TBOWT 035 – Top Ten Cool Tools for Writers

by Peggy on February 7, 2014


TBOWT 035 – Top Ten Cool Tools for Writers

February 5, 2014

Today’s episode features ten cool tools for writers. They each do different things but each, in their own way makes a writer’s life easier, makes our manuscripts safer , and helps us do more with the precious little time we have when we aren’t writing.

They are listed in no particular order. You may not use them all, but I encourage you to make your own evaluation. I use most of them, and many of them I use every day. Here is the list with a live link for each. Enjoy.

  1. 2014 Guide to Self-Publishing – The guide is edited by Robert Brewer and published by F&W Media, the folks who bring us Writer’s Digest magazine and the annual Writer’s Market series. The 2014 Guide to Self-Publishing is the first publishing guide aimed strictly at the expanding indie author and self-publishing market. Published annually, the guide is full of great information for indie authors. .I am proud and happy to be a contributing writer in the 2014 Guide and will also be contributing again in 2015. It is a valuable resource for any indie author or for a traditionally published author thinking about navigating the waters of self-publishing.

Here are some the highlights:

  • Editors
  • Graphic designers
  • POD companies
  • E-book companies
  • Writer’s conferences
  • Writer’s and industry organizations and associations
  • Pay rate charts

There are also several interviews with successful indie authors. This book should be on your bookshelf, between your Chicago Manual of Style and Webster’s Dictionary.

ISBN: 978-1-59963-727-3   $29.95



  1. http://udemy.com (pronounced u de’ me) – Udemy.com is a website filled with online, interactive tutorials on a myriad of topics. With hundreds of online courses, Udemy can help develop your “intellectual capital”. Want to learn social media? Udemy has dozens of classes on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Want to learn how to build a website with WordPress? Udemy.com has several courses.

Courses range in price for twenty-something to over $300. The average course is around $50. The average course length (based on my experience) is 10 to 21 individual lessons and a total length of three to nineteen hours recordings. Most instructors offer lifetime access to each course that you purchase. By the way, if you are interested in supplementing your income and you want to develop a course to sell on Udemy there is a course on how to make a course! Instructors are paid seventy percent of the enrollment fee and some instructors are making six figure incomes!

  1. http://Carbonite.com – I love this tool. I have been a Carbonite user for over three years now and I have had to use carbonite two times in three years to recover from a hard drive crash on two different laptops. Carbonite is easy to install. Once installed and setup it will automatically back up your hard drive daily. (You tell Carbonite which directories you want to backup.) Restoring after a crash is easy and customer support is available if you need it.

The cost of Carbonite … $89 dollars per year … the value of recovering your manuscript after a hard drive crash … PRICELESS!

http://Dropbox.com – Dropbox is an amazing application that I use every day. If you are sharing, files with someone, or you have to transfer files that are too large for your Gmail account then Dropbox is for you. It’s easy to use with tutorials on the site. Dropbox is a cloud-based application. They offer both free and paid service. The free version has limited storage capacity. When you install Dropbox, it will appear as a folder on your local hard drive called “Dropbox.” To use Dropbox as a cloud-based backup system for your manuscripts you only have to save your manuscript to the Dropbox folder.

With Dropbox, you can give someone access to folders or to individual files by sending the person a link to your folder or file located in Dropbox. Google Drive is an alternative to Dropbox.

  1. Google Drive – Google Drive works like Dropbox. It is free and is a great platform for sharing documents or working collaboratively with other writers, with editors or graphic designers. If you are a children’s author and have large interior book files with loads of graphics, Dropbox and Google Drive are great solutions for sharing large files.

http://Evernote.com – Evernote is a powerful, free program for anyone who needs to keep track of lists, websites, research, web pages and much more. I use less than ten percent of the capabilities of Evernote and still I use it every day. With Evernote you create folders or “notebooks” Within each notebook you can compile lists, information, web links or websites URLs. Evernote runs on smart phones, laptops, iPads, tablets or PCs. When I am traveling, I may add an item to a list in one of my notebooks in Evernote by opening the app on my laptop before I leave home. When I get in the car I can access that item on my cellphone, or add additional items. When I get to the hotel, I can fire up my laptop and I will see the entire list including the new items. Evernote gives me portability, convenience and accessibility across multiple devices. What more could you ask for? It does much more than I have outlined here but I bet if you want to you could find a udemy.com course on Evernote!

  1. http://godaddy.com – GoDaddy. com is a web-hosting site. Although you can use GoDaddy.com for template websites, I don’t recommend them for that. What they do excel at is purchasing domain names or URLs. The cost is under $20 per domain name and they make it easy to see if the URL is  availability.  Once you purchase the URL GoDaddy makes it easy to “point” the domain name to a different server when you do decide to create a website.

http://cueprompter.com. If you are thinking about making audio or visual recordings and want to work from a script, cuepromter.com is a nice solution. You can download the application on your PC then upload your script into cueprompter and it acts like a teleprompter. You can make your text larger, and control the speed of the scroll as you read your script.

http://Jing.com – Created by Tech Smith, a great software company and the same people who brought us SnagIt. Jing costs $15 per year. I use it primarily for screen capture. The Dropbox screen capture (see above) was done with Jing. You can also record short screencasts with Jing. A screencast is a short video that captures screen movements on your computer as you talk in the background.

http://prezi.com – Presentation software similar to Microsofts’ Power Point. Prezi differs from Power Point presentation software in a significant way. Prezi tells a story. In Prezi presentations, you begin with a large graphic that represents your “story.” Subsequent slides drill down into parts of that graphic to give the details of the story. The best way to see the difference and uniqueness of Prezi is with a video. Click the link below to see a demo of Prezi:


 The Business of Writing International Summit

Coming August 1-2, 2014

Self-Publishing POD and Kindle Publishing

Coming July 31, 2014.

The Summit

We would love to have you join us at the 2014 Summit on August 1-2 and for the Self-Publishing (Kindle and CreateSpace publishing) workshop held July 31. Here is the link:


Discounts available if you attend both the Self-Publishing workshop

 and the Summit.


Register now and take advantage of the early bird discount

We love to hear your comments, please  

E-mail us at

peggy@tbowt.com or larry@tbowt.com

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Morton February 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Thanks for all the great info.
I want to publish children’s books but how do I find an illustrator, not to mention working with, paying them, and are online publishing costs the same…


Peggy June 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Hi Mary, Finding illustrators can be difficult. You can email me at peggy@tbowt.com and I can give you some names and some places to start. It is best to do a work-for-hire contract when using an illustrator. I have that works best.


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