Tools for Writers

I have two nifty things to share with you today.

First, Buffer. I learned about this from Catherine Caffeinated.

You can link all of your Twitter, Facebook (personal and fan page), LinkedIn, and App.net accounts to Buffer. Then you write a message on Buffer and tell it where you want it to send the message (just to Twitter, just to your Facebook fan page, or to all of your linked accounts).

(For the record, if you’re tweeting, it will keep up with your character count.)

This is great if you post the same message across multiple platforms; it’s one-stop messaging. But that’s not the best part. The best part is that you can write up to 10 messages and store them in Buffer (that’s 10 per each linked account). Buffer will then automatically send out your messages on the schedule that you set.

Do you grasp the enormity of that yet? You can write an entire day’s worth of tweets and Facebook posts at one time and then let Buffer send them out at regular intervals. (Or, if you only want to post an account once a day, then you can write up to 10 days’ worth at a time.)

This not only helps you get more regular about posting to social media, but it also saves you time–because we all know every time we get on the internet, we lose at least an hour. Now, get on the internet once and take care of all of your social media posts at the same time.

For $10 a month, you will have unlimited Buffer messages, which means you could compose a week or a month’s worth of posts at one time. Might be worth the money if you dread doing your social media posts because you get sucked into the internet and lose loads of valuable writing time.

Also, they have an app that you can add to your browser that makes it easy to share links. If I read a page that I like, I can hit the Buffer button and it will pop up a screen asking me what accounts I want to post the link on, and it will allow me to add a message to it. (It also shortens the link so you don’t use up so many Twitter characters.) I can then add it to my existing Buffer queue or post it immediately. And like your Netflix queue, you can change the order of pending posts–moving them up or down. You can also edit any still in the queue.

Buffer is not just for writers; anyone who uses social media for their business can make use of it.

Edited to Add: If you click through the Buffer link above and sign up, it will count as a referral, and both you and I will receive an extra message slot on Buffer.

The next product, Masterwriter, is only for writers, poets, and songwriters. People, put on your bibs and prepare to drool!

Take the Tour

I can’t tell you how many times I have needed these features while writing my book. I’m often frustrated because Word’s thesaurus doesn’t contain all the words I think are synonyms (what MasterWriter terms “extended” words; not actually synonyms, but frequently used in lieu of the search word).

And there have been a lot of times when a word is on the tip of my tongue and I know what letter it starts with, but can’t come up with it. Or I have a phrase in mind, but am not sure I’m using it/spelling it correctly (ex: a lot of people mistake “for all intents and purposes” for “intense purposes”).

I do occasionally wax poetic, which makes the rhyming feature very handy. And I could make really good use of the Bible search feature because sometimes I want a character to quote something relevant.

Masterwriter is $9.95 for a monthly subscription, $99 for a yearly subscription (both of these include all updates) or $199 to buy it outright (no updates).

Yeah, this is going on my wishlist. At the very top.

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5 comments on “Tools for Writers

  1. The Masterwriter programme looks fab. The Buffer programme sounds useful (not that I could think of ten things to say on Twitter all at once!) but I just wanted to make one point. Over on her blog Kristen Lamb (who runs the MyWANA hash-tag on Twitter if that’s the right way to say it) has strong views about robots like this that post Twitter comments when you aren’t online. She has banned robot twitter comments on #MyWANA. Her argument is that if you aren’t online when you post you aren’t there to answer any replies and therefore it is no longer ‘social’ media. I don’t really understand or use Twitter but I thought I’d pass on the info for those that understand it! When I have time I’ll find the link to her blog post about it…

    • Keri Peardon says:

      You know, I might worry about that if anyone replied to my tweets.
      Forever Alone

      One of the things that marketing people tell you about blogging, social media, etc. is, if you want to get followers, post content that other people will want to read (because it’s funny, informative, etc.) and post it regularly. For Twitter, that usually means a few times per day.

      I work a regular job during the day, then in the evenings I go home to dial up internet. Tweeting (or doing almost anything) from home is exceptionally time-consuming. It’s easier for me to do a bunch of posts when I’m not busy at work, during lunch, etc. and then let them slowly trickle out over the course of the day.

      This is the only hope I have of getting Twitter and Facebook to be even mildly useful for me, because doing it haphazardly, the way I’ve been doing it, isn’t working. I just don’t have the schedule or the discipline that will allow me to go online and manually post at all the appropriate times.

      And, at this point, my blog is my number one social media platform because this is really the only place people communicate with me. And I usually respond the same day to comments (on the weekends, though, that might be delayed until Monday because I don’t get online nearly as much on the weekends). If people were leaving comments on Twitter or Facebook, I would respond to them on the same day, too. I think that’s sufficiently responsive and social. (What more can you demand from a confessed introvert?)

      Even if you’re a full-time writer with all-day access to the internet, you really don’t need to be hanging out on Twitter/Facebook and waiting for someone to reply; that tends to turn into all day on the internet and nothing meaningful accomplished. You need to have a schedule of when you get on the internet and a limit for how much time you spend on it.

      There is actually software (Freedom) that will block the internet at certain times for you so that you can force yourself to stay offline (something I will probably have to do to myself when I start writing full-time).

      • I totally understand where you are coming from (I have terrible internet connection too and frequently lose comments I have carefully written on people’s blogs, which about halves my social interaction!). I agree that the scheduling thing is a good idea, I just wanted to highlight what I’d read elsewhere about the use of these robot programmes. I don’t really understand Twitter I admit, and limit my social interaction to reading and commenting on blogs (when my computer allows!). I think it is amazing how much you do with a full time job. When you are able to be a full-time writer you will be unstopable! I pray for you that it is something you achieve soon, you certainly deserve it!

  2. Oh my gosh. You accomplish so much online via dial up! I want to dig the trenches and put the cable in for you myself! (Josie would.) 🙂 I’m not sure about Buffer, because I don’t do much of anything other than my blog, but I’ll look into MW. That sounds useful for me. Thanks, Keri.

    • Keri Peardon says:

      Well, I don’t accomplish too much on dial-up. That’s why I typically don’t post on the weekends. I have high speed access at work, so sometimes I stay late and do my research and stuff here.

      I’d definitely let you lay cable for us, though! We keep complaining that we have no access to cable or DSL at our house, but no one cares. We live in a rural part of a metropolitan county and the politicians and utility providers both ignore us because they get more mileage from their efforts in the denser population centers (i.e. subdivisions). The irony is that I grew up in a completely rural county, in communities with less people than in ours now, and in rougher terrain (mountains), and we had cable TV nearly 30 years ago. And all my family still there has high speed internet.

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