Tips and Tools to Make Your Writing Life Easier

   by Debra Toor

If you are a writer who is fond of eating, then you need customers for your books and articles. To get customers, you need to let people know your book exists. And while you are churning out promotional materials and networking, you also need to keep writing. Ugh.

I am a newly published author, and until I found specific tools to help me, I was in major stress mode. My book, Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures, was released in December 2014. I have waded through countless blogs and books that recommended umpteen promotional tasks for authors. How was I going to get it all done?

I have discovered the following tools to help me manage my time, find data about my niche subject, and inform my niche audience about my book and website.

Free Tools and Apps


What: Wise Stamp combines your email signature with your social platforms.  Benefit: As you correspond with your networks, WiseStamp makes it easy for potential customers to know who you are, the books/services you offer, and how to find you.

My Example: My book cover and social networks, name, service, and website at one glance.


What: Canva is a design tool for creating appealing visuals.  Benefits: It offers handy templates for your Facebook page, Pinterest pins, twitter covers, Instagrams, and much more. There are a variety of free fonts, images, and background colours. Canva charges $1.00 per image for its premium service. I don't use the premium service. Instead, I upload my own photos and use the free fonts to create eye-catching visuals.

My Example: Below is my Facebook cover. The blank space is for my head shot.  I created all the covers (except my book cover) with Canva. Then I dropped the covers into the Facebook template.  

facebook feb2015.jpg

Free Images explains each license

Find photographs and diagrams to provide a visual story-telling element for your work.  But make sure that you do not rely solely on the image's attribution.  Contact the photographers or graphic artists for their written permission to use their images for commercial purposes. I have created a network of photographers who are happy to share their work for educational purposes. Go to my website to see how these photos enhance my subject.

Googe Alerts:

Google Scholar Alerts, for peer-reviewed research:

What:  Use Google Alerts to find news and research to help your niche customers reach their goals.  
1. Type in keywords for your topic and indicate how often you want to receive your alerts. This will help you stay informed in your area of expertise and help you with speaking engagements and workshops.

2. Find statistics on your subject matter to spotlight your book’s benefits.  For example, I can track statistics to show how my book, website and free resources provide important eco-literacy information. I would need data that shows how declining vulture populations correspond with the increase in the spread of diseases.

3. Use Google Alerts to track mentions of your book, blog, etc. Log onto Online Income Teacher for great promotional tips.

1-Click Timer: 
What: A Timer with an alarm. 
Benefits: Tackle your writing, research, and promotional tasks in 30 to 60 minute increments. Just launch the app and whittle away at your mountain of tasks. You will stay focused and get a lot done.

Next month, I will share more strategies and free tools.  What have you discovered that makes your writing life easier?

More on Writing and Promotions:

Deb Toor is the author of Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures. She spent ten years as Communications Director at Earth Day Canada, where she collaborated with environmental experts to develop publications and projects for schools and community groups to address local environmental issues.

Her website is packed with information, resources, and captivating photos.  Discover how vultures help ecosystems and human health.
p:905-510-9804 | |


Karen Cioffi said...

Debra, great post! Lots of helpful tips for writers. I joined Canva a while ago, but haven't used it yet. I usually use Logo Creator to create all my images. You did an amazing job on your Facebook header.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Deb, I love this kind of blog. Everyone needs resources that aren't general. You know, the ones that tell us excactly how to do it! Where to go! General how-to advice is nice, but precise stuff is better. BTW, I was going to check out your source for e-mail signatures before I ever read this--just from your e-mail. Way to go! And did you know there is a whole section in my The Frugal Book Promoter ( that helps writers (and others) with make e-mail signatures work them?

penelope anne cole said...

Hi Debra, lots of great information here. Keep up the good work! Wishing you much success. (I reviewed your book on my blog, too!

Unknown said...

Thanks Karen. I will check out Logo Creator. Sounds interesting.

Unknown said...

I love your enthusiasm, Carolyn. I'm looking forward to checking out your resources and books. Your advice is stellar.

Unknown said...

Thanks Penny. Your book review blog shows your passion for children's books and the kids who read them.

Suzanne Lieurance said...

Hi, Debra,

Great list of resources. I've used some of these but some I didn't know about and can't wait to try!


Linda Wilson said...

Ditto on everyone's comments, Debra. Your post is a keeper for me as I get ready to wade into marketing. Thanks, you're a terrific addition to our blog!

How to Sell Your Book in Bulk

  by Suzanne Lieurance Did you know that studies have shown that most self-published authors sell fewer than 200 copies of their book?   Tha...