Author Resources

Amazon

One of my favorite research tools, KDSPY offers terrific insights into the potential of particular Amazon keywords and categories, the sales rankings of individual authors, and much more.

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Billed as “The Ultimate Kindle eBook Promotion Tool,” KDROI is an affordable web tool that lets you submit your free and 99 cent Kindle eBook promos to over 30 sites — at the same time!

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Better Book Tools provides a straightforward interface for authors to create attractive, well-formatted KDP book descriptions, and perform various kinds of Amazon market research.

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Email Marketing

One of the most affordable newsletter services around, MailerLite combines an intuitive user interface with a number of powerful features, including email automation, customizable landing pages, and more.

With your first 1,000 subscribers included, it’s a great option for authors starting out, as well as authors who are looking to lower their costs.

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If you’re looking for advanced automation and segmentation features, you should definitely give ActiveCampaign a try. I recently switched over from MailChimp, and I love it.

It’s not as intuitive to use at the start as MailerLite or MailChimp, but the features are fantastic for the price.

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OptinMonster offers some of the most powerful and customizable lead capture forms, including timed and exit-only popups, floating bars, and much more.

You can also personalize your sign-up forms based on visitor’s past behavior, and use split-testing to determine what works best and improve your results.

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One of the most versatile tools on this list, Sumo (formerly SumoMe) provides a suite of valuable web tools which are free to start, including lead generation forms, social media share buttons, notification bars, and more.

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Social Media

Designed to increase your social engagement, Stencil provides a simple interface for creating social media graphics, ads, banners, etc. Their database of premium images is immense — and you get 10 downloads every month for free!

But my favorite feature: you can create images from any website via their browser extension and share them directly on social media.

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Buffer is a great tool for authors looking to schedule their social media posts across multiple accounts and networks — at the same time. It can also optimize your sharing times, provide analytics on your most and least engaging posts, and reccomend content for you to share.

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Tired of of spending writing time playing with Facebook Ads? The AdEspresso platform not only optimizes your ads for you (based on criteria you specify), but provides great analytics to help you understand what’s working and what isn’t.

Note: This is a tool designed for intermediate and advanced marketers. Beginners beware.

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Facebook Lead Ads are one of the hottest methods for generating email signups, and the ConnectLeads Lifetime deal is the most affordable solution I’ve found to integrate your FB ads with your newsletter service to provide an immediate sign-up incentive.

Enjoy special access to the ConnectLeads Lifetime deal when you use the link below:

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Productivity

Evernote is great for brainstorming, taking notes, and saving articles from the web. By organizing various Notes into Notebooks (named, for instance, after a latest WIP), authors can easily organize and find their research notes when they need them. Oh, and the basic plan is free.

Enjoy a free month of Evernote Premium when you use the link below:

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Before I found LastPass, managing my passwords was a nightmare. The nifty browser extension effortlessly creates and stores unique, secure passwords for all of your sites — and automatically fills in your login forms.

Enjoy a free month of LastPass Premium when you use the link below:

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Having a professional work email (@yourname.com) is both good for branding and for improving the deliverability of your newsletter emails. With the Google G Suite, you get an email, 30gb of online storage, and more for just $5 / mo.

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Trello lets you organize your projects in a fun and visual way. You can use it to track your promotions, handle your personal to-dos, collaborate on tasks with a virtual assistant, manage your publication schedule, and more.

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Want to automatically track your Twitter mentions in a spreadsheet? Or save all of your reader emails in a single spreadsheet? Zapier connects just about all of your favorite apps together, helping you save time by automating repetitive tasks.

(Also see: IFTTT)

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Reader Engagement

Gleam is a great tool for running simple social media giveaways to grow your email list, or to up your following on Facebook, Amazon, BookBub, etc.

Here’s one reason: you can provide custom rewards (e.g. coupon codes, short stories, ebooks) to incentivize sharing and other actions you specify.

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UpViral is great for creating viral referral campaigns. With a built-in rewards system, the platform is designed to encourage an existing audience to share giveaways / contests via social media, helping authors grow their email lists and general awareness of their books. You can even offer custom prizes based on the number of new signups a reader refers!

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One of the most popular contest plugins for WordPress, KingSumo lets you create easy viral giveaways to grow your email list and increase your social media following.

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You’ll have to make this choice for yourself. BookFunnel and InstaFreebie both offer great tools for indie authors interested in safely distributing ebooks directly to readers (including easy-to-follow instructions for loading them onto an ereader) — super useful if you want to deliver ARC’s for review!

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Learn More about InstaFreebie »

Whether you’re looking to survey your readers or create registration forms for a street team or advanced readers group, Jotform is the best tool for the job (in my opinion). Free to start, it’s easy to use and extremely customizable.

(Also see: Google Forms.)

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If you want to inject your forms with a sense of fun and personality, it’s hard to find a better option than Typeform. Its unique interface makes it a great option for reader quizzes, trivia contests, website polls, and other interactive forms.

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Websites

Elegant Themes offers some of the most popular themes and plugins on the web, including the awesome Divi WordPress Theme, which powers this site.

The drag and drop Divi Visual Builder lets you quickly make live changes to your site on the frontend, while two of their plugins enable you to create attractive pop-ups and email signup forms, plus customizable social media share buttons.

Did I mention their customer support is also top-notch?

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After doing a whole bunch of research, we recently switched our web hosting to SiteGround… and couldn’t be happier. Rock-solid security features, plus amazing customer support via chat, email, and phone, means I can rest knowing my website is 100% secure.

Enjoy 60% off the regular price when you use the link below:

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You wouldn’t think there’s much reason to concern yourself over where to buy your domain name, but Hover somehow manages to make the process easier and less stresfull than any other provider I’ve dealt with.

Plus, WHOIS privacy is included with every domain, meaning you don’t have to fret over spammers finding your email and other personal information. Whew!

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WordPress Plugins

MyBookTable is a fantastic and easy-to-use plugin for authors who want to streamline the process of creating attractive pages for their books.

It integrates with just about every book retailer around, lets you easily include affiliate links wherever you’d like, can display reviews directly from Goodreads or Amazon — and even embed a Kindle Instant Preview of your book!

Need I say more?

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Don’t have a website yet, but want to promote or advertise your book? Booklaunch lets you create attractive book landing pages for free — or integrate them into your existing WordPress site at a low cost. It’s really quite nifty.

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One of the most popular WordPress plugins — ever — Yoast helps ensure your website content is optimized for search engines. They offer both free and paid versions, but the former should do the job just fine.

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If you want track your Google Analytics website data via your WordPress site, look no further than MonsterInsights (made by the same folks behind OptinMonster). Simple to setup — and free!

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Looking for total control over your WordPress website forms? Gravity Forms is arguably the best in the business. You’ll likely need to hire a developer to make your forms look the way you want, but the feature set (and pricing) is super.

You can create registration forms, quizzes, surveys — you name it!

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Another hugely popular WP plugin, JetPack offers a suite of free tools for website owners, helping with everything from design to social media, website speed, security, and beyond.

Honestly, it’s easier if you just read about it 😉

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The free Header and Footer plugin is perfect for anyone with a WordPress site who wants to run FB Ads and embed their Facebook Pixel themselves, so they can target ads to website visitors. Very useful and easy to configure.

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If you need to redirect web visitors from one page on your site to another, the free Redirection plugin does the job simply and easily.

Redirection = perfection!

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