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7 Free Online Tools for Writers and Authors

24 September 2017

From Digital Book World:

“All you need to be a writer is a pen and paper,” is something you might say if you’re one of those smug savants who can just sit down and write an entire novel longhand.

But for the rest of us? Well, we can take all the help we can get. Naturally, there are the everyday low-fi accessories that every writer should already have in their arsenal, like notebooks and a reliable pen. But there are also a bunch of high tech tools that the interwebs can offer us.

In this post, I’d love to share seven of my favorite free online tools for writers. They’ve helped me to manage my time, improve my creative flow, and publish better material. And, most importantly, they haven’t cost me a dime!

  1. Trello

“Trello…? Is it me you’re looking for?”

Trello was designed as a project management tool for small business organizations, which is exactly where I first came across it. Having used it for my day job for an entire year, I was able to adapt it to my writing work pretty quickly.

Trello is pretty much a virtual cork board — but better. I use it to keep track of small tasks (“buy new ink cartridge”) as well as organize my ideas as and when they occur to me. Best of all, Trello’s bulletin-board style interface lets me create “cards” relating to each section of a book, allowing me to move parts of the manuscript around as I’m grappling with the structure.

. . . .

  1. Buffer

As a writer in 2017, I know it’s a part of my job to maintain my public platform, meagre as it is. At the very least, that means regularly posting words of wisdom and sharing funny writing memes on social media.

I tried a handful of tools like HootSuite that allowed me to schedule social activity ahead of time, but I prefer the simplicity (and price point) of Buffer. Now I just spend 30 minutes scheduling posts every Monday — and for the rest of the week, I’m free to write without distraction. Right?

Well, as you’ll discover in the next section, it’s maybe not that simple…

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

PG doesn’t use Buffer with TPV but he’s a big fan of the tool for other projects involving social media.

Social Media, Writing Tools

5 Comments to “7 Free Online Tools for Writers and Authors”

  1. I looked at Reedsy (see the OP), and it’s not quite ready for prime time, as far as I can tell. And their web page claims Scrivener won’t output to ebook stores or to CreateSpace, though they got the price correct. The Disqus commenting on that page won’t allow me to log in, so I can’t ask what’s up.
    YMMV, of course.

    • I used Scrivener; needed only one cleanup step (right margin indent) to create an epub.

      Epub + cover loads into Kindle stuff (keep cover separate), to get a perfect .mobi.

      Same text with different Compile gave me something I tucked into MS Word for fancy footers and header, widows and orphans control – and it was the source of a small number of actual typographical errors. But I got a very complex, gorgeous, print version exactly the way I wanted it. The Reedsy page this post linked to was minimalist compared to what I did. Got the final pdf for Createspace as output of Word.

      Not that hard – but you do have to be good with Word.

      Maybe if you’re NOT good with Word for fancy formatting, the Reedsy simple formatting will give you something better.

      Or you could learn Word formatting – and keep the control in your own little hands. And be able to use it for the next book.

      I tend to develop the skills or increase my own, but not everyone wants that, and some really can’t. No shame in that.

      • lol – StoryBox and output to epub, rtf and mobi. It’s very similar to Scrivener and a lovely, polished writing package for a very reasonable price. And yes, learning Word is not that hard.

  2. I use Trello for plotting. Love it. Like index cards where you never run out of space, and your kids can’t come in and mess them all up.

    • !!! Why did I never think of using Trello for this… I’ve used it for planning my work tasks and studying, but I can’t believe I didn’t think of it for this. Thanks for sharing!

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