One way to support Author Media financially is to use our affiliate links before making a purchase. This doesn’t cost you any extra and goes a long way to keep the Novel Marketing podcast on the air.
Here is a list of resources we recommend. Affiliate links are marked.
I have three tiers of laptop recommendations based on what you plan to do.
Writing: M1 Macbook Air (Affiliate Link)
The M1 Macbook Air is the absolute best bang for the buck right now. It’s crazy fast and has an all day battery. It will be able to hand all publishing software (Scrivener, Vellum, Atticus, Word, etc.) without breaking a sweat. It has no moving parts so it should last a very long time.
Podcasting: M2 Macbook Air | 16GB RAM | 512GB HD (Affiliate Link)
Podcasting creates a lot of audio files that need disk space. This Macbook air has a bigger hard drive for storing audio files. It also has more RAM which is good to have while recording interviews.
Video: M2 Pro Macbook Pro | 32GB RAM | 1TB HD (Affiliate Link)
Video creation relies on the GPU to render the video files. THe M2 Pro has a more powerful GPU along with more RAM and a larger hard drive both of which will make handling large video files easier.
For most authors, this is the best choice for indie publishing. You have to have a good reason not to go with Amazon KDP.
Better if you plan to “go wide” also sometimes better for specialty books like some kinds of children’s books.
A full-service indie publishing platform. BookBaby helps with the cover and editing for a fee. This is more expensive than Amazon KDP or Ingram Spark but for some authors, the added cost may be worth it.
BlueHost (Affiliate Link)
This is the hosting we recommend for most authors. It is the best cheap hosting out there. It is very WordPress friendly
WP Engine (Affiliate Link)
This is the hosting we use. It is designed for websites that get a lot of traffic. It is a lot more expensive for a reason. If you plan on writing viral blog posts, this is the level of hosting you want.
Namecheap (Affiliate Link)
This is who we use for dozens and dozens of domains. While Namecheap is great for domain registration, we don’t recommend them for hosting.
Divi by Elegant Themes (Affiliate Link)
We use and recommend this WordPress theme because it gives you the drag-and-drop ease of use of a platform of Squarespace or Wix while preserving the power and flexibility of WordPress. It really is the best of both worlds.
This plugin got its start right here at Author Media! It is the most comprehensive and robust bookstore plugin for WordPress.
This plugin helps you track your writing progress publically to build enthusiasm about your book and keep you motivated to keep making progress. There is no other plugin quite like it. This plugin also got its start here at Author Media.
JetPack (Affiliate Link)
Jetpack is a swiss army knife of tools from your website. From related posts, spam protection, and backups, there is a good chance it will help make your website better.
Plottr (Affiliate Link)
Plottr saves you time and frustration as you plot out your novel. With Plottr, you can plan your main plot and subplots in a beautiful visual editor. You can also use it as a personal wiki for world-building or to keep track of characters and places.
Grammarly (Affiliate Link)
Grammarly is an AI copy editor that not only catches typos and bad grammar, it also explains each grammar rule helping you become a better writer along the way. The paid version even helps you simplify and clarify your writing.
ProWritingAid (Affiliate Link)
ProWritingAid is an AI editor geared at novelists, but you can use it for nonfiction as well. It’s a bit cheaper than Grammarly.
Sudowrite (Affiliate Link)
Sudowrite is an AI writing assistant to help boost your creativity, get you unstuck, and supercharge your descriptions.
Publishing Market Research
K-lytics.com (Affiliate Link)
This site has some of the best reports giving you a state of the kindle ebook industry, including the book covers of the best-selling books in each category. This is an invaluable tool for any author who is ready to use data to help them make more money with ebooks.
Back Cover Copywriting
BestPageForward (Affiliate Link)
The folks at Best Page Forward have back cover copywriting down to a system. We have an interview with their CEO Bryan Cohen where we talk about how to optimize your Amazon listing overall.
ConvertKit (Affiliate Link)
This is what we use, while more expensive than MailerLite, it has more powerful features, particularly when it comes to automation. It is also easier to use.
