Guest blogs and bloggers / tech tips for writers

My Favorite 5 Tech Tools for Writers

As I was pondering whether to participate in this year’s #AtoZ Challenge, I ran across this article I wrote for Ronel (at Ronel the Mythmaker) for her T entry in the A to Z Challenge. I love talking tech but generally bore friends and family with it so was beyond excited when Ronel invited me to discuss it as much as I wanted. In case you missed it last year, here’s a reprise:

These are five of my favorite tech tools for writers:

self edit1. A good editing program

Whether you’re self-published or agented, you want your manuscript as clean as possible. You can edit it yourself, use beta readers, or pray, but one more option to include in your toolkit is a good online editing program. Often, these ask you to copy-paste your text into a dialogue box on their website and they take it from there. Sometimes, you upload your entire manuscript. What they do varies from simply checking your grammar and spelling to analyzing pacing, word choice, and more. I like Grammarly for basics and AutoCrit for more detail.

See my Grammarly review here.

2. A digital deviceipad tips

I know lots of people who write the first draft of their novels with paper-and-pencil but almost always, the next version is completed on some sort of digital device. That might be a Mac, PC, iPad, Chromebook, laptop, or in some cases a dedicated word processor like the Retro Freewrite or Alphasmart. Pick one or more that work for you, doesn’t matter which as long as it’s digital  and allows you to type and edit your manuscript.

See my reviews here for Chromebooks, iPads

3. Google Forms

Google Forms are an easy digital way to collect information from readers, sort it, and throw it into a spreadsheet. They’re professional-looking, intuitive, quick to create, and can be personalized to your needs. I use them to collect data for blog hops, curate my newsletter list, ask for feedback, sign up interested readers for an upcoming book, and more. There’s just no reason to struggle through this sort of design by yourself anymore.

See my Google Forms review and another form program I like, JotForms.

4. Canva

It’s hard enough writing a novel and bringing it to publication, without then being forced to also market it. That includes banners, logos, fliers, headers, announcements–yikes! Years ago, I knew I had to reform when my kindest beta reader wrote, “Is the flier supposed to look like that? No–really, I like it!” Right. I found Canva.com. Canva provides all the tools writers need to create headers, banners, Facebook placards, Twitter tweets, informal book covers, and the myriad of marketing materials that are part and parcel of publishing a book. It provides templates, size options, samples, even a design school–all for free. And it didn’t take long to get used. Now, I create what I need usually in less than five minutes. You heard that right. Try it out.

See my Canva review.

5. Book Trailer Program

Book trailers are quite popular because movies are a nice way to get readers excited about your book. If you’re creating your own, you want a program that is easy to use with a shallow learning curve, looks professional, and is as free as possible. I’ve seen a lot of options for this task, everything from Animoto to Tellagami to even a storyboard program like Storyboard That!

More tech for writers:

Best-in-Class Digital Storytelling Tools

8 Digital Tools for Writing

5 Must-have tools for Writers Conferences


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and Born in a Treacherous Time, first in the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Survival of the Fittest, March 2019, first in the Crossroads Trilogy. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

45 thoughts on “My Favorite 5 Tech Tools for Writers

  1. Pingback: Tech Tips for Writers #172: 3-step Solution to Computer Problems | WordDreams...

  2. This is such an interesting post, and I’ve long pondered should I utislise more digital devices and platforms to manage my writing, be it blogging or writing my first book. A good editiing program is essential especially if your manuscript is one of a fair amount of words and pages. I’ve always used Word and realised that is just doesn’t cut it when you have so many ideas buzzing around your head as you are editing.

    I’ve actually never heard of Google Forms. It sounds like a good way to collate lists and sort out followers or lists categorically. These days so many things are digital by default – and a lot of the writing us writers do today is on a computer (though we may still jot down ideas on pen and paper) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Google Forms and Canva are lifesavers for me, especially in the marketing end of writing. I wish someone would carry that water for me but it just ain’t happenin’. You’ll see Google Forms next month when I request help launching my book. I love that tool.

      Like

  3. You’ve mentioned Canva before, a tool I plan to look into. I’m not sure I’d trust something like Grammarly over an astute person – though anyone is likely to fail at some point. I think the best advice is to make sure that someone/some thing takes a close look at your work before you publish.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The first time I typed something I thought I had come up with that sounded correct and fluid in every way – the computer tore it to shreds !! So I hope even non-professional writers such as myself take your advice!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jacqui, these are five terrific tools and I’m going to look into Canva and Google Forms … both are things I’ve wanted to create but not quite sure where to start. Thank you so much! I have a question regarding Grammarly and this is about security and privacy. I was about to put it on my iPad and I read the declaration and it seems it can access everything I write, so even the passwords, bank codes etc are scanned and saved. Also even after you disable Grammarly this is still effective. I didn’t go ahead with the app in the end. Do you have reservations?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are my top two, Annika. In marketing, I don’t think I could get it done without them.

      I actually only use it online. My bank access I do from a different computer that is more shut down. That’s probably why I didn’t worry about that.

      Good point.

      Liked by 1 person

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