The truth is that writers need precious few tools in order to deliver their message.
A pen and a piece of paper would be sufficient, and frankly is far more than what many people have.
But I’m guessing that you want a few things to make your life easier and get you kick started into the business of writing?
So here are some tools which will help you along the way, most of them to do with computers. Some of these are affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission if you sign up after clicking on these links. If you do – thanks!
Blogging for Authors
The truth is that you don’t need your own blog in order to write, but it’s probably a good idea. You could easily get started on Medium or LinkedIn for free, but the problem there is that you don’t have full control over your own stuff.
For something that has a fairly shallow learning curve but the power to grow with you, start a wordpress blog.
You’ll need a domain name (like wordsbychris.com, except you can’t have that one) and a host (someone to store your files and make them available to the internet).
Head over to Siteground and they’ll sort you out on both fronts. It’s not the fastest hosting available, but for entry level blogging it’s a great place to be. If you’re looking at enterprise level web hosting then try Pressidium (that’s what I use here).
WordPress Plugins for Authors and Writers
When you first start your website you’re going to go a little plugin crazy – installing stuff left, right and centre. I suggest you restrain yourself and install as few plugins as possible.
There are a few WordPress plugins that will make your life easier:
- Akismet (free) – to keep the spam down
- Yoast (free or premium) – to help you with search engine optimization stuff
- Author Pro (free) – to help you sell your books (NB – I’ve only tested this with Genesis themes, for which it was made – see below)
- WP Forms (free or premium) – an easy contact form plugin
- Monster Insights (free or premium) – to hook your site up to Google analytics with a minimum of pain
- Social Warfare – for social sharing buttons that work
WordPress Themes for Authors
This site is built using the GeneratePress theme and its premium plugin. Those should give you most of what you’re after, but do require a bit of manual labour to get things “just so”.
If I had a close second, I would build an author website using the Genesis Framework and the Author Pro theme. I like Genesis and StudioPress in particular because of the way they pay attention to fonts and ease of reading. A tonne of websites by authors are built with tiny fonts, hard to read text and weird layouts that make life difficult for the readers. I don’t get that – if you’re an author, you want people to read stuff. So make sure your site makes reading as easy as possible.
Email Marketing for Writers
As you get into the heady world of the internets you’re going to want to start collecting email addresses.
Even if you don’t understand why just yet, I suggest you do it anyway.
For ease of use, cost-effectiveness and general appeal I recommend you check out ConvertKit.
If you want something that offers more power, bells and whistles (which, honestly, you probably don’t need) then take a look at ActiveCampaign.