Book Report
If you want a more powerful look at your sales through KDP, Book Report is a must. It’s free until you make $1000 in a month, and then it only costs $5. Five bucks for some pretty powerful reporting, not to mention an awesome cash register ka-ching sound every time you sell a book (that sound’s really fun on good sales days).

Odds are you’ve heard of Scrivener at this point, and if you haven’t yet you will. It’s a word processing program that’s made specifically for writers, and it reminds me a little bit of Microsoft OneNote, only better for book writing purposes. There’s a Mac and PC version, but from what I understand the Mac version is a little more robust than the PC version. I also believe the folks at Literature & Latte are planning on releasing a tablet version, too.

Jutoh’s like Scrivener, but is better for formatting ebooks from what I understand. I’ve thought about buying it (it’s fairly cheap), but I just haven’t bit the bullet yet. People w ho use it seem to love it, though.

Vellum is only available for the Mac. This makes me sad, as Vellum looks like an absolutely amazing program that could help me make super pretty ebooks. I like super pretty ebooks. People who use it swear by it.

Book Planner
Joel Friedlander recently launched this cloud-based program, which is basically project management software for indie authors. It guides you through the timeline for taking your book from completion to publication. I’ve poked around in it a little bit since I got in on special introductory pricing for it, and it looks like a super powerful, highly customizable tool to have in your arsenal.

Intuit QuickBooks for Small Business
So this one isn’t as fun as the others. I mean, it’s tax software for crying out loud. BUT it’s really awesome tax software. It’s $10 a month (and tax deductible–don’t forget that), and is a cloud-based program that connects to accounts you specify. I connect it to my checking account, PayPal, and a couple of my credit cards, since I haven’t bitten the bullet yet and gotten an account that’s dedicated solely to writing (that’s also something else you should do…so do as I say, not as I do…). The great thing is that I can easily designate personal and business transactions as such, and can set up rules that will properly classify those transactions in the future. So all of my royalty payments are automatically labeled as business, whereas the paychecks from my day job are labeled as personal. You can also split transactions between business and personal, and within business you have more labels for tax and reporting purposes. My husband will be the first to tell you that I suck at budgeting and at finances, but this program has honestly helped me a lot when it comes to understanding how much money I make and how much money I spend–both personally and professionally. Plus, it’ll make things a lot easier come tax time when I have to give our poor accountant all of my crap.

Shining Year Workbook and Planner
shining life workbooksLast year when I decided I was going to do this indie publishing thing, I sat down and wrote out goals in a spiral notebook. I gave myself due dates and numbers to reach. Some of those goals I more than surpassed. Others, I didn’t meet but I made strides towards getting there. But it all felt really disorganized (which, to be fair, is pretty much my natural state–organization, like finance, is not my strong suit). A couple of weeks ago I read about these Shining Year Workbooks and Planners, and checked out Leonie Dawson’s website. It made sense to me. So much about the entire process made sense to me, from looking back on the previous year (the good and the bad) and basically letting it go so you can move on to the current year, to the way you go about goal planning and setting goals. It’s very much for women (although I’m sure there are probably some men who would enjoy it), is beautifully illustrated, and the quality is fantastic. I spent a Friday night and a good chunk of the next Saturday morning going through both the Life and Biz workbooks and setting goals for myself for this year. I love the fact that it focuses not just on monetary and tangible goals, but also intangible goals such as making sure to take time out for self-care, move your body, and eat your fruits and vegetables. Basically, it’s a great tool for busy women everywhere who have big goals and dreams and who are very visual and who need gentle reminders to take care of themselves, too. I highly recommend it. (Just like I highly recommend that ANY indie writer list their goals and check in with those goals periodically to see how they’re doing.)

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