You can certainly write a book with a stack of paper and a pen. But you can't run a successful author business that way!
In this article, I list the most important tools and services I use to run my multi-six-figure, one-person-author business.
It might look like a long list, but remember, tools are leverage. They enable you to do more with less. I've also been running my business full-time for over a decade, so I've added things over the years, changed tools and services, and adapted along the way. No doubt I will keep changing things as new options emerge.
Some of the links are affiliate links for products and services I use and recommend and for which I receive a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. But of course, you don't have to use my links!
Writing and editing
Publishing and Distribution
JD Smith Design — Jane does my book cover design and interior print design and formatting
Hindenberg Narrator — for audiobook mastering to ACX and Findaway standards
Premium hosting — WPEngine. Details on WordPress themes and more details here.
Canva — for designing and formatting images for the blog, podcast, and social media
Zoom — for recording interviews
Home studio booth — for recording the intro and solo episodes
Descript — for audio editing through text
Otter.ai — for AI transcription. I also have a VA, Rebecca, who formats the transcript for the podcast show notes. I have tried lots of different transcription services and will be experimenting with more as AI voice gets better for different accents.
Blubrry — for podcast hosting, distribution and reporting
YouTube.com/thecreativepenn — I mainly do audio-only for the podcast on YouTube, but occasionally make videos
Patreon.com/thecreativepenn — Patrons support the podcast and get an extra monthly Q&A
BuyMeACoffee.com/thecreativepenn — For ‘tips' when people appreciate what they learn from my free resources
Paid email list service: Written Word Media (mainly FreeBooksy, BargainBooksy, etc)
Amazon Ads: Outsourced through Reedsy. For non-fiction books and Pilgrimage only, as I have tried multiple times, but never got Amazon Ads to be profitable for my fiction as J.F. Penn.
Facebook Ads — I have outsourced these before, but I am currently back to running myself to my Shopify store. For training on ads, check out Mark Dawson's Ads for Authors course.
Buffer — social media scheduling
Business admin tools
Google Workspace — for email, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, Forms,
Other applications — Excel, MS Word, Numbers, , Pages, and Keynote for various functions
Dropbox — for file storage and organization
ConvertKit — for email marketing
Things — To Do list and organization tool
XERO — bookkeeping, accounting, invoicing (I also have a bookkeeping service and an accountant).
For banking and payments, I have multiple business bank accounts, plus PayPal and Wise. For the latter, I have multiple currency accounts for payments in different currencies, which is great for Amazon as you can set different bank accounts per country store.