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Top 10 free websites for writers

There are lots and lots of useful websites out there for writers these days, so I thought I'd give you a run-down the top ten that can help you on your writing journey.

  1. The Writer's Diet – copy and paste a passage of your work and The Writer's Diet tells you whether your work is 'flabby or fit'. The analysis is separated into verbs, nouns, adjectives and prepositions, and you're then given a rating that sites somewhere between 'lean' and 'heart attack'!

  2. PerfectIt – the Pro version costs about £70, but you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. This proofreading software flags up a multitude of consistency errors such as spelling variations, hyphenation, abbreviations, etc. Unfortunately it only works on Windows, with Word, and I wouldn't recommend choosing this above a professional proofreader. However, it can definitely help you tidy up your manuscript and spot things that are very difficult to notice when you're close to your work.

  3. Canva – an easy to use design website that helps you create professional looking graphics. Templates are available for most social media applications (Twitter banners, Facebook cover pictures, Pins, etc.) and also book covers. Some of the stock images are free to use, or you can upload your own. They also have images you can purchase that start at a very reasonable $1.

  4. Reedsy – I only recently learned about Reedsy and, although I'm not nearly close to the editing stage, I think it's a wonderful idea. The site's aim is to connect professional editors, proofreaders, etc. with authors who need their services. You can select your language preference and area of expertise (YA, non-fiction, etc.), and the site brings up a list of recommended people who you can then contact for quotes. The joy of the site is that it verifies each professional's credentials by checking the books they have worked on, so you know you're going to be working with people who have genuine experience in the industry.

  5. LitLift – a free, responsive, site that helps you organise your novel. You can add scenes, characters, places, and chapters. Because it's responsive you can use it when you're out and about, and when you're finished you can export as text or ePub.

  6. Hemingway App – helps make your writing 'bold and clear' by flagging up sentences that are too long or complex.

  7. Wix – this is a pretty well known site, but invaluable if you want to create a professional-looking author website. You can easily create a free site, or you can purchase a pro-site with your own domain name.

  8. The Creative Penn – run by self-published author Joanna Penn and home to a host of articles that will help you on your writing journey. Joanna also broadcasts a fantastic podcast that I highly recommend you listen to.

  9. Inkubate – this site is relatively new on my radar, although it has been around for a while. Its goal is to connect writers and publishers. As a writer, it allows you to create a writer profile, upload your work, and respond to agents or publishers who might contact you. You can also track which genres are popular and monitor activity surrounding the work you upload. I'm not sure whether there have been any major success stories from authors using this platform – so i'd be very interested to hear from anyone who has experience with 'Inkubating' their work!

  10. Buffer – a fantastic site that helps you organise your social media activity. We all know that fitting a multitude of social channels into your daily writing life can be tricky, but Buffer allows you to schedule posts across your various platforms. It also analyses your profiles and tells you the best times to post in order to reach your followers. It's especially good for people who work full-time and are trying to author successfully because it means you don't have to Tweet during your working day, you can pre-schedule everything. I couldn't live without it!

BONUS: Scrivener – technically not free, but amazing so it has to get a mention. You can download a 30-day free trial, which is calculated by the actual number of times you use it, rather than from the date you download it. This means you could end up getting more than a month's use out of it, depending on how many times a week you use it.

I haven't come across anything as good as Scrivener for helping you to organise and structure your novel. It has fantastic export settings, and allows you to write in a non-linear way and shuffle scenes and chapters around much the same as you would if you were using pen and paper. Scrivener is Mac-friendly and, although it doesn't work on mobile devices, Version 2 has 'synchronisation capabilities' which I intend to investigate. Apparently these allow you to synchronise with secondary apps and then when you return to your main computer you can re-sync so your Scrivener file is up to date.

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