Online authors’ tools

I have some unusual and interesting websites for authors today. These websites perform a variety of services for users.

Spruce the tweet up

I really like this one, because I go with the belief that images improve your tweets. Spruce is an online site that enables you to make “instant” images with text for Twitter. The image made is perfectly sized for tweets, which means you can post it straightaway. You can choose an image from the site’s gallery or upload one of your own.

The software gives you typeface (font) options, but there seems to be no option for selecting font size. However, that is a minor irritant in what is otherwise a great site for writers who are tweeters. You can drag larger images around to frame the part that you like best, and you can drag the text around to whichever part of the image you prefer.

spruce for twitter

spruce for twitter

The ability to add text to your image gives you one way of getting around the Twitter limitation of 140 characters. If you are tweeting about your latest book, for example, you could use the image to highlight your book title or a blurb. You can download images to your computer or tweet them straightaway.

Camera 51 (not sure why 51)

Camera 51 is an Android app that helps boost the quality of photographs by suggesting the optimal framing option for users. The app works on principles such as the Rule of Thirds. You can tap and select up to 3 objects on the screen, and the app will work out the best frame given your inputs. The app also warns you of any large objects that may obstruct the final layout of your frame boundaries.

camera51

camera51

You never know when you may snap a picture that makes a super background for your next book cover.

Absent minded? Get nudged

Nudgemail is an online site that you nudge into nudging you back with a reminder at a specific time (1000 pm); on a specific day in the coming week (Wednesday); on a specific date further down the calendar (10302014); after a specific time span of minutes, hours or days (4h); at recurring hourly, daily, weekly or monthly intervals in the future (everymonday), etc. There is an extensive menu of options for when you want to get nudged. You can submit the time option either as part of the recipient’s email address ([email protected]) or as the subject line (Dec 24).

You get things going by sending the site an email with your first nudge asking for a nudge. That appears to be all the subscription needed. The site is in Beta at the moment, and is offering free unlimited nudge emails to subscribers. There are hints that the site may restrict users and have a paid version when it progresses beyond Beta.

nudgemail

nudgemail

Nudgemail can be integrated with Google Calendar and with your time zone.

Paste and share

Justpasteit may be useful for authors collaborating with other folks on content. It is simple to use: you upload a file from your computer or copy and paste content from an online site. You communicate the URL to other people. The URL can be customized, and you can also protect your contents with a password. Justpasteit allows you to insert images as well as audio and videos.

Content you upload is editable on a WYSIWYG platform with an extensive range of options, as you can see from the image below.

justpasteit

justpasteit

You can download content as PDF files.

Conversion

No, we are not talking about religious conversion or online sale page conversion.

Zamzar is an online site for converting file formats without having to download software. The site really does offer extensive options in terms of both input file and output file types, as this image of the highlights shows.

zamzar

zamzar

For authors, the ability to convert PDF files to other formats, including word documents, should be of special interest.

Duck!

The oddly named Duckduckgo site offers you an online search engine that does not track you. I am seriously thinking about using this engine full time. I tried a few random searches both on Duckduckgo and Google; the search results tallied considerably. While Duckduckgo did not have the Google “In the news” and “Images” features, it did offer an interesting strip of clickable related topics at the top of the search results, as you can see in the image.

duckduckgo

duckduckgo

I will be trying out this search engine a lot more in the days to come, you can bet on that. I really like the lack of clutter on the Duckduckgo page. Again, similar to Google.

Ah, life

Want to maintain an online journey with daily entries? Want to get prompted through email to write your entry for the day?

Ahhlife is a tool that lets you use your email as a way of writing and maintaining a daily journal. You need to open an account, and once you do so, you are sent an email every day asking you how your day went. You reply to that email with descriptions of everything about your day you feel worth noting, and your inputs are stored.

You can also input directly to the site by logging in.

ahhlife

ahhlife

One hitch is that the site presently works with Gmail accounts only. Another is that the site accepts text content only; according to the site, other formats will be offered soon as a premium feature.

What’s IMDB got to do with it?

Ever been stuck getting a book blurb or description right? Wondered how to accommodate the soul of a 50.000 word novel in a 50-word blurb? Try IMDB.

No, not to take a break by watching a movie. To take a look at the loglines for some movies in the same genre as your book. Say you have written a romance on the seas. You go to IMDB and look up the logline for Titanic.

imdb

imdb

That log line is the basis for your book description, but needs to be reworked a bit to be more specific. Remember, your description should talk about a protagonist with an active goal and an antagonist who poses a threat.

Right, folks, now go investigate the sites up there. And in the comments, let us know what other sites you like, especially sites that can save authors time, money and labor.

Online authors’ tools

by Venkatesh Iyer time to read: 4 min
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