The #AtoZChallenge 2017 Theme at Operation Awesome is the Publishing Journey.
Today's guest post is by Leslie Hauser.
New Tools Every Author Should Be Using
Welcome to another day of the 2017 April A to Z Blogging Challenge. I'm super excited for this opportunity to write a guest post for Operation Awesome and talk about something that I've had a lot of experience with lately: Being an author.
Being an author can sometimes feel like this:
But I've discovered through my journey that a few tools can make life as an author a lot easier and open up a lot of doors:
As an author, you have several paths to publication: 1) secure an agent as a means to be published by one of the major publishing houses, 2) submit on your own to smaller publishing houses, and 3) self-publishing. No matter which you choose, you need to keep track of the process.
If you are querying agents, then QueryTracker is for you. QueryTracker allows you to find agents listed in its database. This will help you narrow your search to include only agents who accept your genre. It also has a feature that allows you to track and organize your queries, and you can review agent data such as response time and preferences. This is all free! ItÕs such a great resource. If you want to track more than one novel or are into data reports, you might want to upgrade to the Premium membership. If not, then the free version has all you need.
Social media is so important for an author. You have to get your name out there, and some publishers won't feel comfortable taking a chance on you if you don't have a social media presence. There are many choices: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Goodreads, Snapchat, Litsy, Bloglovin', LinkedIn, Google+, and your own blog. It's a ton!
As an author, you want to make as many contacts in the writing and blogging worlds as possible. This will mean participating in blog hops, weekly memes, and posting some attention-getting posts on social media. When I started doing this, all these people had such fun graphics to go along with their posts. If you're not much of a graphic artist like me, you might also be wondering, How do they do this? Then I stumbled upon PicMonkey. I looked into it, and it's been one of the greatest tools I have now. I create graphics and announcements for blog posts; I add text to pictures for weekly quote posts on Instagram; and I'm able to create Facebook banners and other site-specific graphics that don't look all wonky when I try to upload them.
This is a cover image I made in PicMonkey for my weekly Photo Stories post on Niume (another tool explained below!).
If you want to have great blog posts and use PicMonkey for personalized graphics, you need pictures. But with all the copyright laws, it becomes a little scary and confusing. What can you use? What kind of attribution is correct? This problem was solved for me when I discovered Pixabay. All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. This means you are free to use them! I always try to link back to the profile of the person who posted the photo as a courtesy. By far, this is the best free-use photo site I've found. It has the most choices, and I canÕt think of a time I've been looking for a photo and haven't found it there.
I make my weekly literary quotes with pictures from Pixabay.
Overall, I'd say being an author is exciting, but it can also be extremely overwhelming. Hopefully some of these tools will help make your journey a little more manageable, too. Good luck!
Leslie Hauser teaches middle school English and history. Though originally from Ohio, she currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with her dog Mr. Darcy. Her debut novel CHASING EVELINE releases 2017 from Pen Name Publishing. Visit Leslie at www.lesliehauser.com.