Friday, October 12, 2007

Software for Writers and Promotion

Between books, while doing galleys and proposals and laying out other general ideas, I've been updating my website, blog, and attempting to try different mailing lists. I thought someone might be interested in the software and my research to date. WebEngine by VirtualMechanics is terrific with lots of options I haven't had time to try. Did I tell you that I'm a software junkie? :) My old software was really outdated and this one is so convenient.
I could be a lot better, but how much time does a writer have anyway? If you want to try their freebie, that would be WebDwarf, downloadable almost everywhere. It is good for practice, but you may want more professional. They also have the award winning SiteSpinner. The support has been good.

Then for my updated blog, this one, I'm using freeskins. I made this much more difficult than need be. All you really have to do is to do the header image and then adjust the rest from the control panel. When things are too simple, I try to muck them up at bit :) This one is a 3-column and I like that better because I'm into widgets. I also love the tabs, which you can make run all across the page. I wanted a clean banner and redo the header as needed. The background is from Se7en at Freeskins has some gorgeous designs.

About widgets. Go to and fill up! Jennie Cruise and Bob Mayer have a cute little one that scrolls through their He said/She said program, which is super, if you've never experienced it. I also have a widget that anyone can take and put on their website, listing my posts. It also has my photo with it. It's basically a RSS feed and any visitor can take yours and post it on their website or blog.

Since this is Blogger. Blogger for Dummies is the place where I got this read more code. I think this will be great for my long-winded posts, but also excerpts for my upcoming books.

Speaking of RSS feeds, I use Bloglines rather than fill up my mailbox, etc. Bloglines is an "aggregator" which means it has a web crawler that goes out and fetches whatever you've subscribed to into your Bloglines pocket; read at will, save the clips you want and the rest disappear. Very handy. They also offer free blogs. I have two of these, one career/writing, the other personal.

Then, if you want to do your own trailers, try KoolMoves Here's my first try. I learned a lot.

It would be good for basic animations/banners, but for that, I use Jasic's Paint Shop.

Adobe's Elements is super, and so are others.

But most of all, I'm intrigued with PageFour. It's a basic outliner and the free version gives 3 notebooks. We novelists would call them, "books." It takes "snapshots" phrases or scenes that we want to bring up for reference. Very nice product, or I think so. It uses .rtf, and I think that language should be used by all text software. You can go a long way on those 3 free notebooks and there is no cut-off on the trial.

I love trials. I am currently working on my mailing list trial. Seems ok. You can subscribe to my mailing list using the buttons here or at my website. I want to get into html letters, if the subscriber wants them.

Will let you know later how that turns out. Stay tuned....


Farrah Rochon said...

Cait, my goal for next week is to learn about just one of those (I have to learn what they are before I can even attempt to use them). I'm definitely directing my publicist to this post. :) Thanks for sharing all of these great tips!

Cait London said...

Hi, Farrah!
I'm really pleased with all of them so far, but then try out new ones, too! You will save tons of $ if you use the webware, WebEngine or any other product that suits you. PageMill was great and then with improvements on the web, I had to update, which was ok. I just started early this spring on my website and am still transferring things. You might download the freebie WebDwarf and play offline for a while.

April said...

Great list. Thanks for posting!

Marcia James said...

Hi, Cait! Thanks for the information. While it's all Greek to me, I forwarded the link to my Webmistress. I figure one can't be good in every room of the house, so to speak, so I'm trying not to beat myself up when I read about technical stuff and my eyes cross. ;-)
-- Marcia James