10 Useful Non-Writing Tools for Writers

Yes, I said “non-writing.” As in, I’m not going to talk about Scrivener or yWriter or Shelfari. You probably already know about those. If not, there are many, many, many people talking about tools for writers as writers. They’re well worth a read.

toolbox_shadow-copySo. With that well-covered, I thought I’d throw in my hat on the non-writing space. Specifically, marketing-oriented apps that you may not know about (or, if you do, may be worth more serious consideration.) This list is actually based on using every single one of these tools, and no, I’m not getting paid to recommend them.

By the way, if you’re not on the marketing frequency, please move along. Nothing to see here.

Onto the tools:

Animoto. Want to do a book trailer, but don’t want to spend your time learning Final Cut Pro? Try Animoto. Upload some photos (or point it at your Flickr account), pick and place, add text and highlights, and Animoto produces short videos with music and nice effects for free, or longer ones for $30 a year all you can eat. No, it ain’t gonna be as sexy as a professional production, but you also don’t have to start a second career as a video editor.

PollDaddy. Not quite as sexy, huh? Not so fast. PollDaddy lets you create quick, embeddable polls you can throw up on Facebook, MySpace, your blog, or any other presence. Ask your readers what they think should happen. Or what you should write about next. Or whatever. An easy, simple way to engage people.

SproutBuilder. Want more full-featured widgets? This simple online interface lets you bring in video, music, RSS feeds, animation, and as many pages of content as you’d like–and share it with all your fans on Facebook, MySpace, and more. Astoundingly powerful, and, for a small number of projects, completely free. Use it to promote your books, take donations for your favorite cause, and much more.

Wildfire. Okay. You’re moving up in the world. You have a book you’d like to give away. A limited edition. Or maybe you’ve won the publishing lotto and you want to do a cash prize or other themed prize. Wildfire is a great way to create contests or sweepstakes and spread them in the social spaces via Facebook apps and widgets. And if you haven’t seen the viral power of a contest, you haven’t seen anything. It’s quite literally the most powerful force in marketing. And yeah, they’re terrible and capitalist and self-serving and evil, and yeah, this is the world we live in.

Facebook Ads. You have some money and want to reach every Twilight fan on the planet to let them know how much better your new book is? Or every Star Trek fan? It’s as easy as running some Facebook ads–which can be targeted at stuff that shows up in a person’s online profile, including favorite books, authors, movies, and TV shows. You can literally be seen by tens of thousands of people for a few dollars. What they do, of course, is entirely up to you and your ad. But this is a great way to get fans–and to get clickthroughs to Amazon. MySpace has a similar ad program, but it’s much less developed, and cannot target as granularly as Facebook.

Google Adwords. Yeah. You got cash. Now you want to move books. Or a lecture series. It’s time to explore the power of Google Adwords, which recently got much better in terms of segmentation and management tools. Specify exactly which writer-focused blogs you want your ads to appear on–or, if you’re feeling adventurous, upload a 30 second book trailer and run it on television, or an audio file and run it on radio. Yes. Google is now in the conventional media business. And you might be surprised what kind of results a late-night TV ad run can get.

SpyFu. If you’re gonna be spending on Google Adwords, you might want to see who else is spending on the same keywords–or what your big writer-friends are doing. Type in keywords or URLs to SpyFu to see exactly what they’re spending, and what they’re spending it on.

Quantcast. Want to find out what other sites BoingBoing or i09 visitors prefer–and if they’re related to literature or science fiction? It’s easy to slice and dice the results in Quantcast. Sign up for a free media planner account, and start discovering where your potential audience really hangs out.

CampaignMonitor. Yes. Email. Fact is, the people who have bought your stuff (or stolen it online) are the best prospects to sell your next books to. Do you have a regular enewsletter letting people know what you’re up to, and what books are coming out? If not, why not? Sites like CampaignMonitor make creating and managing an email program simple.

WordPress. “Oh, hell, I know about that one,” you’re saying. But do you really? First of all, if you’re on any other blogging platform, it’s time to look at getting off. Yes. I just said that. Blogger and Moveable Type can bite me. But, fact is, WordPress is the most full-featured, configurable, extensible blogging and general content management platform on the planet. And it’s 100% free. I literally can’t tell you the number of enterprise-class websites we’ve built on the platform. Yes, websites. Not just blogs. Plus, with one-click install on a host like Dreamhost–which allows you to host an unlimited number of domains . . . very helpful if you’re getting into the alternate-reality space–Wordpress is simple and cheap. You can even have a Photoshop design converted into a WordPress template inexpensively (a few hundred dollars), or, if you want to do some DIY, PSD2CSS does the basics for free.

“What?” you say. “That’s it? No Twitter, no iPhone, no Facebook, no Second Life, none of that?”

Well, sure. If you have the time. But what would you really rather be doing: Twittering about what you had for breakfast, installing a new iPhone game that’ll waste seventeen hours of your time . . . or selling some books?

Happy marketing!

June 29th, 2009 / 1,542 Comments »

1,542 Responses to “10 Useful Non-Writing Tools for Writers”

  1. Nickolas Balckburn Says:

    usually, the best sounding ringtones are coming from paid ringtone donwload sites::

  2. biotin deficiency symptoms Says:

    diamond engagement rings will be always be the best stuff. it has great style and it is priceless**

  3. stomach gas Says:

    R&B music is my favorite stuff, pop music is great too but R&B is the best;;

  4. Randell Banther Says:

    thank you for sharing with us, I conceive this website truly stands out : D.

