8 Tools For Writers: Freelance Secrets

tools for writers

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

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.


  • Reply November 8, 2016

    Duncan Waldron

    Thanks for this list, Cate; it looks like there is so much useful stuff to be explored here. Buzzsumo looks like it might be a lifesaver, as I strive to make a noise in blogland and elsewhere; my day job requires a comprehensive email signature, but I like the addition of an image, so I’ll be checking out Wisestamp. Finally, you have made me think again about Fiverr: I hadn’t considered the ‘trial job’ aspect.

    • Reply November 10, 2016

      Cate Hogan

      Thanks Duncan. Each of the tools remains invaluable to me – I hope you find them equally useful. Wisestamp is a definite gem. 🙂

  • Reply December 1, 2015


    Great ideas, Cate, as always! 😉
    If you liked Similarities, you might also like Unplag plagiarism checker. I personally use it for editing and content creation. Can’t believe some writers still use Google to find similarities… Hope they’re doing well in 20th century 🙂 🙂 🙂 Just kidding. But these tools are really awesome.

    • Reply December 2, 2015

      Cate Hogan

      Thank you Miss Leona! Glad you enjoyed the article. There are so many new tools for freelancers coming out every day – it’s hard to keep up! I will definitely check out Unplag – sounds great.

  • Reply November 28, 2015


    Great article! Very useful tools! I’m excited already!

    • Reply November 29, 2015

      Cate Hogan

      Thanks Maya! Us freelance writers and editors need to stick together 🙂

  • Reply November 21, 2015

    Nicola Cassidy

    Just got to read this now Cate, as promised, and it’s excellent. Lots of really useful sites that I’d never even heard of. Thanks for sharing! Nicci x

    • Reply November 22, 2015

      Cate Hogan

      I’m so pleased to hear that Nicci, thanks for checking it out. It’s great for writers to support one another. 🙂

  • Reply November 18, 2015

    Mary McCall

    Wonderful article! I’m bookmarking this one so I can come back. Thank you!

    • Reply November 18, 2015

      Cate Hogan

      Thank you Mary! Glad you liked it 🙂

  • Reply July 18, 2015

    J Edward

    Awesome article, Kate!

    • Reply July 19, 2015

      Cate Hogan

      Glad you liked it! 🙂

  • Reply June 1, 2015

    Jo Sweeney

    Evernote has changed my life, lists and planning on steroids!!!
    Great tips in this article I’ll be checking out buzzsumo & similarsites.

    • Reply June 2, 2015

      Cate Hogan

      I’ve heard a lot of good things about Evernote – thanks for the hot tip!

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