Free Tools Any Author Can Use

No one is good at everything. We all need help, whether that is with our grammar, our time management, or just concentrating so we can be productive.

Following are five free tools. Check them out. You might find one or more of them helpful in your quest to be the best author that you can be.

Free Tools Any Author Can Use

1.  Make Sure Your Titles Are Capitalized Correctly.

Are you confused about which words to capitalize in a headline? Do you guess when capitalizing a title or headline?  Check out Capitalize My Title. This program applies the correct capitalization based on the style you want to use: Chicago, APA, MLA or AP.

2.  Reduce the Number of Clichés in Your Writing.

Too many clichés can make your writing uninteresting. Don’t be trite. Ditch the clichés. Cliché Finder is a free program that finds and highlights clichés in your writing so you can remove them.

3.  Get Organized.

An organized writer is a more productive writer. There are many tools that can help you become more organized. Milanote is an easy-to-use creative writing app to organize your research, ideas, characters and outline in one place.

4.  Be More Productive with Time Management Help.

Many people struggle with time management. Marinara Timer is a free time management timer promotes productivity. The timer allows you to choose to work for 25 minutes with a 5-minute break at the end, or you can choose your own time limits.

5.  Block Out Background Noise so You Can Focus Better.

Do background noises interrupt your concentration when writing? Noisli can help. This program provides free background sounds that help to mask annoying noises in order to keep you sane, improve your focus, and boost your productivity.

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How to Take Flattering Photos for Marketing

With the popularity of smart phones, the number of photos taken every year grows. InfoTrends estimates that over one trillion photos are taken each year.

Do you post photos of yourself to help promote your book on social media? Do you do live or recorded videos to engage your fans? Do you wish these photos or videos were more flattering?

Houston TV news anchor Dominque Sachse provides some great tips on taking flattering photos in the video below. Watch this video to learn:

  • How to angle your body, whether sitting or standing, to look your best.
  • How avoid a double-chin in photos.
  • How to increase or decrease how curvy your body appears.
  • How to appear the most natural.
  • How to portray relationship in a photo.
  • How to take the best selfies.

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Five Additional Free Tools for Authors

I love free! Free resources are a wonderful gift to any indie author or small publisher on a tight budget.

Here are five free tools that can help you improve your writing and marketing efforts.

1. Improve Your Word Usage.

Words are important, especially for authors. Using the right words and the best words matter. The OneLook Dictionary search aggregates information from more than 1,000 dictionaries. You can use this free tool to search for definitions and phrases, as well as words related to a term or concept and then compare various dictionary definitions.

No author wants to overuse a word, which is why every author needs a thesaurus. There are a number of thesauruses online, but Power Thesaurus because it is a crowdsourced online resource, is very powerful. The tool provides every synonym and antonym under the sun and arranges them all based on how useful other writers have found them.

2. Make Sure Your Writing Is Grammatically Correct.

A study by Boomerang, an email management tool, found that mistake-free email subject lines received a 34% response rate, while those with errors only had a 29% response rate. Grammatical and spelling mistakes reduce the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. You can run your emails and social media posts through a quick edit to make sure your writing is grammatically correct with the free tool at Grammark.

3. Optimize Your Social Media Posts.

Twitter has a 280-character limit for tweets. Just because you are allowed 280 characters does not necessarily mean you want to use that many in your tweets. Studies have found that tweets that get the most attention contain just 100 characters. On Facebook, the ideal length of a post is 40 characters. And the best length of an email subject line is 28-39 characters.

A free online tool, Character Count Online, helps count the length of any piece of text you want. This tool not only counts characters, it also counts words, sentences, and paragraphs. It will also tell you how many times you used each word in a chunk of text. Next time you are creating a social media post or email subject line, use this tool to help you optimize your effort.

4. Find the Best Fonts for Design Projects.

Multiple fonts in a quote graphic, blog design, or other online project increase the visual appeal. Using various fonts can make separate ideas or elements distinct. For instance, in a pull quote, you might use one font for the quote and another for the source.
However, for the fonts to work together well, they must follow core design principles regarding symmetry and contrast. If you’re not a font-pairing expert, Fontjoy can generate font pairings for you.

5. Start Podcasting for Free.

Are you thinking about starting a podcast, but don’t want to invest fees in equipment and storage? You can record, store, and distribute podcasts on the Internet for free with Anchor.

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Photo courtesy of Carolina Bonito.