "BIAM" in the subject line. Responses may appear in Writer's Digest publications and/or on WritersDigest.com.

Short Romance stories with holiday themes: Crimson Romance Ebooks (A division of F & W, publisher of Writer's Digest Books) is looking for holiday themed shorts (10K-20K words) Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa 2014, New Year's Even 2015, Deadline: August 15th

BLUE EARTH REVIEW FLASH FICTION CONTEST $2 ENTRY FEE. 750 words or less. Limit two stories per entry. First place $500. Second place $250. Third place $100. Winners will be published in the Blue Earth Review, the literary magazine of Minnesota State University. Deadline August 1.

A ROOM OF HER OWN FOUNDATION ORLANDO PRIZES $15 ENTRY FEE. Four Orlando prizes of $1,000 each and publication in The Los Angeles Review are awarded twice yearly for a poem, a short story, a short short story, and an essay by women writers. Deadline July 31.

Mash Stories: No entry fee. $100 prize. Quarterly short story competition aimed at promoting new talent. Flash fiction up to 500 words. Must incorporate the words: monkey, cathedral, relativity. Stories are voted on continuously throughout the submission period. Shortlisted stories are featured on the Mash website, professionally narrated on Mash podcast, and included in their magazine Deadline July 15.

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Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, something for everyone! Some I can't use because I'm PC, but you provided plenty for both sides to use. Excellent list, Ruth!

June 29, 2014 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Vera Soroka said...

Some good stuff here. I now use word 2013 and I do wish that they had a feature that made epub and mobi files. I don't understand why not but any way I use Jutoh to make my epub and mobi files and it works pretty good. I also use Natural Reader to read out loud to me as well as Adobe's read out loud feature. I can make it read one page at a time for me. I also do the read out loud thing reading frontwards and backwards saying the punctuation out loud. You catch a lot when you do that.
I'm just learning photoshop and I'm interested in using word for making covers. I've seen some tutorials on line. The next thing for me to learn is formatting for Createspace. Those tutorials on line are great. Great post!

June 29, 2014 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Thanks, Vera. I have some old epubs that need to be updated. New books, new links, etc. Have you used Jutoh to edit existing pubs? Is there much of a learning curve to Jutoh?

June 29, 2014 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Alex, thanks! I hope one day the frustrating PC/Mac divide will close up. Would be a big plus for everyone!

June 29, 2014 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

Ruth, honestly it's bewildering, even intimidating to see such a complete list. I might as well be scratching with charcoal on a shovel like Lincoln compared to the capabilities you're describing. And if you used the word "FREE" one more time you'd probably have to start charging us.
I'm going to take a look at that book-cover-in-Word dealie right now.

June 29, 2014 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Hi Wm! Actually, the post was almost overwhelming to pull together. There is SO MUCH stuff out there for writers that it's almost unbelievable. And, believe it or more MORE new stuff is coming out all the time. Whew!!! But good for us, for sure. :-)

June 29, 2014 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Another fine post -- thanks. And Ruth, as to your question, I find I get distracted by all the fancypants "new & improved" capabilities of Scrivener & such. I have to admit that I'm from the Luddite School of Writing. I seem perfectly happy just typing away in whatever word processing program is available & doing all the planning/editing/organizing/formatting with the creaky, un-oiled & often awkward tools I've always used. I suppose this could account for the fact that all my novel-length MSs haven't seen the light of day. Maybe someday I'll enter the 20th century (not sure if I'll ever make it to the 21st).

June 29, 2014 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

CS, thanks. Even though I enjoy keeping up with the latest and (supposedly) greatest, I begin all my books by making notes in a paper notebook. At least I haven't gone back to a chisel and stone tablet. lol

June 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger S B James said...

I've been an Evernote die hard until recently it started crashing on my phone, so I'm just about ready to make the switch to OneNote. Sometimes we find it difficult to give up our old tools, like MS Word. I tried Scrivener and I just could not get into it.
Also, great advice about the cloud backup options. I live in an area with frequent summer storms and we run a risk of power loss all the time. I have to back up quit often in order to feel confident that I haven't lost anything important.
(I hope I did not accidentally double post!)

June 29, 2014 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Hi SB! Yikes! Evernote hasn't crashed on me. At least not on my desktop and not yet. Did you get your notes back? I have a ton of stuff in mine. Aaaargh.