  5. sublingual vitamins Says:

    bubble dress are very nice girl dresses and i always ask my girlfriend to wear one~

  6. laser marking machine Says:

    when using hair dryers, it would be better to use those low wattage types because they are not very damaging to the hair`

  7. does eucerin anti age creams work Says:

    Yet one more intelligent weblog! Completely cannot wait for much more!

  8. Hand Car Wash Says:

    usually, i buy my craft supplies on the internet because of the cheaper price and countless options..

  9. allowances kids Says:

    It’s not common to find a nice to that you could have a little beliefs. Across the world at present, a single genuinely loves representing some others the most effective during this make any difference. The best way fortuitous I was for today commonly found a highly marvelous online page much more. It is always individuals like you making an absolute contrast current because of the theories that they can disclose.

  10. Melatonin Overdose Says:

    LMFAO is a good band, i like those hilarious MTV they make on youtube”

  11. office metal cabinets Says:

    Shakira and Taylor Swift are my favorite singers, Shakira is great on live performance-

  12. consumabile Says:

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read something such as this before. So nice to find somebody with authentic applying for grants this subject. realy appreciate starting this up. this site are some things that’s needed over the internet, somebody with a bit of bit originality. helpful purpose of bringing new stuff towards web!

  13. Shawn Bakewell Says:

    I regard something truly special in this website .

  14. Best Baby Carrier Says:

    Hi there, I found your site by means of Google while looking for a similar topic, your web site got here up, it appears great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  15. Houston Remodeling Contractors Says:

    I have no idea how I found this but I am glad I did… good post.

  16. Joel Cui Says:

    You had great positive ideas there. Used to do a search on the issue and found nearly all individuals may accept your site. One thing all of us discovered had been candle producing.

  17. vimax ingredients list Says:

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

  18. Kerry Litman Says:

    plastic bathroom faucets woud eaily break compared to bronze bathroom faucets,

  19. Reena Defore Says:

    skin care is easy, all you have to do is eat nutritious foods and do some daily cleaning routine of your skin“

  20. læ Says:

    Youre so awesome, man! I cant believe I missed this blog for so long. Its just great stuff all round. Your design, man…too amazing! I cant wait to read what youve got next. I love everything that youre saying and want more, more, MORE! Keep this up, man! Its just too good.

  21. Arminda Herrnandez Says:

    i love action movies and my idol is none other than Gerard Butler. this guy really rocks“

  22. Oneida Senn Says:

    Fortunate we discovered this phenomenal web site, One other good website is Dbol is going to be sure to bookmark it in order to check-out frequently.

  23. Kerry Flis Says:

    disaster movie is hilarious, i laugh for hours just watching that movie,.

  24. Clora Langone Says:

    Doing some browsing and noticed your website appears a bit messed up in my K-meleon internet browser. But fortunately hardly anyone uses it any longer but you may want to look into it. A hospital is no place to be sick.

  25. romanian women Says:

    you can always buy sports apparels online, you just need to choose your supplier carefully~

  26. Homemade Pussy Says:

    sports jerseys that uses cotton and polyester fabric are much cooler to use*

  27. privacy laptop screen protector Says:

    Since we loved your blog so much we decided to add it to our “Sites to Visit” list at Enjoy!

  28. Whitey bulger Arrested Says:

    It’s arduous to search out educated individuals on this topic, however you sound like you recognize what you’re speaking about! Thanks

  29. chicken pox incubation Says:

    I need to frequent this web site far more often, information such as this is difficult to locate.

  30. Kristofer Spatafore Says:

    I see something really interesting about your website so I saved to fav.

  31. Gaston Morgano Says:

    I am impressed with this internet site , very I am a big fan .

  32. sri lankan women Says:

    learning english is quite easy, there arem any tutorials on the internet and some audiobooks too,

  33. PCSO Super Lotto 6/49 Results Says:

    i’m fond of using vending machines because you can instantly get a drink or a snack..

  34. caramoan beach resort Says:

    internet money is always good if you know how to earn them. earning it is another story though,.

  35. fishing umbrella tent Says:

    eating disorders are of course sometimes deadly because it can cause the degeneration of one’s health“

  36. Derrick Dziuba Says:

    food processors can really shorten the time it takes for you to prepare home cooked meals.,

  37. sex for pregnancy Says:

    i find the big brown eyes of rachel leigh cook very very attractive, oh i just love those eyes.

  38. donor eggs Says:

    Forgive my stupidity, but I can’t seem to find your sites rss feeds. Mind directing me to it? Thanks.

  39. amateur webcams Says:

    I not to mention my pals were found to be looking through the good strategies found on your web site while quickly developed a horrible suspicion I never expressed respect to you for those techniques. Those young boys are actually as a result happy to see all of them and already have in reality been having fun with these things. We appreciate you getting indeed thoughtful as well as for pick out this kind of really good information most people are really needing to discover. Our own sincere apologies for not saying thanks to sooner.

  40. langsing Says:

    I believe that may be a fascinating element, it made me suppose a bit. Thanks for sparking my considering cap. Every now and then I am getting so much in a rut that I simply really feel like a record.

  41. bar fridge sizes Says:

    all of my kids love to dwelll on ice cream shops, they really love to munch lots of ice cream,.

  42. sexy jurkjes Says:

    I’m impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog that’s both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important, the issue is something that not enough people are talking intelligently about