Writing And Publishing Resources

These writing and publishing resources and tools might help you on your author journey:

These Resources May Make Writing And Publishing EasierThese are writing and publishing resources, services, and products I’ve used.

Some links below are affiliate links, which means I make a small percentage if you buy through one of them. You can search for these services, products, and tools separately using your favorite search engine, though, if you prefer not to use my links.

Writing Tools And Resources

Word processing programs: I use Microsoft Word for most of my fiction writing. I like it mainly because its features are almost second nature to me. (I use it in my law practice as well.) Note that I’m a linear thinker. I write most of my scenes in order after I research and sort out major plot turns.

If you work in a more non-linear fashion you might prefer Scrivener, which I also use. Scrivener makes it easy to rearranges scenes and chapters. You can also save research and other notes within chapters and scenes. Scriver and Word both export docx files, which you’ll need for most submissions or to publish your work.

Help plotting your novel: A lot of writers struggle with sorting out their plots on first draft or on rewriting. My self-study course How To Plot Your Novel: From Idea To First Draft, which you can take at your own pace, is designed for plotters and discovery writers (or pantsers) alike. It focuses on your main characters and on creating 7 major plot points and turns. You might also find my Story Structure worksheets helpful. You can download them for free here.

Desks: For a comfortable writing area, I like using an adjustable computer desk. First, it’s easier to set it at a comfortable height for typing when you’re seated. (This is especially so if you’re shorter than the average man, as many desks are built for a man’s height.) Second, you can vary your routine by standing and working.

Mine is a Jarvis:

Jarvis Writing Desk with Cords

Pluses: It’s easy to adjust and the company offers helpful on-line tutorials for assembling. And when I had an issue, I got to talk to a real person. I also found the price reasonable.

Minuses: As you can see in the photo to the right, the cords get a bit messy. The company sends fasteners to keep the cords in order but all of mine fell off.

Monitors: I highly recommend a separate monitor. Mine is a Hewlett Packard VN240a monitor with a built-in adjustable stand so I can set it at eye level.

Keyboards: I love my Microsoft Natural keyboard. It takes some getting used to as it has a slight V-shape. I can’t promise it’s right for you. But using it eased my carpal tunnel and tendinitis symptoms in my hands, wrists, and arms. A newer similar model comes with a mouse:


I created this website myself using WordPress and hosting it on Bluehost, which is where I currently maintain my domain names for this site and my author website.

If you have your own website, Pretty Links is a great plug in for WordPress. You can use it to create attractive links that are easy for readers to remember. For example, here’s the link to get my free story structure worksheets:


As you can see, not easy for someone hearing it to remember. But I used Pretty Links to create the link WritingAsASecondCareer.com/Story. That’s a much easier link for listeners to remember. When they type that in, they’ll be taken to the worksheet landing page. (Go ahead and try it if you want.)

Finally, while I like to do a lot of things in my author business myself, fixing tech issues isn’t one of them. I rely on Nate Hoffelder, an IT professional who is also an author. If there’s any problem, I email him and he handles it, often faster than I could have signed into my site.

Marketing And Publishing Resources

Formatting: Vellum is a great program if you have a Mac to format your docx file for ebook or print publication. I find it easy to use. You can also create large print editions. (On PC, I’ve heard you can use it with Mac in Cloud but I haven’t tried that.)

If you don’t want to do your own formatting, you can use a formatting service. Before I got Vellum, 52 Novels formatted all my books. They did a great job. I simply like being able to update my books whenever I want without contacting anyone else.

Covers: Damonza did my Awakening supernatural thriller book covers and I’m thrilled with them. I’ve also gotten great covers through Fiverr where I knew exactly what I wanted and what images I wanted to use. And, for my non-fiction, I started out creating my own on Canva.com, which is free to use.

Proofreading: If possible, find a proofreader who works with a lot of fiction writers. Otherwise, you may find someone who is great at catching errors but doesn’t understand the times you break grammar rules for stylistic reasons. (It takes practice for a proofreader to know what rules to bend and which not to.) I use SMR Proofreading. You may also want to check any online or in-person writers group you belong to for recommendation.

Courses: The best online courses I’ve taken on publishing and marketing are those at The Creative Penn. Founder Joanna Penn shares information in a clear, useful way with an encouraging attitude. She both inspires and informs.

Once you’ve published, Bookfunnel is a great way to distribute advance review copies or a reader magnet for those who sign up for your email list.

I love Publisher Rocket for figuring out keywords and categories for your books. This applies both to those you choose when you upload your books and to ones you’ll use if you run ads on Amazon, Google, or other platforms.

To learn more, view Publisher Rocket tutorials here.

If you want to learn to run ads on Amazon, I found Bryan Cohen’s book Self-Publishing With Amazon Ads the most helpful. It’s easy to follow and told in an engaging way. There’s plenty of analysis there for those who love data and spreadsheets, but you don’t need to know or love those things.

Bryan Cohen also offers book description services (which helped increase my book sales), cover design, and courses on Amazon ads. More about his services here.


Computers: I use a Lenovo Thinkpad Laptop. (Mine’s about five years old now but here’s a similar one.) In my law practice I found ThinkPads more durable and reliable than the other brands I tried. I’m sure there are less pricy options out there that may work just as well, but I don’t have experience with any.

In addition to the Lenovo I have an iMac so I can run certain programs. Because it’s pricy to buy both an iMac and a PC-based system, I shopped through Mac of All Trades. There you can get refurbished computers and other Apple equipment.

Printers: After wearing out several printers meant for home use I startedb buying Hewlett Packard Laserjet printers. My P3015 lasted me for many years. It’s been discontinued, but you can find refurbished ones or look for printers with similar features. I just upgraded to a Color LaserJet Pro M479fdw. It also scans multiple sheets at a time, runs double sided copies automatically, and faxes. If you are using yours only for writing you probably don’t need those features. (I also use mine for my teaching where I need to print and scan student writing.) This is the new one:

I hope that’s helpful!