Favorite Tools and Resources

http://www.nuance.com  – The link gives you access to several tools that are relatively inexpensive. They include Dragon Naturally Speaking which gives the ability to dictate to your computer. You can write without typing. I’ve used this program for over five years and it is pretty accurate. It isn’t perfect, but I have to edit when I type and it’s not much different from that. I love it because it gives me an alternative to typing. It can be expensive, but I use the Premium speech recognition software, not the more expensive Professional versions and have great results. They also have OmniPage Conversion which is a great program that you can scan printed pages into your computer and it types them into your Word program. I believe that some of the newest versions may be able to convert handwritten documents.

http://bitly.com – This tool enables you to shorten URLs. It is free.

http://hootsuite.com – I love this for helping me post a short update to several social networks at the same time. I can schedule book release tweets ahead of time and even link it with MailChimp, my newsletter manager. It has a huge number of apps available. Check it out. This is only one of many sites like this on the internet that you can use to save time.

http://www.vistaprint.com – What a great place to order business cards (sometimes for free). Design your own or use one of their design or modify one of their templates. Design a whole product line with their help in a couple of hours. Get posters, flyers, brochures — just about anything you want or need. They are moderately priced and ship quickly, even with the cheapest shipping option. I’ve received orders several days sooner than scheduled more than once. I know a lot of writers who use them. It’s a great place to get professional-looking bookmarks, too.

Are you looking for music or photographs you can use for your blog, website or book?

Try these … I like them a lot, but there are others as well.

http://royaltyfreemusic.com – a place to find music for book trailers

http://free-loops.com/ – another music resource

http://bigstockphoto.com – a great place to find photos for book covers, book trailers, flyers, brochures, blogs, and websites. You can purchase the rights for credits or get a subscription by the month for a specific number of photos during that 30-31 day period. You can search by subject and get the type or license you need to meet your needs. The membership is free. You only pay for the photographs you use. Some photos are free and they send you an email with a weekly free photo to download.

http://canstockphoto.com – this is a newer royalty free photo website that is a great resource. It is also easy to download to if you are a photographer.

http://www.fotosearch.com/ – this 20-year-old website has been providing royalty-free photographs for design graphics and is a great resource for writers.

http://istockphoto.com – This site also has royalty-free photos available and works similarly to Big Stock Photo

http://dreamstime.com – another royalty-free photos recourse


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