Resources

RESOURCES

​FULL DISCLOSURE: I AM AN AFFILIATE OF MANY SERVICES LINKED BELOW!

​Being an affiliate means that I may be paid a small commission when you click on the link and order products or services from these companies. There is no increased cost to you. I only promote products and services which either I have used, or which are used or have been used by people whose opinions I respect.

​Domain Names

Recommended
NameCheap

Namecheap.com

If you are an author, you are going to need a website to promote your books.​ The first step in building a website is purchasing a domain name.  I have used various domain name registrars over the years, but NameCheap has been my favorite. I have used Enom, I have used Register. I have used GoDaddy. Notice that I'm not linking to any of them, and that is because they have all been less suited to my needs than NameCheap. First, as the name implies, they are inexpensive, second, they provide Free Privacy protection, third they don't hold your domain hostage if you forget to renew it immediately, they give you an opportunity to redeem it. They have been the best and they don't radically increase their prices the way some other registrars do in year two. It often makes sense to keep your hosting and your domain name registrar separate to avoid any single point of failure. You can get your own DOT Com from NameCheap by clicking on the banner and following that affiliate link to their website!

Web Hosting

Recommended
A2Hosting

You will need hosting for your website.  May people recommend separating your domain registrar from your web host to avoid any single point of failure.  That is one of the reasons I recommend A2Hosting.  ​In the further interest of full disclosure, I have not used A2Hosting as my web host.  I am recommending A2Hosting because a YouTuber I respect -who has been involved in providing online services for more than a decade- does use and recommend A2Hosting and I trust his opinion on the matter. I recommend them because the service provider I have used in the past is not providing exemplary service any longer. The service provider I currently use is adequate for my needs presently, but may not be suitable for your needs as an author. That is why I recommend A2Hosting for authors choosing to build their own website. A2Hosting uses CPanel hosting accounts which are the industry standard. This makes it easy to find demonstrations to learn how to use your account.  Additionally, A2Hosting will pre-install WordPress for you on your account making it easier than ever to build your website.  I of course recommend WordPress as a content management system for your site.  You can check out A2hosting by clicking on the banner and following that affiliate link to their website!

Content Management System

Recommended
WordPress

If you are building an author website, I recommend that you build it on WordPress.  Author Gravity is built on the WordPress Content Management System.  WordPress is a free and open source content management system. This is software that allows you to change the look and feel of your website easily, while keeping the content easily intact and in one place. It uses PHP and a database to allow you to build an interactive website. WordPress powers about 30% or more of all websites on the Internet. It is by far the most user friendly content management system and the easiest way I have found to build a website. It has various developers creating plugins, which are software that enhance the capability of WordPress, and themes, which allow you to change the look and feel of your website. I recommend self-hosted WordPress.org software.  WordPress.org allows you to download the software for free. From there you can install it onto your website using an FTP client.

Of course if you use A2Hosting they will pre-install WordPress for you on your site, or you can use Softaculous to install it later.  Softaculous is a software that allows you to install WordPress on your self-hosted site with one click of a button, and filing out a few fill in the blanks questions on a form. You don't even need to visit WordPress.org.

Themes & Plugins

Recommended
Thrive Themes & Plugins

WordPress makes it quick and easy to build a website. Thrive Themes & Plugins make it quicker and easier to build amazing looking websites. Thrive Themes are designed to be highly customizable and easy to use. They have tutorials built in. They are also designed to generate email leads. Thrive Content Builder allows you to design What You See is What You Get WYSIWYG pages from the front end of your website and it is an awesome tool. Thrive Leads allows you to quickly and easily build beautiful opt-in forms that connect with almost every popular email service provider. Thrive Membership gives you access to all of those tools, and many more, including Thrive Quiz Builder which can be used to rapidly grow an email list, as well as many other features. I love Thrive Themes & Plugins and I used them to build this site. You can check out Thrive Themes, just click on their banner to visit their website.

Email Auto-Responders

Recommended
Self-Hosted Sendy

My first choice recommendation is Sendy. It will cost you $59 to order the Sendy software from its creator, and it will cost you the monthly fee associated with your web host to host your Sendy software. I recommend an Amazon Web Services EC2 instance to host your Sendy installation, but Digital Ocean and Linode are good too. These are unmanaged web hosting options which mean that you will be required to use Terminal commands and an FTP client to install your instance of Sendy. I recommend these unmanaged web hosting options because the usual restrictions placed on shared or even managed VPS hosting may mean Sendy is not welcome on their servers. The average user can operate Sendy on a server for $5 to $10 per month; however, your costs do not end there because you must also pay Amazon Web Services SES fees to send email from Sendy using Amazon's servers.  The reason I recommend Amazon EC2 is because for the first year, you can get an EC2 micro instance essentially for FREE, and for as long as you use Amazon SES under the current rules, the first 62,000 emails you send each month from an EC2 instance are FREE!

Recommended
Aweber

My distant second choice recommendation is Aweber. If installing Sendy on an unmanaged web server, then connecting it with Amazon's SES service sounds like learning a complicated level of material beyond your skill set, then my second choice service would be Aweber. I have used Aweber in the past for their email marketing and auto-responder service and I found their user interface to be fairly intuitive. Aweber is a traditional email service provider and charges users based on a per subscriber rate. As you grow your email list, you will pay higher fees for your use of the Aweber service. These fees will continue to grow as you grow your email list, but they do provide a quality service with very good email deliverability rates. They have been used by Internet marketers for a long time and have a solid reputation in the industry. You can check out Aweber by clicking on their banner link. They even offer a free trial account.

Book Give Away Hosting

Recommended
BookFunnel

BookFunnel will host your ePub, mobi, and PDF files of the eBooks you give away for free as an incentive for people to join your email list.  More importantly, BookFunnel makes it as easy as possible for your readers to get their free copy of your eBook on whatever device they use.  They also provide customer support for your readers to help them get the eBook onto their device in the even that they encounter a problem.  I use BookFunnel myself to host my short story that I give away on my author website.  They have multiple pricing options from as low as $20 per year, to much higher monthly rates for publishers. You can check out BookFunnel by clicking on their banner link.

Writing Software

Recommended
Scrivener

Write here, write now. Scrivener.

The best tool you can use to write a book is Scrivener.  It is available for Macintosh and Windows.  There is even a version for iOS now.  Scrivener for Mac is what I have used to write my books and also to format my eBooks and my paperback book for CreateSpace.  There are multiple tutorials available on YouTube and other platforms for free to learn how to use Scrivener, but the program is fairly intuitive.  The powerful part of Scrivener is its ability to reorganize and reconfigure a book on the fly.  I was able to reposition scenes and chapters with ease.  This helped tremendously with the editing process of my first novel.  It is also a relatively inexpensive tool and can also be used to write scripts.  It is without a doubt the most versatile writing program on the market and most indie authors swear by it.  Check it out by clicking the link in the banner and you will find out why.  Scrivener even offers a 30 day free trial.  If you use it for 30 days and write 2500 words per day, you will have your first book finished before the free trial is complete!