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Writer’s Toolkit

What you add to your writer’s toolkit will be as personal as any garage box full of hammers, drills, and duct tape. As you progress through different tasks, you’ll reach for a tried-and-true method or browse the internet looking for a shiny new tool that cuts your task-time in half.

You may discover that no tool quite pulls off the project you’re working on and call in a professional. Get an estimate. Read reviews. And watch the magic happen from the sidelines. Or stumble upon someone who’s come up with completely new material to work with. Perhaps your novel was supposed to be a serial instead. Or your web article makes a superb newsletter. Who knew?

Regardless of what you’re creating with the alphabet, having a dependable toolkit at your side is nonnegotiable. Sure, you want a pencil and a notepad in there, but if you’re taking your words seriously, you need some quality equipment.

ProWritingAid No one writes a perfect sentence the first time through. When it comes to edits, you can’t have too many tools in your toolbox. You can run anything through PWA from emails to novels, and depending on your needs, will really drill down into your grammar and style and help you polish it. They offer a week for free so you can try it out.

Amazon Kindle Unlimited (affiliate link) If you write books, you read books. It’s that simple. I was never a fan of ebooks until I started making them, and now they are a large part of both my research and my relaxation time. This service puts all the books at your fingertips without creating an avalanche in your living room. Try it free for two months.

Scrivener I use this writing tool for everything, novels to notes. I write my books directly into it and export them in different formats, depending on the project. I learned the system as I went, as it’s easy to search each “how to” step, but you could also set aside some time and enjoy their “Literature & Latte” tutorials. They offer a free 30 day trial.

I write in Scrivener and love it, but there are alternatives: Novlr, Plotti, Plottr, or The Novel Factory. You can always use Word (be sure to save and back it up) or Google Docs (auto-saved and stored in the cloud). Evernote integrates with them. yWriter works with Windows and Ulysses works with Mac.

When speaking aloud feels more intuitive or efficient, you’ve got a broken finger or aching back, or you’re just feeling spontaneous, using dictation makes sense. Dictation tools include Dragon or Speechpad, and is free using Google Docs, SpeechTexter, Apple Dictation, or Windows Speech Recognition.

I use ProWritingAid and love it, but there are alternatives: Grammarly, Autocrat, or Hemingway Editor.

Cover Design:,, Thumbtack, etc have professionals who can do any of these author tasks for you, including ghostwrite your book! **insert totally conflicted opinions here** But if you like to browse: 99Designs, 100Covers, or DIYBookCovers.

Formatting: I did mine the hard way until I bought Vellum. Changed my life. Vellum only works with Mac. Atticus works with both. Draft2Digital lets you use their free formatting tool, too.

Marketing: k-Lytics or Publisher Rocket. See powerhouse Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur or Derek Doepker.

Newsletters: MailerLite, Mailchimp, or ConvertKit. See powerhouse Nick Stephenson at Your First 10K Readers and Newsletter Ninja Tammi Labrecque.

Author Website: ( is the free version, is the paid) or Wix. Some just want a landing page (free in your newsletter software) and others want to build an online store with Shopify or WooCommerce.

Find Beta readers: Scribophile or Facebook Groups

Find someone to critique your manuscript: Critique Circle, Inked Voices, and Scribophile.

Self-publish through: Amazon/KDP, IngramSpark, Draft2Digital, or Barnes&Noble.