I started 2020 with one self-published book to my name, published in May 2019. I didn’t quite understand the game of self-publishing and what the process would look like to actually make a profit. But this year has been nothing short of insane, and I can now say I have eight total titles to my (and a pen) name.
On top of writing full-length novels and short stories, I also write articles on Medium. I range from multiple fiction genres to non-fiction articles. When my fingers aren’t going on the keyboard, I feel out of sorts.
None of this is possible without some tools to keep me going. And as a self-published author who constantly needs to learn to stay on my game (and actually make money from it), I have to use the best tools. Here are some of the awesome ones I’ve discovered that can help you with your writing journey.
This is a writing software I primarily use for my fiction novels. I can sort all of my projects and when I’m done, I compile them and the program makes them into perfect chapters with ideal formatting for Amazon KDP (a publishing platform). It’s perfect for my books because I know how to format the chapters with headings and can easily manipulate the editor to make the manuscript look perfect.
I’ve heard of several people using this for non-fiction as well. If you’re interested in writing your articles in the program before switching over to Medium or your blog, this is a great way to keep all your writing saved in one document. Plus, they have great backup systems to make sure you never lose your work.
There is a single purchase cost, but honestly it’s worth it. I don’t regret anything.
The perfect random generator to get ideas for literally everything fiction. While it focuses more on magic, sci-fi, and fantasy generators, you can get tons of ideas here, including writing prompts. Like all generators, you will get some silly ones that make no sense, but honestly it’s within those prompts that I pick and pull great ideas and run with them.
Fantasy Name Generator
Despite the fantasy name, this generator has excellent resources. I’ve found a lot of my fantasy planet and people names here but I’ve also benefitted from a lot of the other prompt generators. Seriously, it’s full of so many ideas and a lot of fun. Roll with it!
At the time of writing this, the website is down. BUT this is where I typically start my writing sessions. It gives you a time limit and even a prompt to just write and warm up a little. You can also use this as a journey. It’s great practice for shutting your inner editor up. I like forcing myself to write for a couple minutes without a care. It doesn’t have to even be related to your WIP. Getting those first words out can help you get in the momentum to write.
As someone with a relatively small mailing list, StoryOrigin is a great place to find newsletter swaps. Exchange book mentions, give reader magnets to a new crowd, and find reviewers and give out ARCs. Reader magnets require email signups, which gives you newsletter emails from people who read your work. It helps get you in front of new audiences who read your genre.
I see great results with these, especially since I’m in Kindle Unlimited with my books. People who might have never found my fiction work can now see my work. And I have a lot of good feedback from people who read my reader magnets and follow up with purchases of my novels.
I’m not going to lie, I haven’t been on Scribophile in a while. Back when I wasn’t rapid releasing my novels and material, this was a great place to get feedback and edits for chapters. I could see if a book would get interest, find some quick edits, and grow my skills as a writer/editor myself. You have to give feedback in order to post your work and get feedback in return so it’s a great resource.
I used to write often on Quora but couldn’t really get any traction, mostly because I was aiming to grow my fiction audience and get more readers for my novels. Not aligned with my goals at the time.
However, I write often on Medium and like to give helpful advice. I use Quora to find good questions and ideas for articles here. I’ll browse questions and come up with new ideas for blog posts and helpful advice.
Medium and WordPress
My first blog was under WordPress which means I have a strong following there. I still post over there, but it’s mostly excerpts from Medium. Still, it’s a great tool to build a following and share your updates on novels and other writing. Those could turn into profitable leads.
It’s also great for finding other authors who can give you ideas. I follow a lot of writers here and even more on WordPress. I scroll through the reader, tags, and other places to find new ideas. I look at what other people are writing and see how I can contribute to the conversation in new ways.
Not only do I craft new posts from these places, I also make a point to leave comments and interact with the writers. I know personally I love when people take the time to leave comments or share their reactions/advice. Interacting with the writing community is how we grow and lift others up. You never know when someone is going to find your work and you can build a friendship.
Journals and Planners
The notebooks used are really up to the individual but I’ve loved journaling every night. It helps me sort out my thoughts, use it as a freewriting practice, and even test out new ideas or just decompress from the day. I prefer lined journals and something easy to write in so I don’t have to get frustrated. I like minimal barriers to writing when it comes to my journal.
I’ve recently discovered the Passion Planner (affiliate link) and after using it for two months, I’ve demolished some of my 3 month and even 1 year goals. I’ve had to rewrite my roadmap and even set new goals in the time I’ve had it. I keep track of my word count, see where my time is spent during the day, and changed a lot of my habits. It helped me write over 180K words in just the two months I’ve had it. And I published four short stories and two novels in that time. As of today, I’m also on book 2 of a new series.
Laura Winter is a self-published author dedicated to helping your authorpreneur journey. She has launched her books on little to no budget to prove you don’t have to invest an exorbitant amount of money to be successful. Find her work on Amazon, Patreon, and join her tribe to get more articles like this.
This post was originally published on Medium.