Being a writer or a blogger involves more than just putting words on a page (or on a screen). Sure, that’s a big part of the job but it’s not the only thing that we do. Or need to do.
And to do those little jobs, we need something other than a word processor or a text editor. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Many apps, which are on the web.
Let’s take a look at four web-based tools. While they’re not specifically for writing or blogging, you’ll find them useful.
As I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, writers and bloggers don’t just work with words. We often work with photos, too. And for most of us (me included), a tool like Photoshop or The GIMP is overkill for much of what we need to do.
That’s where PicMonkey comes in. It’s a basic online photo editor that lets you crop, resize, adjust, and add various effects to photo or graphic. I generally use PicMonkey to crop and resize photos (including the stock photos that I include in these posts), as well adjust the color or orientation of photos. I do other things, too.
PicMonkey is free, but you can get a subscription for $2.75 a month (or $33 per year) that gets rid of the small adds in the editor and gives you access to a wider range of options and effects.
Sometimes, you have a file that either you or someone you know can’t work with. It’s in a format that your software can’t handle, or you just prefer something else. So what can you do?
Turn to Zamzar, that’s what.
Zamzar is a tool for converting files of various types between format. You can, for example, transform an old WordPerfect document into a Word file or a PDF.
In fact, Zamzar can perform an impressive array of conversions. One conversion type that I recently discovered was the ebook conversion. I recently updated my first ebook Getting Organized with Google’s Tools, and was uploading it to a few places where I sell my books on the web using my Chromebook. I realized that I didn’t have a version for the Amazon Kindle Store, so instead of firing up my main laptop I converted the EPUB version of the book to the format Amazon prefers. The conversion was fast and equal to that of Amazon’s KindleGen tool.
Like PicMonkey, Zamzar is a free service. But you’re limited to files of under 1 GB in size. You can get a paid account for $7 or $16 a month, which lets you convert files of just about any size and to convert up to 10 files at a time.
Need an invoice? If you only need an invoice every so often, Minute Bill is a solid option.
Minute Bill allows you to Create invoices within a minute. Well it might take a bit longer than that, but not much. All you need to do is enter some information — the name of your company, your contact information, and the contact information of the person or firm you’re billing. Then, add the line items that you’re billing. You can also change the currency and specify the tax rate, if needed.
When you’re done, you can print the invoice or generate a PDF. The invoices that Minute Bill generates are plain (you can’t add a logo to them), but those invoices are more than adequate.
Every have a bunch of PDF files that you wanted to combine into one file? Say, for example, a bunch of articles that you want to pull together into a makeshift book. Or an ebook to which you want to add a cover? That’s not as easy as it sounds. Unless, of course, you use a program called Adobe Acrobat. But Acrobat costs several hundred dollars.
I have a number of powerful PDF utilities on my main laptop, but when I’m not using it and need to join two (or more) PDF files together I turn to PDF Mergy to combine PDF files. It’s easy to use. Just go to the site and either upload the files that you want to merge from your computer, or load them from Google Drive. Then, click the Merge button. PDF Mergy does its job quite quickly, and you can download the resulting file.
I’ve never run into the limitations of PDF Mergy, but I’ve never tried to push the app’s limits. But for what I use it for — mainly adding a cover to my ebooks — PDF Mergy does a very nice job.
Do you have any favourite web apps that you use with your writing business? Why not share your picks by leaving a comment?
(A quick plug: If you’re interested in learning more about how to fit web apps like the ones I’ve discussed in this post, or others, into your writing or business workflow, feel free to get in touch with me to learn more about my technology coaching services.)
Photo credit: dhester