Tools of the Trade

Writing - The ToolsI named this page “tools of the trade” because I believe the items on this page are worthwhile. A tool helps you get a job done or to work more efficently. Yes, the ones in the first section are affiliate links, and I will earn a small part of the sale if you click and make a purchase using them. I don’t consider myself a salesman, yet I enjoy sharing things I find useful.

To me, affiliate sharing is people helping people. When I find something that helps my business, I can feature it on my site as my way of giving back. If this website has been helpful to you and you’re considering a purchase, then clicking through an affiliate link is one way you can give back to me without it costing you anything extra.
It’s similar to seeing someone in the grocery store considering your favorite chocolate chip cookies. Instinctively, you blurt out,

“Man, those things are amazing. I could eat a whole box.”Cookie 2 small

The difference is neither the grocer nor the manufacturer give you anything for the sale. My Commitment: That said, I wouldn’t put anything on this page I haven’t used or carefully reviewed. Since I know everyone is on a budget, I’ve also included some free resources that are wonderfully useful even though they’re free of charge.

AutoCrit Editing Wizard

I discovered this about three years ago. Nina Davies created this program for her own writing to check 11 key areas like pacing and readability, not just grammar and spelling. What I like is that it identifies those errors you skip over, such as overused words, repeated phrases, and clichés. You learn your weaknesses and improve the way you write. Of course, a program is not a perfect solution, but it’s invaluable for your first and second drafts.

There is a yearly fee, but considering how much a person writes in a year, the cost is minimal. There are 3 membership levels. All levels enjoy unlimited uses per day. The difference is the amount of words you can enter each time.

  • Gold $ 47.00 (1000)
  • Platinum $ 77.00 (8000)
  • Professional $ 117.00 (100,000)   ~Click the banner for more detail

Freelance Writers Den

Carol Tice is a freelance writer who has  crafted words for 18 years. She is a featured author in the 2013 and 2014 Writer’s Market. In 2011, she launched the “Freelance Writer’s Den” and it has quickly become a place for where growing writers train, and advance. There are 7 key benefits for members of the Den.

  1. Get questions answered from their team of pros in the forums 24/7
  2. Live events nearly every week
  3. Quarterly Bootcamps which are free to members
  4. Free E-courses – learn as you have time
  5. A chance to send Carol private email questions
  6. Access to live events recordings
  7. The members only, “Junk-Free Job Board” (all for $25.00 a month).

You can join for as long as you need to, leave when you’re ready. The den is only open when there’s room-if there isn’t room you can get on the waiting list.

The Freelance Writers Den: Learn More

The Well-Fed Writer

Peter Bowerman has been writing full-time since 1994. He knows the business side of writing. You might not read this book cover to cover immediately. Why? Because it’s stuffed with information. First, the book you see below is actually two books in one. The Well-Fed writer and TWFW: Back for Seconds are now one complete volume. Second, it’s a reference book that you will refer to as your writing grows. Click the image below for details.

Important note: This book is all about commercial freelance writing. If that’s your interest, this is the book.

If you’re looking for his title The Well-Fed Self-Publisher click here. His most recent work covers collaborations between illustrators and writers.  “Profitable – By Design!” Ebook.

2014 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition – includes Writer’s Market Online

Every year the Writer’s Market helps thousands of writers  succeed. It’s a guide to publishers, editors, markets, and even writing groups; but it’s also a yearly course in writing. Each year, the pages before the listings have expanded. There are between 100-150 pages of expert advice on writing, finding work, and marketing your services. If you buy the deluxe edition, it includes access to the online version where you’ll have support, additional listings, and updates throughout the year.

The Christian Writer’s Market Guide 2014

If you are at all interested in writing for this specialty market, you need this additional market guide. Although the Writer’s Market has a small section on religious markets, this guide has 400 pages (and growing) of Christian magazines, book publishers, devotional markets, and much more. It also includes several helpful “How to” articles. For many years Sally Stewart edited it. It is now complied and edited by Jerry B. Jenkins.


