Best software for indie authors

Author Business

Having a solid software stack is essential for the Author Business of the independent or indie author.

This is not an exhaustive list, this is my opinion on some of the key software packages every self-published author needs and why they need them. So if you are an independent author publishing wide or via Kindle direct publishing, then this software for authors list is for you. This is what I use, so if there are any other good ones out there please let me know!

Writing Software

A list of the best writing software for indie authors. We are writers and not all writing software was created equally.

A: Microsoft Word, Open Office, Libre Office, docs.google.com, Pages.

Word processors are a great place to write, there are many free options and these tools offer everything you need to get down and write. Word docs are also the preferred format for sending your stories to editors, publishers, beta readers etc. So having a solid word processor and knowing your way around it, is key software to master for any aspiring author.

B: Scrivener

Scrivener is an amazing tool that allows you to create your entire novel in one document then export them as a whole or individual files ready for editing on another platform. It’s not just about creating chapters either; this program can be used to organise all aspects of your book from character names to plot points. You can even add images or maps directly into the text which makes things much easier when trying to visualise scenes. I have written most of my books in Scrivener! Finding it was a game-changer.

C: Atticus.io

Atticus.io is a cloud-based editor similar to a hybrid of Google Docs/Scrivener and Vellum. This software promises to be a one and done author solution offering writing, editing and formatting all in one platform. I have been using a pre-release version for some time. I think it is amazing. Check out my Attic.io review here.

Idea Creation 

You have your writing software sorted now you need to generate those ideas and a place to store those ideas. Here are some great solutions to get you started. 

A: Story dice apps

Like Rory’s story cubes, you give them a virtual shake and the ideas in form of pictures begin to flow. Have fun and see where the story takes you. 

B: Plot Generator

A great tool for giving you some inspiration. And a fun place to play with different ideas.

Note-taking.

The ideas are flowing 24/7 and you need a place to store those ideas. Here are some great solutions to get you started. 

B: Google Keep 

A great note-taking app that works on the phone and laptop. No matter where you are you are just one click away from taking down your notes and ideas. Google keep has options for notes, lists, voice notes and more. If you lose your device, you still have access to everything you created on your computer.

C: Trello

Trello is used throughout many industries and is super versatile.

It’s a great tool for project management, task tracking, time-tracking, etc… and perfect for organising a book and a mind full of ideas.

You can create boards with different types of cards to organise your work or projects. You can also add attachments like images, files, links, videos, documents, etc..

You can easily share the board with other people so they can see what you are working on or collaborate. It also has a mobile app for convention and note-taking from everywhere.

D: Scrivener

I’ve been using Scrivener for a while now, and I love it. You can write epic novels with it and stay completely organised, including excellent note-taking facilities. And the best bit is your notes are in the same software as your writing! 

E: Atticus.io

At the time of writing this blog, the note-taking function is not yet available, however, it is in the Atticus.io road map and the features is promised.

F: Evernote note taking app

This is one of the most popular note taking app available today. With over 50 million users worldwide, there is no doubt why. The best thing about Evernote is its ability to sync across devices. If you lose your device, you still have access to everything you created on your computer.

G: Microsoft One Note

Microsoft One Note is very easy to use and offers lots of functionality. There are tons of templates and themes to choose from too.

H: docs.google.com

Google docs is a full-blown word processor but it can also be used as a great place to make notes. Easily accessible via phone or computer, combining features like autosave makes this a great option for note-taking.

Editing

A: Pro writing aid

Pro Writing Aid is an amazing piece of software designed specifically for writers. This program allows you to edit your text directly within the application itself without having to export anything. It also integrates with Scrivener, Word and other software. It has over 20 reports to assist you in editing your manuscript. 

B: Grammarly

If you want to check spelling and grammar before publishing then Grammarly is worth checking out. It checks written content and is trusted by millions.

C: Hemingway writing app

Hemingway App is another fantastic way to improve your writing skills. It helps you learn how to structure sentences by breaking them up into smaller parts.

D: Word

At the end of the day if you are sending your book to a publisher or human editor then they will most definitely request is sent via email and as a word document. It is the premier choice of editors the world over.

