An Author's Starter Kit

An Author's Starter Kit

You may think as an author, all you might need is Google Docs, and you're done. But if you're serious about writing and self-publishing, you will probably need a few tools to help you get 'er done. 


I've tried most of the tools out there, but these are some of the tools that I love and adore and use for every single book:


  • Plotting is made easy with Plottr. They have a TON of visual outlines, story structure bibles, character arc templates, series planning, and cloud and device syncing. Even better, you can drag/drop your events and set it up however you want. For me, I built The Curse of Beauty off the timeline and the character arcs. Anyway, it's an amazing tool!  And because I love Plottr so much, I signed up to be an affiliate. The link is a referral link, so if you sign-up through my link, I get a small commission at no cost to you.
  • I draft everything in Scrivener. Yes, you can export/import your Plottr plot right into Scrivener. Scrivener has a bit of a learning curve, but I can track the progress, POVs, timeline, research links, character charts, etc. I can do pretty much everything in Scrivener. Scrivener also connects with ProWritingAid, which I mention as a nice-to-have in the section below.
  • After drafting, you edit. And for me, edits occur in MS Word. In case you were asking, yes, Scrivener exports into MS Word.
  • Formatting made easy with Vellum. It is software made for Mac. If you don't have a Mac or don't want to rent Mac space, I recommend using Atticus. And why yes, you can import your finalized, edited MS Word manuscript straight into Vellum or Atticus. And if you ever need to export your book, Vellum exports to MS Word. Both Vellum and Atticus create all the files you need for Amazon exclusivity and wide distribution. 
  • I use Canva and BookBrush for book covers, creative design work, developing book trailers, author stationery, author merchandise, and ad creation.
  • Next, you need a website. I personally use GoDaddy Websites+Marketing for my website because I've had it forever, but I've heard good things about Nrdly, and Nrdly was made and designed specifically for authors.
  • Once you've got a website, you need to start growing a newsletter and getting an email list. My go-to is Mailerlite. They are free up to 2,000 subscribers and then reasonably priced after that. They have amazing drag-and-drop features, and I all around love the simplicity of the tool.
  • BookFunnel is amazing for growing your newsletter list, distributing reader magnets, sharing in group promotions, selling direct, sharing audio teasers, etc. If you are just starting out, I'd go with StoryOrigin. I used it for a long time, but eventually, I needed the features of BookFunnel. And yep, it integrates with Mailerlite.
  • I use HeroPost for my social media scheduling. I bought a lifetime access license for really cheap during a Black Friday sale, and it's been good for the price. The only platform it does not integrate with at this time is TikTok.
  • Author Helper Suite (formerly Readerlinks) is amazing for tracking sales, ad spend ROI, book links, etc. If you are just starting out, though, I'd go with the BookReport Chrome add-in since it's free.
  • I use for maintaining my financial and accounting books. The desktop version is free, which is amazing, and it's completely customizable.
  • Then you need an ad service to reach readers. I use Amazon Advertising, Meta, Pinterest, TikTok, and BookBub, so you'll need to create business accounts on the platforms you use to advertise and probably take some free classes or paid classes to figure out how to run them effectively.
  • Lastly, you need an empty bookcase so you can start piling up the books you write, and give you a sense of fulfillment and pride in your work. It matters because Imposter Syndrome is real, and somehow, casting your eyes on everything you've done sometimes keeps you from going insane.

Here are some tools you don't exactly need but I find extremely useful.

  • is the brainwave magic to get my creative juices flowing. I use it for deep work and creative work. Amazing! And the link is a referral link so you can get your first month for only $1.
  • NaNoWriMo is a free tool that tracks all of your projects and word counts and shares in an author community. It stands for National Novel Writing Month (which is in November). 
  • Trello is an amazing productivity tool that tracks to-do lists and obligations. It's free, and I'd be so unorganized without it.
  • Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, DesignPhotos, Pixabay, Freesvg, and Unsplash are great resources for image licensing for book covers, trailers, and ads if you can't find exactly what you are looking for in Canva and BookBrush. 
  • is an amazing site with all of the thesauruses by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi online, and they have many storyboards, character arcs, and miscellaneous templates you can use too.
  • Grammarly Pro and ProwritingAid are my go-to for self-editing. I'd get the lifetime license for Prowriting Aid. Grammarly Pro is a monthly or annual subscription. I find both pieces of software catch errors and rewrites that the other doesn't, so I do recommend both for a good self-edit.
  • If you'd like a signature logo like mine, I went with


  • Lastly, because I don't have the best handwriting, I recently asked MySign Studio to have a professional develop a really cool signature with a training guide so I could sign my books. 

So there you go! Best of luck with your writing endeavors. Hope my toolkit helps you!

Take care, and happy creating!

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