15 Must-Have Tools for Authors Plus Bonus Downloads

by | Nov 28, 2023 | Being in Business as an Author

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I love tools for authors that make the book marketing journey easier, not more complicated (and those are out there!) and though I’ve done similar lists before, I feel like these resources always keep growing and expanding, which is great!

This year’s list is a mix of great folks to follow, but also some awesome tools to check out, some checklists, and even a link to our free book marketing planner to help kick the new year off right.

If I missed a resource or tool that you love, please let me know in the comments!

Publishing Industry Experts

1. Jane Friedman – The Strategic Publishing Maven

Jane Friedman’s blog is a goldmine of publishing insights and marketing brilliance. Delving into the fusion of publishing strategies and marketing acumen, her expertise shines through. Don’t miss out on her classes, and her subscription-based HotSheet newsletter is an invaluable resource, offering a treasure trove of industry news, emerging marketing trends, and other pearls of wisdom for discerning book marketers.

2. Anne R Allen – The Benevolent Publishing Guide

Anne R Allen’s contributions to the literary world are immeasurable. Recognized as one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers, Anne updates her blog weekly and includes insightful contributions from former Big Six editor, Ruth Harris. Recommending Anne’s blog is like opening a door to a world of literary generosity.

3. IBPA – Your Gateway to Independent Publishing Success

As a long-time Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) member, I can attest to its unparalleled value for authors and publishers. This organization is a treasure trove for indie authors, offering monthly webinars, informative e-newsletters, and a top-notch print magazine, all bundled in a remarkably affordable yearly membership fee.

4. ALLI – Elevating Independent Authorship

The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLI) is a powerhouse for authors seeking excellence. With a plethora of resources, including a newsletter, an engaging and informative blog, webinars, and a highly recommended writers conference, ALLI simplifies your authorial journey. Their vetted vendors and book promotion information add an extra layer of trust.

5. Midwest Book Review – Nurturing the Literary Landscape

Midwest Book Review not only provides invaluable book review services but also houses an exceptional newsletter. Bookmark their site as a strategic move in your marketing endeavors. For those hungry for more, explore additional resources for savvy book marketers on their website.

6. Helping Writers Become Authors – The Mentor’s Haven

K.M. Weiland, a cherished mentor, shares a wealth of information on her site. Having collaborated with her multiple times, we can vouch for the depth of her insights. Recognized by Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers, her blog is a guiding light for authors navigating the intricate path of writing and publishing.

Book Marketing Tools for Authors

7. Neil Patel – My All-Star SEO Guy

Geek alert! We love all of Neil’s stuff and his blog is a must-read if you’re eager to get more eyes to your website and sell more books!

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about keywords, or website SEO, this is our go-to guy for all things nerdy. His site is free, informative, and his newsletter is packed with easy ways to increase your overall visibility on the web. You do not have to be an expert to follow this guy or implement his tips. Nerd-adjacent authors welcome!

8. BookFunnel

I’ve used BookFunnel for years and it’s a great service! The site simplifies the process of delivering ebooks to readers and managing advanced reader copies (ARCs). It can also “lock” books so they can’t be forwarded! It’s a great way to help authors distribute books securely and build a dedicated reader community.

9. ChatGPT

This wouldn’t be a post about author resources without a nod to AI – and ChatGPT has certainly become the topic of many conversations this year!

I use ChatGPT for a variety of things, including article idea prompts for the blog, descriptions for our podcast, and ideas lists for future blog posts. It’s a fantastic brainstorming tool. We’ve done a few shows on ChatGPT so definitely pull them up on our podcast!

10. Otter.ai

Sometimes you just need a good transcription service but good transcribing can be wonky. We’ve tried it for our podcast before with less-than-stellar results. Enter Otter.ai to save the day, I like this site because the accuracy of the transcription far exceeds any other site I’ve used. There’s a free version and a paid version, but even on the free version I found so much flexibility I’ve already used it a bunch to transcribe our podcasts as well as author interviews we’ve done with some of the awesome folks we work with!

11. Amazon Author Central

Maybe this was a bit unexpected for a post on resources, but I am constantly amazed at how many authors forget to use this valuable and free resource. Though Author Central has undergone some changes, it’s still a valuable tool. If you haven’t grabbed your page and added some enhancements, now is a great time to do so.

12. BookBub

When authors think of Bookbub, they often think of their daily email blast – which is great and if you can get included in this, it’s a terrific win for any author. But there’s so much more to explore at Bookbub, like grabbing your (free) author profile and running ads in their newsletters. Not the daily deal ones (which can be expensive) but their lesser-known ads that run at the bottom of the daily deal briefs. It’s a great way to bring more attention to your book as these can be delivered to your exact core audience. So if you’re doing a discount promo and didn’t get a daily deal (or don’t have a budget for one) this is a fantastic alternative. Oh, and don’t forget your author profile, which is another great way to network with readers, bloggers, and influencers!

13. Image and Design Sites

There’s a lot of emphasis on imagery and video these days and if you’re like me, creating images can be a real chore. I don’t really have a great visual eye for image creation, which is why I love sites like Canva and Bookbrush. They literally do all the work for you and with pro memberships, you can crank out hundreds of images on Bookbrush that you can use on social media, and a pro membership on Canva lets you do everything from create stunning social media images and videos (even short book trailers) to book covers. Both sites are absolutely worth the investment!

14. Submitting to Book Awards

I get this question a lot: “Which book awards should I submit my book to?” And it’s a great question but not always an easy answer. There’s always so much confusing information out there it’s hard to keep track of which ones are legit, vs. which ones aren’t which is why I love that ALLi created this list (and keeps it constantly updated). They’ve really taken all the guesswork out of this process by creating this list of vetted book awards which includes their fees and links to submit your book!

15. Taming the Email Beast with Sanebox

I’ve used Sanebox for years and love it so much. In short, it’s an email filter on steroids. I use it to keep my inbox clean by forwarding messages to my future self. For example, if there’s something I need to remind myself to do, or a link to check, instead of adding that to my to-do list, I can forward the email using a specific date. Sanebox also has a newsletter filter (super helpful if you get a lot of newsletter content). There’s also an inbox called “blackhole” where you can dump stuff you don’t want to see.

Free Downloads and Quizzes

We have a plethora of links, quizzes, and cool free stuff like our monthly book marketing planner and our blog outreach tracker, you’ll be geared up and ready to meet your new year’s book promotion goals in no time!

I hope these resources are helpful for you and again, if I’ve missed any let me know in the comments!

Resources and Free Downloads

Proven strategies to increase sales potential on Amazon.

Amazon category changes you need to know about.

Update on how the Amazon marketing machine is changing, AGAIN.

The ultimate guide to crafting an irresistible book pitch.

How to identify and avoid publishing scams.

Check out all the episodes of our book promotion podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

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