Formatting Software

A: Atticus.io formatting

Atticus.io is one of my favourite tools and the new kid on the block when it comes to formatting books. It does all the hard work for you and gives you instant templates making your book look good across eBook and print books.  Available for all the major platforms and less than half the price of the current king. Atticus.io is one to watch.

B: Vellum

Velum is one of the indie author worlds most popular formatting tools. It does all sorts of things such as creating tables, adding headers/footers, inserting page numbers, changing font sizes, margins, spacing, indentation, bullets, numbering, etc… All at the click of a button. Only available for macs.

Email List

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A: MailChimp

Mailchimp is one of the biggest names in email marketing. They offer free accounts which allow you to send emails to lists that you create yourself. You can even set up autoresponders so people get notified whenever someone subscribes to their list. I highly recommend using mail chimp because it’s super simple to set up and manage.

B: Mailerlite

MailerLite is similar to mail chimp but more focused towards bloggers who need to build mailing lists quickly. The best part about MailerLite is that it doesn’t require any coding knowledge. Just signup and start building!

C: Sendicate

Sendicate is a tool that lets you easily add subscribers to your newsletter. If you have ever tried doing this manually then you know what a pain it can be. With Sendicate you just enter some basic information and let it do the rest. No code is required.

D: Sendfox

SendFox is a great option for those looking to automate their newsletters.

Social Media

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A: Image creation

There are lots of apps available to help you create daily content for your social channels. If your looking for ideas check out my book Smartphone Smart Marketing: A layman’s guide to content marketing, social media strategy, photography, video production, audio and live streaming.

B: Sociality.io

This is the app I use for personal and for clients. It has all the tools you could need. Universal inbox so all your social messages and comments are in one easy to use inbox. Scheduling, competitor reports and brand listening tools. Brilliant software.

C: Later.com

A good scheduling tool that offers a solid free account.

Web and SEO

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SEO: A layman’s Guide

My very own book on SEO, written for the beginner in mind (but perfect for all levels). No waffle just 20 years of experience. if your website doesn’t rank, you are just waiting for your money! Learn to rank with my book.

A: Publisher Rocket

Publisher rocket is an amazing resource for anyone wanting to publish on Amazon. It is essentially an SEO tool for Amazon book sellers. It allows you to get the data you need to make the right decisions, including info about sales, categories, keywords, and more. Read my full Publisher Rocket review here

B: Yoast

Yoast is probably the most used WordPress plugin around. It’s not specifically designed for ebook authors but there are plenty of features within its dashboard that make life easier for writers. The aim of the tool is to kelp you rank online. I have a new book on SEO coming soon. Join my newsletter to get updates.

C: Rank Math

Rank math is another fantastic app that helps you rank higher in Google searches. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to promote your own products or services. I use rankmath.

D: SE Ranking Tool

SE ranking tool allows you to see where your website ranks against others. This will give you valuable insight into whether or not your site is performing well enough to compete in the marketplace. It is a must-have for every writer. It provides detailed insights into how well different keywords perform. For example, if you want to write a blog post about “how to become a better blogger” you could use SERanking to find relevant blogs that already cover this topic, find keywords, track your page as it ranks and so much more.

C: WordPress 

WordPress is a super popular service for building your author website. It is super versatile and has tons of plugins and themes to choose from. There are also loads of tutorials online to help you learn how to use word press effectively.

D: Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the easiest tools to install and use. Once installed you’ll receive reports showing exactly how many visitors come to your site each day as well as other useful stats like bounce rate, nationality etc.

Cover Design

Affinity photo editor

I’m sure many of us would agree that creating beautiful images for book covers or social media is one of the hardest parts of writing a novel. Affinity Photo Editor is a powerful image editing software that makes it possible to make anything. However, there may be a learning curve. There are tons of tutorials online showing you how to achieve various effects such as adding text, filters etc.

Ebook Manager

C: Calibre

Calibre is a free ebook manager that works well with Kindle books. It supports multiple formats and even lets you convert PDFs to epubs. Handy for managing your ebooks.

Conclusion

This I believe is a solid list of software for indie authors, however, I am always adding to my own software stack and will update the list as my stack of author software increases. Please feel free to share the blot or contact me on social to have your favourite apps added.

Cheers

Robb 

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