Author Resource: Research the Right Way With Elephind

The internet is a knowledge magnet but if you are a writer and you want some primary sources for your fiction or non-fiction research, a newspaper (even a local one) can spring up a lot of unexpected information. Especially for crime fiction and historical fiction writers, reading the newspapers of a specific period of time can help you trace the narrative arc of how events unfolded at that moment.

With Elephind you can browse through old newspapers and scour headlines to get a feel of the time, language and use of phrase, setting and general milieu or you can do a more specific keyword search to find out more about a specific event.

Four Solutions You Can Find With Elephind

  • Historical newspapers online at one place
  • Search engine with a focus on digitized newspapers
  • . Provides intimations to signed up readers whenever a new newspaper collection is added.
  • Conducts newspaper digitization projects for customers like Cornell, Princeton, the National Libraries of New Zealand and Singapore, etc.

How to Use Elephind

Browse newspaper publications.

screenshot of elephind historical newspaper archive
Search on Elephind

Search using keywords.

Search Results for Titanic on Elephind
Search Results for Titanic

Elephind: Recommended or Not?

Great resource for family historians, genealogists, and researchers.

Looking for professional help to make your manuscript error-free and take it to next level? Check out our copy editing and proofreading services.

Author Resouce: (Free) Mock Up Covers For Marketing with Placeit 📚

Book mockups are an effective marketing tool for your book promo campaign. Placeit offers over 60,000 ready-to-use templates, designs and mockup tools. We will be focusing on the book mockup options they have on offer.

What Kind of Marketing Solutions Does Placeit Provide?

  • Create lead magnets and promo material for social media.
  • The other options available at Placeit allow you to design stationery, mugs, animations, t-shirts and templates. It’s pretty exhaustive.

How to Create Book Covers on Placeit with Free Templates – It’s Easy!

Creating book cover mockups is really simple with this tool- there are 30+ free options. First, you decide if you want your book to be presented as a hardcover or soft cover and against any specific background (wooden table in the instance below). Then click on the image of your choice and upload the front cover of your book from your device or import the image.

screengrab of template of Placeitmockup template featuring hard cover book placed on wooden table
Moving On by Jaya Jha

There is also an option to add text and logo to the image (the image below is slightly altered from the original). The final image is a high-resolution watermark-free one

Screengrab of placeit template of girl holding a book while sitting down on a wooden floor
Moving On by Jaya Jha- A Romantic Read

Placeit- Recommended or not?

Worth trying. This tool is free and the image created is commercially usable.

 

Looking for a professional cover for your book? Check out our cover design services.

Author Resource: Use Freedom App for Distraction-free Writing Time 💂

We live in a world of excess. There is no shortage of apps and writing tools. What we really need is time to execute our projects. If we are perennially distracted by social media, how will we work-from-homers get the job done?

Freedom app is a website blocker. Since going down the internet rabbit hole is what writers end up doing, this is the app that could get them to write instead!

Five Benefits of the Freedom App

  • Focus on your goals and work towards them
  • Productivity
  • Control over what you do with your time
  • Block the internet when you are using your device
  • Choose what you want to block and schedule distraction-free times

How to Use the Freedom App- It’s Easy!

Download the app. It works on Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Chrome. You can do the seven-use free trial and then go for the monthly, yearly or forever plan.

Screengrab of freedom app website blocker
What does the Freedom app block?

Freedom App: Recommended or Not?

For sure.

 

Looking for professional help to make your manuscript error-free and take it to next level? Check out our copy editing and proofreading services.

Author Resources: Get Your Novel Plot Perfect with Plottr 📙

Plottr is a simple and fun-to-use drag and drop story development tool developed by Ryan Zee and Cameron Sutter.

Six Ways Plottr Helps You Create a Story

  • Helps arrange chapters, plotlines, scenes and character arcs.
  • Generates an outline based on the visual story cards.
  • Helps generate character and setting templates
  • Provides interesting templates to plan your hero’s journey.
  • Exports to Word and soon to Scrivener
  • Autosaves data so you don’t have to worry about losing
How to Use Plotter- It’s Easy!

Plottr is easy to use. You need to download Plottr and install it on your PC. Once you do this there is a 30 day free trial period.

You can go to the tour project to get a sense of how to navigate around the site.

First, you go to the File tab and create a new project.

Then go to the Timeline which is the centerpiece of this app. There you can visually create color-coded plot and subplot arcs.

You can filter cards by characters, places, and tags and also flip the timeline. Different perspectives of the storyline help in crafting the overall fiction.