I began using Scriv way back when it first started and was much simpler. Still, it's a superb tool and has lots of really useful stuff for writers. Maybe if you decide to try again, you should just start with the ABCs and take it from there.

June 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Vera Soroka said...

Not really. I watched India Drummonds tutorial. She used Jutoh for making her files. Once you have it in Jutoh, you can make the changes right there on Jutoh. That's what I like about it.

June 29, 2014 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

Excellent, excellent list of tools. Thanks so much for pulling this together. Scrivener is on my to-do list, but it seems to be a learning curve for me. I've tried it once or twice, did not find it intuitive. But, I keep hearing people raving about it, so I assume there's something there.

June 29, 2014 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I had no idea the list was so long. I hate learning how to use new things so as long as editors prefer Word, I'm staying with it. I sat in on a short intro to Scrivener. I'm sure I would use it if I wrote nonfiction.

June 29, 2014 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Judith—Thank *you!* Scriv is a learning curve but it's actually quite intuitive once you get the hang of it. Start with the simple, word processor function and take it from there, step by step. Not a big deal if you do it that way.

June 29, 2014 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Susan, If you hate learning new stuff and if Word does what you need it to do, there's no reason whatever to change. Nothing wrong with tried and true!

June 29, 2014 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Vera, thanks! I need to give Jutoh a try. :-)

June 29, 2014 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Prue Batten said...

Ah, the back up. Sigh. I was always guilty of forgetting until the day I lost five full chapters in a glitch. The only copy was the original handwritten draft lying in 3 different rubbish tins in 3 different locations and covered in foodscraps. Did I retrieve them? Too right! I dived right in and pulled them out, lay them in the sun to dry off and spent days transposing back to the computer with the window open to lessen the smell.
Since then I've acquired drop-box and I also send an attachment to my email and my kindle and I back up on an external hard drive and a USB. And as I write in pen on paper in the first instance, I save those writing pads until the book is well and truly published. Overkill? Probably, but I've never been one to do things by halves. Not even losing chapters...

June 29, 2014 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Prue, You're a woman after my own heart. Too many back ups are never enough! :-)

June 29, 2014 at 4:28 PM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Wonderful, Ruth. So much info I'm gonna have to go back and read it again, then again, and bookmark it so I never, ever lose it. Another winner. Love it. :) Paul

June 29, 2014 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger florence cronin said...

Ruth, what can we say after we say THANK YOU VERY MUCH. This is a helpful post with lots of great info and apps for all of us. I already signed up for SkyDrive :)

June 29, 2014 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Shah Wharton said...

Superb information here Ruth. Thanks so much. I have several Tabs open ready for further exploration! :) I've had Scrivener for some time and it's like Pandora's Box - seems there's no end to it's uses, and I'm only ever on the tip of the iceberg. Since relying on it for quickly outlining and writing ghostwriting projects, all requiring a very quick turnaround, I've been able to design an indispensable Romance Template, including parts and research. This saves so much time. Highly recommended. :)


June 30, 2014 at 1:12 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Hi, Paul! Thanks. Hope you find a few apps to add to your arsenal! :-)

June 30, 2014 at 3:49 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Hi Florence! Yep. Backup, backup, backup! Sometimes it pays to be paranoid. ;-)

June 30, 2014 at 3:49 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Shah—Thank you! I completely agree about Scriv. Love your idea about a Romance Template. I write books in Scriv but also blog posts, blurbs, notes for future ideas, research, to dos. The uses are endless!

June 30, 2014 at 3:55 AM  
Blogger Dr John Yeoman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 1, 2014 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Dr John Yeoman said...

A great article as always, Anne. Three points:

I'm a Scrivener addict but, if truth be said, it's not as good a word processor as Word. When you cut and paste in Scrivener you have to close up the gaps. In Word, it's automatic. That's a big problem when you do a lot of editing.

Hemingway looks fun, but it's not ready to roll yet. Moreover, the examples it gave of 'bad' writing were actually excellent.As a pro copy editor, I wouldn't have chided them.

ProWriting Aid is superb but folk might also check out AutoCrit. It comes with a built-in benefit: its founder Nina, who's always personally available to help subscribers with individual passages or questions.

July 1, 2014 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

What a great list! I looooove Apple Pages. None of the pesky auto formatting that Word is notorious for. I didn't care for Scrivener, because I spent too much time trying to figure it out. Those who use it swear by it, though, so maybe one day??

