From Category: Business, Marketing, and Technical Resources
Poet and illustrator Koss, a winner of our Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest, is also an accomplished graphic designer who creates logos and websites for writers. See examples of her site designs here, here, and here (logo and website). She also redesigned the Ventura County Poetry Project site and managed their social media.
Libby is an app for smartphones and tablets, which lets you search and borrow e-books and audio books from any participating library where you have a membership card. You can also send the borrowed e-books to your Kindle.
The Digital Reader is a news and tech blog about publishing, indie authors, e-books, and e-readers. This 2018 post compiles links to reputable free online courses where authors can learn about writing, design, marketing, and public speaking.
The online literary magazine Ardor maintains this annually updated list of over 100 literary agents and their preferred genres, with links to their websites.
Self-publish your own magazine through MagCloud. Simply upload a PDF of your issue and MagCloud will handle printing, mailing, and subscription management. Small press runs are no problem here. Participation is limited while the site is still in beta-testing.
Manuscript Wish List is an online database of agents and editors, with information on what they're currently seeking. The site also has a podcast and blog with craft articles.
Narrative Magazine, a well-regarded online journal of creative writing, maintains this directory with links to established agents in many genres. The site also includes advice about pitching your book.
Essential points of online etiquette, from marketing and technology expert Judith Kallos. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional writer, courteous, typo-free contest submissions, query letters and weblog entries can make all the difference.
New Play Exchange is a site for playwrights, lyricists, composers, librettists, devising artists, adapters, and translators to read and share scripts. Find your next collaborator or dramatic work to produce at your arts organization, and network with other creators in your genre. Annual fees are just $12 for early-career members and $18 for professionals.
NoiseTrade Books helps authors and publishers build their email lists by giving away content in exchange for email addresses and postal codes. Thousands of book lovers visit NoiseTrade Books every day to discover great new books. Authors get email addresses and postal codes for each person who downloads their content. NoiseTrade periodically hosts contests to select the books to feature as Primary Selections in their email newsletter and homepage. Winners are chosen in three categories: fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novel/poetry. See website for deadlines and rules.
NY Book Editors matches authors with experienced publishing professionals for manuscript critiques, from developmental to line editing. Initial fee is refundable if author is not satisfied with sample critique. Their blog features articles about the basics of writing and publishing.
oTranscribe is a free web app that makes it easy to transcribe recorded interviews, readings, and lectures. The finished product, with interactive timestamps, can be exported to Google Docs, plain text, or word-processing markdown format.
Convert your word-processed documents into PDF or HTML format with this free online service. Works for both Windows and Mac documents. Writers can use this service to create e-books or HTML newsletters featuring their work.
Penmob aims to create a virtual writing workshop experience by acting as a clearinghouse to match freelance editors with writers of short prose and poetry. Writers post their work on the site to solicit feedback, and editors choose the projects that interest them, charging standard industry rates of 3-6 cents per word. Penmob takes a 20% matchmaking cut.
Pinpoint is a software tool from Google Journalist Studio that makes your research documents easily searchable. Upload PDFs, audio files, images, emails, and other source materials to create a digital archive that you can keyword-search, transcribe, and share with your collaborators and fact-checkers. This tool would be useful for scholars, journalists, and nonfiction book authors.
Author services at ProofreadingServices.com include manuscript critiques, developmental edits, line edits and proofreading, e-book formatting, and book cover design. Pricing is transparent and affordable. Affiliated with QueryLetter.com.
Pub Rants is a blog where agents from Nelson Literary Agency offer advice on improving your manuscript and query letter, finding and evaluating an agent, and marketing various genres.
PublishDrive's free converter tool will change your MS Word documents into ePub or Kindle mobi files (two of the most popular e-book formats). Note that conversion of complicated publications is not guaranteed (magazines, textbooks, books with many pictures or too long and wide tables). Files must use Latin characters only, no foreign-language alphabets.
Publishers Marketplace is an industry news website that can help authors connect with agents and editors. Their newsfeed tracks publishing deals, agents, editors, submission calls and more. Full membership is $25/month. If this is out of your price range, there is also a free, shorter daily email newsletter called Publishers Lunch.
Diana Urban, industry marketing manager at the self-publishing company BookBub, compiled this list of 48+ reputable vendors for every stage of book creation and marketing. Categories include developmental and copy editing, graphic design, distribution for self-published books, marketing, publishing industry news, authors' associations, and website building tools. Links are current as of 2019.
The website of Publishing Trends offers a weekly roundup of top stories from the publishing world, plus monthly updates on agents' and editors' job changes.
This resource portal from Purdue University in Indiana features basic exercises to learn grammar, punctuation, spelling, APA and MLA citation styles, and composing resumes and business letters.
Purple Planet Music is an online collection of background music clips in various styles, written and performed by Chris Martyn and Geoff Harvey. The site is easy to search for the musical mood that you need for your book trailer. There are free and paid tiers, depending on the audio quality you need and how widely you plan to broadcast the music.
At the blog Query Shark, literary agent Janet Reid posts and critiques selected query letters that readers submit to her, as a teaching tool for writing a successful manuscript pitch.
The publishing industry professionals at QueryLetter.com will write a query letter, synopsis, and outline to pitch your novel manuscript to agents and publishers. Fees are on a sliding scale based on the length of the book, e.g. $379 for a manuscript of 80-120K words (as of 2020). You can also pay to have them generate a list of agents and publishers to target, but we at Winning Writers recommend doing your own research instead.
Available in both free and paid premium versions, QueryTracker features a searchable database of 1,500 literary agents and a record-keeping system for organizing your queries.