The interface is not complicated at all. Here we created a story plot of Cinderella and evil roomie. The interface is not complicated at all, as you can see below.

 Screengrab of the Plottr interface, showing various plot points in interlinked and color-coded boxes
A quick look into Plottr

Plottr: Recommended or Not?

Yes, yes, yes! Especially for the unique templates available and ease of use.

Looking for professional help to make your manuscript error-free and take it to next level? Check out our copy editing and proofreading services.

Author Resource: How to Master Words with the Free Power Thesaurus 📘

A thesaurus as you know is not exactly a dictionary but a resource for word clusters, synonyms and antonyms.  Alexander Radyushin realized that a crowdsourced thesaurus made more sense in the internet age and created the Power Thesaurus.

What Makes the Power in Power Thesaurus?

  • The synonyms are suggested and rated.
  • This free service is quick to use and comprehensive.
  • Look out for great parts of speech filters.
  • Meanings are also provided.

How to Use Power Thesaurus- It’s Easy!

Pretty simple. Go to the website Powerthesaurus.org or download the app at PlayStore and type out the word you need synonyms for.

Screengrab of synonyms of dream on power thesaurus
Synonyms at Power Thesaurus

You can also look for antonyms, idioms or phrases:

Antonyms of dream at Power Thesaurus
Antonyms at Power Thesaurus

You can upvote or downvote a synonym, antonym, etc.

Upvote or Downvote functionality
Upvote or downvote?

Power Thesaurus: Recommended or Not?

Recommended.

 

Looking for professional help to make your manuscript error-free and take it to next level? Check out our copy editing and proofreading services.

Author Resource: Editing like a Pro with ProWriting Aid 👓

There are a surprising number of grammar checkers that are available for budding as well as accomplished writers. ProWritingAid, based in London, is one such virtual writing assistant.

What kind of Grammar Perks does ProWriting Provide?

ProWriting Aid does a thorough grammar and spell-check of your manuscript. You are also alerted to repetitions.

The paid version is relatively cheaper than other grammar check apps.

The readability of your writing is evaluated according to the Flesch Reading Score.

The app is Scrivener friendly.

How to Use ProWriting Aid- It’s Easy!

ProWriting Aid can be used across the board on MS Word/Outlook, Google Docs and Scrivener. You can download a desktop app or install a plugin for Mac and Windows.

The free version only looks at the first 500 words of the text.

You can upload the document or add the text to the web editor.

screengrab of text entered at ProWriting Aid
Upload text and discover how you write!

Every document is scored based on grammar, spelling and style. Comprehensive reports are provided.

Screengrab of document scores given byProwriting Aid
The overall score

You also learn about your own writing better by breaking down your manuscript based not just on word count but also on sentence and paragraph count, vocabulary and word families are also scrutinized.

Screengrab of document statistics including word count, number of sentences, paragraphs and spaces, as well as vocabulary
Know your document with ProWriting Aid
Graphical representation of sentence length and measurement of style
Measure your writing style quotient

Editing with ProWriting- Recommended or Not?

Definitely worth a try as you get to see your writing in a new light and also worth considering the paid version. Also, ProWriting Aid is the most affordable grammar assistant available, though not the fastest spellchecker.

 

Author Resource: Grammarly- Get the Writer’s Touch!✒️

If you are looking for an editing app, check out Grammarly, a comprehensive algorithmic tool that removes the ugh from editing.

Five Sticky Situations When it Helps to Use Grammarly

  • Wrote an email in a hurry, it’s full of typos and you need to send it to your boss right now?
  • Are you unsure about the British/American spelling variant of a specific word?
  • Did you miss out on your list commas in some places in the document?
  • You’ve done one edit and you want to run a grammar check on the document again.
  • You are all thumbs while texting and your sentence looks like this: I will write thrmrmo instead of  I will write the memo.

These are some instances where an editing app would be a godsend.  Grammarly has a free version and Premium version.

How to Use Grammarly- It’s Easy!

Grammarly works on multiple browser extensions and across multiple platforms.

There are a couple of ways to use this:

  • Paste your article into Grammarly, type directly into the tool or import your Microsoft Word document into Grammarly.
  • Install a Grammarly plugin on MS Word (not available for MS Word in Macbooks).
  • Use the Grammarly extension for your browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge), desktop and mobile applications.
Screengrab of grammar alerts Grammarly provides shown in the right-hand side of the document
Alerts Provided by Grammarly

Here we get an overall score of 97 out of 100. Any alerts are highlighted on the side. The free version is super helpful and the paid version has extra features like hiring a writing expert and plagiarism detection.

