Indie authors often forget that aside from writing books, they are also running a business. Even the best indie author will fail to make money if they don’t view themselves as a business owner too. The thought of running a small business on top of writing books can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are tools that can make the process much easier. In this post we will talk about all of the different tools indie authors need to effectively run their business.
- Laptop: Gone are the days of pen and paper or a typewriter, every writer needs a reliable laptop. Your laptop will be your primary tool for writing and running your business.
- Cell Phone: A cell phone nowadays is a computer that fits in your pocket. While on the go you can use it to take notes, send emails, engage on social media and much more.
- Kindle: If you want to be a good writer, you must be an avid reader. The Kindle allows you to have an entire library that fits in your backpack. With a battery that last for months at a time, the Kindle is the perfect device for all authors.
- Noise Cancelling Headphones: We live in a world full of distractions. Cancel them out with a pair of noise canceling headphones. I invested in a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones a few years ago and it changed my life. Ditch the $30 ear buds and invest in a pair of headphones that will give you the ability to write in peace.
- Dragon: Writing an entire novel by hand seems impossible and typing one isn’t much easier. Dragon turns your speech into text. This is a great tool for writing on the go and lengthening your original drafts. Once you have a solid working draft you can double back and improve it.
- Ulysses: You are going to love this simple writing tool. With Ulysses you can write without distractions. Their simple interface allows you to focus on writing your book, but has powerful features to make it easy to publish your book in multiple formats when you are ready.
- Scrivener: Not a fan of Ulysses? This paid application has you covered. Whether you need a distraction free writing space or help formatting and editing your content, Scrivener is your one-stop shop.
- Hemingway: One of my personal favorite tools is Hemingway. This tool highlights long, complex sentences and common errors. If your sentence needs revision, Hemingway will automatically highlight it
Social Media ToolsSocial media is a powerful tool for indie authors. If you aren’t already active on social media, stop right now and go create an account. A few of the best social networks for authors are Facebook and Twitter. When used properly, social media can help you find more readers for your book, learn what type of books readers will want to read and help you find experts to help improve your books. The reason most authors struggle to leverage social media is that it requires a lot of work. Below are several tools that can help automate many of the time consuming social media tasks.
- Buffer: This social media tools main focus is to make it easy to schedule all of your posts ahead of time. All you have to do is add posts to your Buffer queue and tell Buffer how often you want to post. The beauty of Buffer is that it is extremely easy-to-use and will save you a lot of time.
- eClincher: Much like Buffer, eClincher provides you with a simple way to schedule your social media content ahead of time. If you need more functionality such as analytics, a unified social media inbox and built-in design tools, then eClincher is the tool for you.
- Meet Edgar: This tool is relatively new, but extremely powerful if you have a blog. Meet Edgar allows you to add all of your evergreen content to a library that will be posted automatically. Unlike Buffer, Meet Edgar will continue to repost your content until you tell it to stop. This tool is a perfect way to continue sharing content that will continue to be valuable indefinitely.
- Feedly: Simply tell Feedly what you are interested in and it will begin finding content for you. This tool integrates with Buffer and eClincher, which makes finding and sharing content simple.
- Canva: Create stunning custom images to share on social media with Canva. I use this tool to create quote images, blog images and much more.
Website ToolsYour website is a crucial part of your indie author business. It is where you can tell readers more about yourself, promote your books and sell eBooks. The tools below will make it easy for you to set up a website and get the most out of it.
- Wordpress: Did you know that 25% of websites worldwide are built using Wordpress? One of the main reasons Wordpress is so popular is that it is easy to use and extremely customizable.
- EditionGuard: Want to sell eBooks directly from your website? EditionGuard allows you to do just that. With fixed rates and Adobe DRM protection, authors can easily sell their eBooks and keep more of the profit.
- Shopify: This eCommerce tool allows you to quickly set up an online store and begin selling your eBooks. Shopify supports turnkey integrations, such as EditionGuard, that allow you to start selling eBooks immediately.
- Magento: If you are looking for an alternative to Shopify, give Magento a try. Much like Shopify, it makes it easy for indie authors to set up an online store to sell their books.
- Google Analytics: Anyone that has a website should use this tool. It is completely free and allows you to track every aspect of your website including: website traffic, demographics of your visitors, conversion rates and much more.
- PayPal: If you are selling your books on your website, Paypal is one of the easiest ways to accept payments. This widely adopted tool is trusted by millions of people worldwide.
- QuickBooks: Remember you are running a business. QuickBooks makes it easy for you to manage your business’s financials.
- Google Drive: All writers should be using Google Drive. This cloud based service is free and allows you to access your work from any device. Even better, it allows you to easily share documents with editors, publishers, etc. Store your notes, business information, rough drafts and more on Google Drive for free.
- Dropbox: Much like Google Drive, Dropbox is all about the convenience of access from any device and the ease of sharing.
Book Promotion Tools
- Facebook Advertising: With over 1.7 billion active users, any author will be able to find interested readers on Facebook. Facebook’s advertising platform allows you to precisely target only the people who will be most likely to purchase your book.
- Twitter Advertising: Facebook may have more active users, but you shouldn’t underestimate Twitter. Authors and readers are extremely active on this social network and targeting them with Twitter Ads can sometimes be easier than on Facebook.
- BookBub: Attract thousands of new readers with BookBub. This tool gives authors exposure to millions of potential readers through their BookBub Partner program.
- Your Blog: All authors should have a blog on their website. A blog is one of the most proven ways to attract visitors to your website and it only costs you time. Focus on creating content that will attract people that would also be interested in buying and reading your books.