July 1, 2014 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Thank you both for that! I had to lie down after reading, but now I am inspired. I also didn't know I could use drop box for more than videos and pictures. Okay, I am of 'a certain age,' and again, thank you.

July 2, 2014 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

John—Thanks for taking the time to comment and for your suggestions & feed back. AutoCrit sounds well worth checking out.

Not sure what you mean by "gaps" in Scriv. I use paste & match style and have no problem.

July 2, 2014 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Julie—Thank you! Do you use the "new" Apple Pages? Makes sense that it would make files that work well with iBooks.

The trick to Scriv (IME) is to go slow & take it step by step. At a certain point it begins to make sense & all of a sudden you'll "get it." At least that what's happened to me.

July 2, 2014 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Thank you, Victoria, and glad to hear that, after a bit of a lie-down, you're inspired! Actually, you can put just about anything in Drop Box. (Maybe not the kitchen sink. lol)

July 2, 2014 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Chrys Fey said...

This post has a wealth of information in it. I'm saving it for later, because I have a feeling I'll be coming back to it. And thank you for sharing the list of opportunities as well. :) (I found your blog through Susan's IWSG post, and I am now following your blog.) Take care!

July 2, 2014 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

I use an old version of Word on my old XP computer and I love it a thousand times better than Word '13 that I have on my new one.

However, here is something to remember if you're self-pubbing e-books: It's quite possible that Smashwords (and possibly Kindle) doesn't accept the .docx format. A relative of mine is having problems trying to upload his book to Smashwords and after talking about it, it's quite possible that the .docx formatting contained within his book is causing problems.

Father Nature's Corner

July 2, 2014 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

G.B.—Thanks for bringing up your relative's frustration. Cyber glitches and/or eccentricities abound. I don't know about .docx and SW, but perhaps a Google search will turn up the answer.

July 3, 2014 at 4:38 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Thanks, Chrys. Anne and I are delighted to meet you and we appreciate Susan's help in spreading the word! :-)

July 3, 2014 at 4:40 AM  
Blogger Amy Adams said...

Thanks for this great post!
To enrich the marketing strategies for authors, in addition to what it is mentioned here, I’d like to include the following which I could test with good results:

1. Take advantage of the launch of a new site thebooksmachine.com to give your work a shock of publicity tools and also obtain honest reviews on the platform where you have published your books. The platform has a paid membership but they are offering free memberships for a limited time. I can't guarantee that they'll still be available so you should try to take advantage while it lasts.
2. Fill in your author information on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc. It's really important that we connect to the reader, especially when they don't know us.
3. Regularly edit and improve the description of your book on those online stores. The description doesn't just tell what your book is about IT'S ALSO THE READER'S FIRST IMPRESSION. A reader judges your writing based on your description. It's important not only to inform the reader, you have to seduce them.
4. Create visual support for your book through a website so that when you post on social media you have a visual connection. If you can't afford the investment in a professional web page, create a blog. There are tons of tutorials.

Well friends, that's my mini summary of what I have experienced first-hand.
I'm already putting it into practice daily with my book and I'm seeing my sales increase daily.

Stay well,
Avid reader on my Kindle

July 23, 2014 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Ambra Celeste said...

Anne, I stumbled across your blog after reading your comment on "How to get influencers to promote your content for free". As I was reading those tips I thought that they were clever tips...but they did not resonate with me. Using templates claiming to be "BIG FAN" it is all too fake. So I absolutely agree with your comment. I am not an influencer but if I was, I would not appreciate being approached that way.

In regards to your vanity presses post...yes it is very true indeed. Their 'services are priced way over market value.' They can be very pushy as well. They tried to persuade me to purchase a pricey marketing package by suggesting me to borrow money from family and friends or put it on a credit card. I was like 'WHAT?' I refused of course and I did feel that these publishers make money FROM writers not NOT FOR the writers. Your thoughts and insight matched everything I felt and thought.

July 26, 2014 at 1:01 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Ambra--This is actually a post by my blog partner, Ruth Harris. I post here two or three times a month. (Next post from me will be August 3rd)

I'm glad you agree that being phony with people isn't the best policy!

Vanity presses get bolder all the time. But that gets a prize: telling people to put their overpriced services on your credit card or hit up your friends--for money they know you will never get back. They really are slimy. Spread the word if you see any newbies being sucked in by their scammy pitches.

July 26, 2014 at 9:49 AM  

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