Mark Twain said, “Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”
Because that’s harder than it sounds, you need all the help you can get writing that next great novel.
Technology gives you advantages that Twain never had. But what are the best tools for novelists? Here are five every fiction author should be using — which one can you incorporate into your process today?
2 writing tools
Let’s start with two tools for writing.
Do you do online research? Or do you struggle to find book-related notes, files, and images on your computer? Evernote will change your life (voice of experience talking here . . . ).
The software uses “notebooks” to organize and curate all types of content you assign to each notebook – files, photos, URLs, e-mail messages, and so on. Clip web articles, capture handwritten notes, and snap photos to keep the physical and digital details of your book with you at all times. When I use it to write a book, I create a notebook for each chapter and file each chapter’s research accordingly.
I love that Evernote can run on multiple platforms and devices large and small. The program syncs content among all devices linked to your account so that you’re current no matter which device you’re using at the moment. A basic account is free.
This is genius. Just genius. It’s the software I wish I had created.
As some of you know, I’m big on goal-setting. This web-based software lets you set — and keep! — writing goals. WordKeeper lets you set daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly writing goals and see your progress. As you see what’s realistic for your time and schedule, adjust your goals accordingly.
Need some encouragement? Connect with your friends on WordKeeper and let them cheer you on as you approach the finish line.
Your WordKeeper home page makes it easy for you to track your progress toward goals by displaying graphs of your writing by project and over time.
3 promotion tools
You probably know by now that no matter which publishing model you use, you are responsible for marketing, promoting, and publicizing your book. Here are three tools that are especially helpful to fiction authors, who often use different tactics from their nonfiction colleagues.
Lots of novelists like to run book contests, and this fun tool makes the process a lot easier. Rafflecopter is a free service that lets you customize and embed an entry form anywhere HTML is accepted, whether that’s on your blog, Facebook page, or another social network. Site visitors will use it to perform tasks that get them entered into your contest.
Follow the instructions to customize your Rafflecopter widget and place it where you want it. During the set-up process, you provide the promotion details and add the prize. Rafflecopter gives you the HTML code you need to copy and paste into your site. Then you start collecting entries — it’s that easy. The system will even pick a winner for you.
The best way to understand how it works – and how you can use it for a book contest – is to see it in action. The Rafflecopter blog offers a helpful video demonstration.
Competwition creates and supports Twitter contests. Just log-in to the site with your Twitter account, follow the instructions for creating your competition, and let Competwition supplement your own promotion efforts by promoting it to its (currently) more than 61,000 followers.
Once Competwition users enter your contest, they will automatically follow you on Twitter and tweet the message you chose when you set up your contest. It’s hard to believe there’s no charge, isn’t it?
Coming up with blog post topics can be a challenge for any blogger. This cool tool provides quick and easy assistance.
Just enter three nouns into the form, select “give me blog topics,” and tweak the resulting list of five topics so they’re useful to you and your readers.
Will it always create just the right topics for your blog? No. But it’s a good start. And it’s free.
What’s your favorite tool for novelists? Please share it by commenting.
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