Without a lot of introduction or fluff, I thought I’d share some tools that I find very helpful and would encourage you to consider if you are an author. Feel free to respond and add to this list…
For edits, I depend on three things: My own review and revisions. A good editing/grammar review using one of the two applications (listed below) that I like best. A good (and paid) professional editor. Here are the applications I like best:
- Grammarly. This program integrates into your browser and applications, giving you real-time edits. It will give you a comprehensive report if you like but what I like best is its “correct-as-you-go” features. It runs while you work and automatically points out blaring errors while giving suggestions to fix. In fact, I’m using it right now. Website: http://grammarly.com
- Autocrit. I’ve actually used this one the longest. I love that I can paste all or parts of my manuscript into the web-based application and it will spit out a plethora of results that tells me all my weak points. I find repeated words, repeated phrases, passive sentences, sections of dull writing, etc. Additionally, it gives a wonderful readability score that ensures I’m writing at the grade-level appropriate for my target readership/genre. I have also used it to help other writers improve. Website: https://www.autocrit.com/
There are several other comparable products that are very good. Find one that fits your writing style and learn to use it well. Your writing will improve as a result.
Regarding paid editors. I would encourage you to research this and pick carefully. A good editor should be knowledgeable of your genre and have editing experience with that genre…I say genre twice to point out the importance. How do you know? Check their website or go to Amazon and search for their name. A lot of writers credit their editors. If you write contemporary romance, don’t choose an editor that primarily edits fantasy or sci-fi and vice versa. Most editors can edit anything but prefer to edit what they enjoy reading, so you’ll get the best result by choosing wisely. You want to also make sure the editor gives the feedback you’re seeking. I always prefer to get a good story development critique rather than a line edit. The line edit can be achieved through one of the above apps – a good story critique is worth tons.
I like to create images for blog posts, website, book cover ideas, and sometimes video trailers. It motivates me to do this though most times a traditional publisher will create the cover (much better) and not use mine. If you’re an indie author, these tools are great…and easy.
- Canva.com. Until recently I was a huge Adobe fan, and it’s still the king of professional publishing. Unfortunately, there’s a big learning curve and I don’t have the time to spend learning when I’d rather be writing. I found Canva.com a couple years ago and loved it! It’s easy to learn, completely web-based, and they provide a ton of templates that you can quickly revise to fit your needs. They even have fantastic templates for various social media avenues like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Plus if you’re building a website and still working on branding, they have some great templates for that as well. Check it out at https://canva.com.
- Wondershare Filmora. This is for creating simple yet elegant video content. You can incorporate your own images/video or purchase content from various websites (I use shutterstock). Then spiff it up with titles, text, and even overlay some terrific features like flashes of light, snowflakes, or raindrops. Once you have the content looking how you wish, further make it appealing by adding music or voice over. This is a lot of fun and easy to use.
I will also state that I still use Adobe for some of my work but when in a rush, these tools usually win out over others for me.
Try them out and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!