Author Equipment List

Here is a list of all the tools I use to run my writing business, how I use them, and key benefits of each. Hopefully I can introduce you to one or two new tools that make your writing life easier. Enjoy!


MacBook Pro

I have the upgraded version of the 15in. monitor. Mac is great for artists and has tons of functionality and software that make work much easier.


I use the iPad to work in places where I don’t want to bring my laptop, like the gym. I’ll jump on the elliptical or treadmill, turn the iPad sideways, and type away.

Kindle (rewards link)

I read just about everything on my Kindle these days. I have an older version but I’ll be upgrading shortly. You simply can’t beat the selection and the Amazon storefront.

HTC Evo 3D

Not the iPhone! This phone is actually better than the iPhone in my opinion (I’ve had both). The phone is faster, has a slicker interface, better widgets (the counterpart to apps), and actually works when you’re talking to someone. It runs on Android.


Incase sling

This bag is perfect for anyone who carries several devices at once. This backpack slings over one shoulder comfortably and can hold a ton of stuff, despite its thin appearance while wearing. The bag and straps are strong and won’t break (and if they do, Incase will send you a brand new backpack for free). Plus, it comes in a ton of great colors to suite your personality.



Scrivener is an industry standard for novelists and screenwriters. It’s extremely affordable and has just about everything you would need to manage a manuscript. It also allows you to easily compile your manuscript in .ePub (Nook- and iPad-accepted format) and .mobi (Kindle-accepted format). The downside for me (which could be an upside for popular authors who want to keep spoilers off the internet) is that Scrivener doesn’t sync across devices and doesn’t have an iPad or Android version.


Evernote is a free web application that’s great for taking notes and syncing across all devices (laptop, tablet, phone, etc.). Upgrade to premium and you get additional storage space and other features, the most beneficial the versioning capabilities. A major downside to Evernote for writers is that there is no word count for Mac users.

Google docs

I use Google docs when I need versioning and automatic cloud backup for documents. I also use Google docs when I want to do something with spreadsheets–there’s truly no better free alternative to Microsoft Excel.


A great little tool for capturing screenshots on the internet and adding your own notes. I use this to illustrate points in my books and ecourses.


Dropbox is the perfect way to back up your documents and sync them across devices. I keep all personal documents (including my novels) in my Dropbox folder, which syncs with my Dropbox account. With Dropbox, you can download your files from anywhere you can get an internet connection. If your laptop is stolen, you can purchase a new one and be back up and running quickly.


For a small yearly fee, Pandora provides commercial-free internet radio. I’m very particular about the music I listen to while writing, so it’s important for me to be able to control my radio mix.



I use Skype for one-on-one business meetings with clients and friends. It’s free Skype-to-Skype to call anywhere in the world. You can also upgrade if you’d like to dial a phone number instead of using Skype’s chat feature.

Content distribution:


WordPress (How To Be An Author,

WordPress is the number one self-hosted blogging platform for a reason: you can set up a professional site in minutes without the hassle of building or designing your own website. I use WordPress for just about every website project I do.

Tumblr (

I put my fiction author blog on Tumblr because the interface is better for reposting pictures and other content, and because the community is very interactive due to the reblog functionality (and several built-in social buttons too).


I’ve been with this hosting service since 2007 and have never had a problem on any of the 25+ sites I’ve set up with them. Their hosting is cheap and good. Unless you’re running a high-traffic business, you probably don’t need to look any further than this for web hosting. (Full Disclosure, my paid newsletter)

I like because it has a clean interface and collects payments for me using Amazon Payments.

Kindle Publishing for Blogs

Put your blog subscription in the Kindle store.



Used to publish ebooks to the Kindle platform.


Used to publish ebooks that are available in the Barnes and Noble Nook store.

Google books

Used to publish ebooks on Google Books.

Apple books

Used to publish ebooks available in the iBookstore.

Paper books:

Lightning Source

I use LS to run my own micropublishing business. They handle printing-on-demand and distribution to online bookstores including Amazon, B&, Book Depository, 800 CEO Read, IndieBound, and more. If you plan to publish multiple titles and have a career in book publishing, I recommend LS over the Amazon counterpart, CreateSpace.


The place I purchase ISBN numbers.

Amazon Marketplace

I use Amazon to set up the ability to pre-order my upcoming books.



This is the best ecourse software I’ve found for individuals. It collects payments for you and allows you to create ecourses that are task-oriented. I prefer activity-based courses myself because they produce specific outcomes, and Ruzuku allows me to create these types of courses.


Adobe Creative Suite Design Standard

I like Adobe’s publishing tools, especially for book file editing and photo editing. I also do design work every once in awhile, and I manipulate PDFs through merges and more. Adobe’s Creative Suite Design Standard is perfect for me because it includes Indesign, Acrobat, Photoshop, and Illustrator (the last of which I rarely use, but sometimes break out if Photoshop can’t get the job done). I pay using the new subscription service Adobe offers.

iWork Pages

From Apple, this software is a simpler, more user-friendly version of InDesign. I use this software to create pretty ebooks without the hassle and endless options in InDesign. I do use InDesign for all my book layouts, but I have heard of authors who get by using Pages too.


Crowdspring is a design sourcing service similar to 99Designs. I used Crowdspring to find a designer for the cover of my first novel. If you don’t already know a designer you want to work with, this is an easy way to find someone in your price range.



Aweber is hands down the best option for email list management. I’ve been using Aweber for years and have no complaints about the service. You can see some of Aweber’s features in action right here on How To Be An Author.


If you need to organize your social media contacts, BatchBlue is the way to go. It is an extremely effective customer relationship management system if you’re trying to develop strong blogger relationships and want to track a person’s Twitter and Facebook accounts before reaching out to them via email.

Amazon Mechanical Turk

I use Mechanical Turk to collect data for blogger outreach campaigns. It’s fairly cheap to build a list and can save a ton of time if you know how to find the websites you want to target. For more on blogger outreach, you can read my book, Pitch-Perfect Blogger Outreach.

Market Samarai

This is a great tool for keyword research, search competition stats, and several other SEO-related needs.


I used Kickstarter to create buzz for and pre-sell my first novel, Silver Smoke. You can read all about my successful campaign in my Guide to Running a Successful Kickstarter Project, a part of this free author toolkit.


I use book giveaways and the advertising opportunities to promote my books to avid readers.


Paypal (personal and business accounts)

I use Paypal for almost all my business needs, including collecting payments online from anything I sell on my website (not much) to collecting payments on services like Ruzuku. Simple to use, low fees for the amount of money I collect.

Amazon Payments

I also have an Amazon payments account, solely so I can collect and spend money from several different services, including, Kickstarter, and Mechanical Turk. Note:I eventually want to upgrade my payments provider, but I currently lack a real need for anything more sophisticated than what I have now.


Remember the Milk

I use this to record personal tasks as well as project tasks. RTM is great for simple project management and syncs across all devices.

37Signals Suite

I use 37Signals Basecamp for project management and Highrise for keeping track of contracts, contact information, and client deals. It’s a bit of a reach for me now because I don’t have any employees, but because I want to build my consulting business, I’m getting into the habit of recording my contact database and template history.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin