Hey everyone! I’ve decided to put together a list of free resources that I use. Some of these may be helpful for writers or anyone active with a website, blog, or other social media. I hope that some of these sites can help you too. Why only seven and not a nice, whole number like five or ten? Well, because that’s how many I came up with!
Both of these sites do the same job. They take your long URL link and shorten into something that works much better for Tweets, Facebook posts, or anywhere where you’d prefer a shortened link. I just started using this method for my tweets and I love it! I find it makes posting links in Facebook posts much cleaner, too.
Mailchimp is a great website. They offer a mailing system if you want to send out a newsletter. I mail out a monthly one to fans and Mailchimp makes it easy. Mailchimp allows you to customize your form then either through a link or embedding code, you can have people sign up for your newsletter. You can also design an autoresponder that mails automatically when someone signs up as well which is a useful. When you’re ready to make a newsletter you create a new campaign. All you do is write your newsletter, then at a click of a button Mailchimp sends out your newsletter to everyone who’s signed up. Easy, efficient, and I love it!
I use social media icons for my website. I recently integrated media icons and I found an excellent source that offers free icons; however, there are many free icon sets out there for you to use. You can even go directly to places like Twitter and Facebook to create different kinds of shareable buttons. Social Media Icons allow you to offer your web visitors a chance to share your web page.
Widgetbox is a nifty little site that lets you create photo slideshows or countdowns to your book’s release, among other things. If you want a shareable widget that has your book cover on it with the countdown to its release day, then this is the widget for you.
If you are an author and you haven’t utilized Goodreads then I’d consider it. Goodreads is author friendly and offers many perks. Once you create an account and add all of your books to your page, you can customize it by adding social media links, your bio, any videos you have and more. Goodreads offers a place to have paperback giveaways, start discussions on any of your titles, or invite people to events. All of these services are free and it’s a great resource to use.
A great tool for an author (or possibly even a cover designer or editor) to use to get anonymous feedback from your “clients”. With Survey Monkey you can create, design, and ask any questions you like. I have had book surveys on my website for a long time now. I’ve noticed that people do use them, though not every day. I only check on it weekly. It’s usually used by avid fans and since they anonymously send the information they are more likely to be honest. I like to ask questions such as: What did you not like about [book name/series name/my work]? I can sometimes get some honest answers that help me to rethink things I do in order to make myself a better writer.
Rafflecopter is common among review sites and bloggers. This is the site to use if you want to host a giveaway. You can customize it (though to a greater extent if you purchase it) so that readers/fans/anyone can enter to win what ever you’re giving away. In return you can ask them to leave a comment, tweet, or like something on Facebook. I have used these to give away ebooks before (and erotic cookies!). You can set the start and end date and the program will choose winners for you. It’s very easy to learn and to use. Also, many readers are used to seeing giveaways in this format so it’s nice to use something that people are familiar with.
Well that’s my list, folks. I hope you learned about a new tool you might want to try. If you have any free resources that you like to use then leave a comment and share.
T. A. Grey