Tools for writers; master the trade.
Tools for writers are just as important as the tools you apply to any craft. We live in an age where entire empires can be run from a single mobile phone. Hell, if a service ain’t digital, it’s archaic. When it comes to scheduling, self promotion and client care for freelance writers, a lot of the legwork has been taken care of via these free, fantastic online tools, which form the cornerstone of my freelance writing business.
Tools for Writers #8
Boomerang for Gmail* has lots of interesting features, but best of all is it’s ability to return emails to the top of my inbox based on the amount of time passed, or if a recipient has failed to reply. For me, this means following up with clients regarding their manuscript delivery, payments due, or simply checking in to see how their latest novel is selling. It’s client fulfilment and account keeping rolled into one.
*If you aren’t already using Gmail, I’d strongly encourage you to make the switch. Google won’t stop short of world domination, and plug-ins like Boomerang give Gmail an edge few can compete with.
Tools for Writers #7
We spend a fortune on websites and business cards, but our email signatures (which ‘touch’ our network up to 50+ times a day) often consist of little more than a phone number and web address. Do you have a great headshot? What about your social media links? And I don’t just mean a long list of URLs no one wants to click, but stylish buttons, your latest post…the works. WiseStamp allows you to completely customise your email signature; you can even integrate Google Analytics to measure engagement and click-throughs. If you want the world to take you seriously as a writer, wow them from your very first interaction.
My rate of new social followers has doubled since implementing the WiseStamp signature below.
Tools for Writers #6
When you’re working on five or six novels at a time, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Freelance writers need to stay on top of manuscript delivery, invoices sent and payments received. Delivering on schedule builds a sense of trust with your clients, and allows you to plan your workload to avoid the rush jobs. Toodledo is a free scheduling site that allows you to list jobs according to due date, payment status and priority. For project-based work the interface is clean, clear and easy to use.
Tools for Writers #5
What’s a freelance writer’s most treasured possession? Their little black book. These are the clients who know the value of your work and continue to return over the years. But it’s impossible to stay in touch with everyone, all the time. Maintaining a newsletter is a wonderful way to remain top of mind, reinforce your position as an authority on writing, expand your network and most importantly, offer value to your followers even when you aren’t working on their projects. With drag and drop layouts, Mailchimp is super easy to use and a great way to take stock of your thoughts and achievements over a given period.
Tools for Writers #4
As a freelance writer it’s important to stay top of mind with clients, position yourself as an expert in your field and broaden your reach so as to connect with as many potential clients as possible. Social platforms are an effective way to achieve all of the above. But who can be bothered, right? I have a book to write! Thankfully, sites like BuzzSumo allow you to find the Net’s most viral content based on niche search terms. Once upon a time I hired VAs to search the web for content I could share with followers; now I have an endless list of great writing tips and romance articles at my fingertips.
Tools for Writers #3
We’re writers not designers. But that doesn’t mean our web banners, special offers and e-brochures should look like Microsoft clip art gone wrong. Alas, Canva to the rescue. It’s an easy-to-use online design interface with loads of free templates and stock images. You simply pick out the size of the artwork you need, drag and drop the elements you want, and export. Voila, you have fun, fresh artwork that doesn’t look homemade.
Tools for Writers #2
When it comes to finding clients and promoting your writing, networking is everything. Similarsites allows you to enter a web URL and generate a list of sites similar in terms of scale and content. Imagine the possibilities! Want to promote an article to various niche blogs? Now you have a target list. Perhaps you want to do some market research to see who’s offering services similar to your own, and how they’re doing it? No need to trawl Google; everything’s condensed into one place. For super results, hire a VA to contact the websites on your behalf and delegate the leg work.
Tools for Writers #1
Drumroll please…What’s the #1 freelance writing tool I pin (almost) all my writing success upon? Fiverr. I spent a great deal of time and money listing myself on freelance sites like Odesk and Elance, which invited me to pitch for jobs worth an average of $50-$300. Aside from being poorly paid, I was often competing against 50+ other applicants. What a waste of time. Broke and desperate, I went on Fiverr to offer writing and editing for the cost of a coffee. At first it was demeaning, but little did I know those five dollar gigs were actually ‘trial jobs’ that would convert into projects worth thousands. To this day it continues to connect me with clients from around the world more effectively than expensive marketing campaigns or time-consuming pitches.
Further reading on tools for writers:
9 Tools That No Serious Online Writer Should be Without: Creative tools to make your content strong.
8 Online Productivity Tools For Writers: To ensure you make the most of your time.
The Creative Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Tools You Can’t Write Without: A literal list of tools, software and tricks of the trade.