Grammarly App: Recommended or Not?

Highly recommended but always get a manual edit of your manuscript done first.

Author Resource: Canva- The Ultimate in (Free) DIY Design✏️

Canva, everyone’s DIY design tool, is an Australian online design platform. It is designed for anyone, designer or not.  The seamless design opportunity is made possible with an extensive image library, readymade templates, photo filters and a huge number of fonts. You can also share your work with your team or post it directly on social media.

There are two versions- free and paid if you opt for Canva’s Magic Resize tool.

Seven Ways in which Canva Benefits Authors

  • If you are struggling with design, you may want to consider a more easy-to-use design platform.
  • When you are stuck at various points in the design process, be it sourcing images, resizing an existing design, sourcing a variety of free fonts, Canva provides a variety of options.
  • Is the pricing of design options freaking you out? Even if you don’t hire a designer, you can use Canva on your own and instantly design posters, book covers, presentations and social media headers.
  • The templates available help you to create effective visual aids for marketing campaigns.
  •  If you are in a hurry to get a book cover out or hiring a designer is out of your budget at the moment, Canva provides a variety of free book cover options.
  • There are a variety of illustrations you can access for free on Canva.
  • You can even design a quick website content to promote your book using the website templates available at Canva.

How to Use it- It’s Easy!

  • Sign up.
  • Scroll through the design templates on offer. You can also custom size the design.
  • In case of book covers there are many options including book covers for cookbooks,art journals, business books, Wattpad books, children’s books and many others.
  • The template box opens and you can choose the design, change the background, upload images, use existing images (free or paid) and shapes from the left-hand side. There are additional options to add music, emojis, maps and QR codes.
  • Once the design is ready, you can share or download the design in different formats.
screengrab of book cover designed at canva
A book cover designed at Canva

Canva: Recommended or Not?

Highly recommended.

Author Resource: How to Trim the Fat with Hemingway Editor

Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel Prize-winning American writer, is famous for his writing efficiency. “To be successful in writing, use short sentences,” he said. The Hemingway Editor app is based on this premise.


Write Sweet and Short Prose like Hemingway

If you’ve been advised to write like Hemingway, it’s one way of telling you that your sentences are too clunky and could use some trimming.
Keeping the desirable quality of the brevity of Hemingway’s writing in mind, Adam and Ben Long developed a writing app that grades the readability of your writing from 1-15. The lower the rank, the clearer your writing.

How to Use the Hemingway Editor

The Hemingway Editor is very easy to use. You can paste or type text into it. The app uses color-coding to convey how complicated the sentence is. For instance, if there is a red highlight, the sentence is dense and it would be a good idea to work on it. A purple highlight indicates that a longer word can be replaced by a shorter one. A formatting toolbar is also provided.

In this example, the highlights focus on adverbs and the use of passive voice. Readability is also graded. You can use this app to assess your own content. A few tweaks based on the suggestions provided can clean up your copy.

Hemingway Editor: Recommended or Not?

Highly recommended tool.

 

Author Resource: How to Be Unpredictable with the Cliché Finder

In the Author Resources series, we explore the different author tools at our disposal. Be it editing, formatting or designing your cover, there are quite a few options that you can explore online. Today we look at the Cliché Finder.

How the Cliché Finder Fixes Your Text

Clichés are stale and overused phrases or expressions that are best avoided in the original copy. Some examples of clichés in sentences are:

When he told her he wanted to touch base, she was walking on air.

The apple has fallen far from the tree,” he said to her disapprovingly after examining her portfolio.

She was doomed to disappointment when he compared her to her twin brother.

The phrases highlighted above are not wrong at all. For instance, the phrase ‘touch base’ seems professional and is commonly used when you want to encourage someone to contact you. But if you write a blog post, memo or email with a huge number of clichés, it could make your language sound unoriginal.

While it is impossible to avoid all clichés, being aware of the number of clichés used helps. This is where a tool like Cliche Finder comes in. It uses an algorithm to analyze the clichéd phrases, words or expressions used in the text you provide and also highlights alternate words you could use.

How to Use it

You paste the text into a box and submit.

screengrab of how Cliché Finder Fixes Your Text
Enter text and catch those clichés

Once you click the Find Clichés button, you get a list of clichés Now you can rephrase your copy as advised.

Cliché results, spelling mistakes and replacement options
Cliché Results

Cliché Finder: Recommended or Not?

Recommended. This is a useful editorial tool that throws light on (whoops! cliché that 🤭) avoidable phrases. Word of caution: You need not agree with all the suggestions and choose to adopt the changes you see fit.