MailChimp (Affiliate Link)
This is what we used to recommend for almost everyone. Now we only recommend it for authors who are just getting started and want to use it for free. It has the most generous free level. But once you have to start paying, we recommend MailerLite or ConvertKit instead.
Email List Building
BookSweeps (Affiliate Link)
Book Sweeps hosts frequent sweepstakes where readers can enter to win free books. It is not uncommon for authors participating in a BookSweeps giveaway to add hundreds of high-quality subscribers to their email list. You can hear my episode about BookSweeps here.
KingSumo (Affiliate Link)
This is the tool I use for viral giveaways. What is nice about KingSumo is readers get additional entries to a contest by getting their friends to sign up. When combined with the right prize, this can be a huge list builder.
Crowdcast (Affiliate LInk)
This is what we use for our webinars and it had been one of the biggest sources of growth for our email list. It is powerful, flexible, and reliable.
Business Cards & Bookmarks
VistaPrint (Affiliate Link)
Vistaprint has fair prices and an easy-to-use interface for making your own business cards and bookmarks. They even have a square business card that is particularly good for podcasters.
RescueTime (Affiliate Link)
Our CEO, Thomas Umstattd, has used RescueTime for years to get a report of how much time he spends on social media, writing, podcasting, and more. RescueTime runs in the background and gives you a dashboard of how you spend your time. You can even categorize each website and set a productivity rating.
I get almost all of my stock photos from DepositPhotos.com (Affiliate Link) and NounProject.com. I would rather pay money to find a good stock photo quickly than to spend hours trying to find a free stock photo. That said, if you want free stock photos I recommend Unsplash.com.
Blubrry (Affiliate Link)
This is the service we use and recommend. If you use coupon code “novelmarketing” at checkout, you will get a free month or two of hosting.
BuzzSprout (Affiliate Link)
This is the service we recommend if you don’t use WordPress. They have some of the prettiest podcast pages and beautiful stats pages. They show downloads by the week in their charts. BuzzSprout also has some of the best podcast tutorials in the industry. They also offer dynamic content insertion allowing you to promote your new book on old episodes.
Descript (Affiliate Link)
Descript transcribes your audio into text allowing you to edit your podcast the same way you would edit a word document.
Hindenburg is an audio editing tool designed specifically for podcasters. This is a key tool we use in our workflow making each episode. We do the first edits in Descript and the final edits in Hindenburg.
Sonix.ai (Affiliate Link)
This is the service I use to turn our podcast episodes into raw text. We then edit this text into the blog posts that appear with each episode.
Podcast Remote Recording
Riverside.fm (Affiliate Link)
This is what I use to record guest interviews for both Novel Marketing and Christian Publishing Show. It can record video as well as audio and even supports live streaming and live audiences! The main reason I use it is that it records the guest in full quality, much better than Zoom or Skype which records the guest in compressed “internet” quality.
I have also used Squadcast (Affiliate Link) and Zencastr. I like them both as well, but not as much as Riverside. They are both worth considering, though. All three platforms are miles better than Zoom and Skype.
We have a complete gear guide available here. It covers various levels of podcasting, from the occasional guest interview all the way to a major studio.
Here are the highlights:
Samson Q2U Microphone (Affiliate Link)
This microphone has amazing sound, especially considering its low price. It can plug directly into your computer via USB, saving you the need to buy a separate mixer or interface. It can also plug into a mixer, making it the perfect starter mic. It can grow with you. This is a dynamic microphone which means it will bring in less room noise than condenser microphones like the Blue Yeti or Blue Snowball (which we recomend avoiding).
Samson SR350 Over-Ear Stereo Headphones (Affiliate Link)
These are the best studio headphones you can get for less than $20. They are good at isolating sound and will give you crisp, easy-to-hear audio without leakage.
Neewer Adjustable Microphone Scissor Arm (Affiliate Link)
A microphone arm attaches to your desk and allows you to quickly put the microphone right where you need it, and get it out of the way. This is optional, but it makes life a lot easier.