At the least, you need business cards. But, you might not need 1000 to start. I’ve used Vistaprint several times over the years. I’ve never been disappointed with their products or their service. Their “WYSIWYG” design tool shows you exactly what your product will look like before you order it. What I like is that Vistaprint’s business plan, since the beginning, has been to help the small businessperson with a limited budget. You don’t need to order thousands of business cards or stacks of stationery. Vistaprint processes low-quantity orders with the same high-quality service their large orders receive. They’ll help you look sharp. (Click the banner or link above)


In Motion Hosting

After having a blog for one and a half years, I decided to convert my site to a self-hosted website using the program. I looked at several hosting services before deciding. One thing that sold me on InMotion Hosting was personal. They had an office based in my area. But, more importantly they had oodles of tutorials on moving a site. I’ve also used their U.S. based 24/7 live chat and received instant answers to my questions. After signing up on the website, I received a helpful phone call and was setting up my site the next day. InMotion Hosting has different levels of service to meet your needs. Read more about my personal experiences here.

Free Resources

As I mentioned, I’d give the companies below a shout-out even if they were not affiliates. Here are a few companies or products that I think deserve some word-of-mouth advertising. My only incentive is they’re gems that I’ve found that are particularly useful. They have no spyware or advertising.

Pass them on. Everyone likes free.

Sonar-3 (Spacejock Software)

I have used Sonar-3 for aSonar few years now as a submission tracker. It’s free, and it’s also free of ads or pop-ups asking you to buy the full version. It is the full version and it works well. It tracks everything I send out, how long it’s out and when I make a sale. It can keep track of markets and contacts as well. Its versatility makes it infinitely better than a spread sheet but just as easy to use.


If you use audioAudacity on your site or in your line of work, Audacity is free software you can download that can record and edit music or sound clips. It is extremely easy to use (I figured it out). I used this software to edit a song that I purchased for my wedding.  I used it to clip the beginning and ending of the song to fit the timing we needed.

Open Office

If you didn’t already buy yopen officeour computer with all the Microsoft programs you thought you’d ever need, you might be able to avoid spending about 400 dollars for Microsoft Office by checking to see if Open Office meets your needs. I didn’t have a PD F creator and I used open office for that. It worked, and kept all my links in place, unlike some other free programs I tried.


Filezilla is an “FTP” cross-platform program for uploading files and maintaining your web site. If you need to upload files for your site this may be a good free solution. Since I am a WordPress user, I have not personally had a need for this, but I have known others who have used it and found it  useful. and

Of course I have to mention these giants of open source software and blogging formats. As mentioned, I am using WordPress for my current site. I also started my site at with a free blog format. is the free version blog format where you don’t actually own your site and domain name. is the site with the forums, support and the WordPress program  you can use to create a website on a self-hosted site with a domain you’ve purchased.

Elements of Stylea writing pen 3

I would like to end this list with a bit of style; this is the online version of the writing classic, Elements of Style. This has often been called, “The best little book on writing.” The Boston Globe printed, “No book in shorter space, with fewer words, will help any writer more than this persistent little volume. It’s short enough and good enough to re-read every six months.” (P.S. There is a boatload of other free books on this site too).

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4 comments on “Tools of the Trade
  1. Peter,

    Thanks for pointing me toward the Christian Writer’s Market Guide 2014. My dream gig is probably in there somewhere.

    As always, great resources!

  2. Dan Hoger says:

    I am currently reading The Well-Fed Writer. There is a lot of useful information inside it. I’m about halfway through. I also use Vistaprint for my business cards and they turned out fantastic! I use Audacity as well. These are all great resources!

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"A writer looks at a screen or piece of paper like a canvas. They see a country unexplored, a picture unpainted, a tale not told. They dare to venture into the barren land, explore its dark corners, and paint its pictures. Then they unveil the epic with the goal of compelling people to visit their newly discovered territory.”
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