Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is "Updated writing tools/apps - what's new and different in your writing world."
I don’t use any tools or apps in my writing other than the keyboard (which gets replaced several times a year since I literally bang away on the keys as if I was still typing on the old Royal typewriter I got when I was 8!), the laptop and WORD. Sometimes I might actually use a pencil and a piece of paper for the odd note here and there.
Everything else is up to my Muse…who is housed in my own brain, not on a computer or other device.
I’m not much for apps in the rest of my author life either. I’m on Facebook and Twitter as places to connect with other authors and my readers. I have an old fashioned Wordpress blog but it works for my purposes. I have an Instagram account, where I post daily (usually earrings of which I have hundreds of pairs, cat photos, book snippets and flowers) and a Pinterest account where I forget to post. I tried Books+Main (exactly – who has really heard of it, especially in the scifi romance world???) I’m open to new things but not exactly a person who rushes out to seek and exploit them.
I use Canva a lot. It’s a program for making designs, documents, graphics etc. In conjunction with that and my other social media I also use DepositPhoto for stock photos to give my posts pizzazz without worrying about copyright infringement issues. (They license the photos and I trust them. So far, so good.)
I like Canva as for me it’s pretty self-intuitive and it fits my skill level. And my patience quotient! Which is really important because I am not at all patient. I want to get in, do the thing I came to do, download it and exit the program. I’m sure Canva has all kinds of potential and capabilities I never touch but I’m not the type of person to log and play and try things out. I’m very mission focused. I need a promo graphic for the new book – GO. Make it, post it, move on to the next thing.
There’s a tool named Book Brush which many of my fellow authors swear by and I did sit through an excellent private demo by one of their inhouse experts. I saw all the cool features and the “overlay this/tint that/animate the other thing and here are our 10,000 backgrounds”…but for me it’s just too much. I did try it out, but it’s not self-intuitive on my level, whatever weird and idiosyncratic level that may be, so I got frustrated, I knew I could have done what I needed to do on Canva faster and been done…so I didn’t pursue Book Brush any further.
I have used Book Funnel maybe three times, when author friends invited me to join specific scifi romance giveaways. The thing is, I have a newsletter but I only send it out when I have a new release of my own. It’s also a very small, organically grown list. So on the list of ‘sharing’ that BF tracks and reports back to organizers, I show up as pretty much a freeloader – I’m there but not sharing. Except I am, just on my various other platforms BF doesn’t track! I’m always very clear up front with the organizer about where I will share the BF if they include me. So I don’t do many BF’s and that’s fine with me, although I’m always honored to be invited.
I use Mail Chimp for my newsletter but I don’t actually use it – I have a lovely person who prepares my NL for me after I write the content and sends it out. She swears laughingly that it’s too complicated for me and she’s probably right.
I still use Triberr (a social media sharing tool) to share blog posts but it’s basically a legacy tool that I expect to go away at some point. It’s time has passed, at least in my humble opinion.
I’m going to have to learn to Zoom and fast, because I’m doing both a book reading and a scifi romance panel for the upcoming online, free AMAZINGCON being put on June 12-14 by the AMAZING STORIES MAGAZINE. "A different con for a different world." I contribute to their online blog and I’m excited about doing the reading and Q&A session (I’m going to read from Aydarr, the first book in my award winning Badari Warriors series about genetically engineered soldiers of the far future and the human women they love) and the panel discussion. I have New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author S. E. Smith and USA Today Best Selling Author Pauline B. Jones on my scifi romance panel – WOOT!
Lots of other fun content on the conference’s schedule too, weighted more to science fiction than the romance.
So far I’m totally inexperienced with Zoom but I know I need a good background and that there’s a mute button. Wish me luck!
(And check out the AMAZINGCON site for more information…)