R.R. Bowker is the authorized ISBN Agency in the United States, responsible for assigning ISBNs as well as providing information and advice on the uses of the ISBN system to publishers and the publishing industry in general. (An ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, is a 10-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally.) Their website includes instructions for publishers or self-published authors to obtain an ISBN for their titles.
Bensound offers a wide variety of short instrumental music tracks in styles such as acoustic, electronic, pop, jazz, and world music. The clips are free to use as background for YouTube and social media videos, such as book trailers. More extensive broadcast uses require a paid license.
Tucker Max is the co-founder of Scribe Media (formerly Book in a Box), a writing coach and ghostwriting service for business professionals. In this article from their website, he explains the metrics behind newspapers' and online retailers' bestseller lists, and the reasons why getting on the list is not a cost-effective goal for most authors.
Scribendi provides a wide variety of proofreading and copyediting services for literary manuscripts, personal and business documents, and academic writing. Pricing is per word. They can also help write a query letter, synopsis, and outline for authors of fiction and nonfiction books who are shopping their manuscripts to agents. Specialty services include religious editing and proofreading for hymns, sermons, inspirational blog posts, and academic theological works.
This review posted in November 2012 on the tech site GigaOM evaluates three apps for Mac computers that writers can use to create e-books: Apple's Pages, Adobe Indesign, and Scrivener.
An alternative to in-person trips to the post office, Send Mail From Desk allows customers to send documents, letters, and invoices via FedEx Standard Overnight, USPS Priority, Express & First Class Mail, all from your computer dashboard.
This website helps authors, agents, and publishers convert their books into a variety of popular e-book formats and sell them on the Smashwords site. Membership is free; Smashwords takes a percentage of net sales proceeds.
Web Design Relief is a site with articles on social media marketing, site design, and building your author platform online. This article from 2017 suggests 55 popular writing-related hashtags that can boost your profile on social media and give you entry into useful conversations and communities. The article includes examples of how to use them effectively.
Blogger and social media expert Mike Wallagher created this site to give writers a simple step-by-step introduction to creating their web presence. Topics include choosing a blogging platform, the pros and cons of free versus paid hosting, promoting your blog on Twitter, search engine optimization and digital marketing.
This online submissions manager is used by a growing number of contests and journals. You can also use it to manage resumes and job postings.
Launching in 2020, Submittable's Universal Submission Tracker is a new record-keeping feature available to anyone with an account at their online submissions platform. The designers say: "In addition to tracking the progress of submissions made using Submittable, you can now add submission details for any opportunity made outside of our platform, including the status, submission date and title, name of the organization reviewing your work, and internal notes specific to that submission."
Substack is an easy-to-use platform to create free or paid-subscription email newsletters. Good for sending out short articles, poems, or blog posts.
TCK Publishing is an independent publishing company specializing in digital marketing. Founder Tom Corson-Knowles teaches online training courses in self-publishing and book promotion. This list compiles over 100 basic tools to write, design, and market your book.
This list ranks the top sites that advertise discounted Kindle e-books to consumers, based on how much traffic they get. The article also includes a link to TCK's companion piece about sites that list free e-books.
This 2018 article from the product review website TechRadar recommends various free programs to convert text to audio files.
By Jane Friedman. The expert publishing blogger teaches writers about the economics of their industry in this book from the University of Chicago Press. The book is intended to help writers craft a realistic plan for earning money from their work.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of five how-to books for writers, including 'The Frugal Book Promoter', has condensed her expertise into 'The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your Book in 20 Minutes'. Check out other useful resources on her website.
In this 2016 post from his blog Dying Words, a resource for mystery and thriller authors, crime novelist Garry Rodgers interviews nine best-selling indie and self-published writers about the strategies that took their book sales to the next level. Some common themes: build a mailing list, focus on your niche, and keep putting out new titles that are well-written and professionally edited.
A project of Wildbound PR, TrailerShelf is a curated site that features book trailers in a variety of genres including literature and fiction, mystery, young adult, spirituality, history, biography, art books, children's literature, and indie authors. There is no charge to submit your book trailer, but the site is selective about acceptance, based on the quality and creativity of the video and the expected audience for the book. They expect to add a paid advertising feature with modest fees. Wildbound PR founder Julia Drake says, "The prices [are likely to] range from $10 for social media amplification to $75 for being featured in our Top Trallers section. There's no way to tell on the site whether placement is paid for or not, but bear in mind that we have to accept the submission, so if we feel that the placement is not warranted, we won't accept the sponsored listing. We will have a special section to highlight great trailers for self-published and indie books to help self-published and indie authors get more exposure."
Freelance website developer Lisa Sanovski reviews service providers on her Web Hosting Rating site, which includes this extensive list of her favorite resources for fonts, graphics, stock photos, logo editors, and other web design tools.
Website Setup is web designer Robert Mening's tech support site for artists and small business owners seeking to set up their own website or blog. Authors who are weighing the pros and cons of a custom design versus website-building software will benefit from this list, updated annually, of the most user-friendly and cost-effective site builders.
Editor Jessica Majewski reviews technical tools for writers and offers productivity tips at her website When You Write. Check out her recommendations of the best keyboards, dictation software, grammar-checking programs, editing services, and more.
WordCraft is a writing consultant collective in Los Angeles. Their blog features a weekly "Submission Sunday" post that shares the latest calls for submissions from reputable literary journals.
Writer Beware, a project of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), shares detailed guidelines for evaluating the credibility and experience of literary agents, plus warnings about common scams in this field.