christine alexis virgins of the screen.

How do I serve you, dear readers?

Let me tell you – it’s complicated. But if I’m a compassionate intentional writer, then I need to know how I serve you better – how I connect with you.

Along those lines, I’m going to give you a behind the scenes look at my work and the tools I use.

Right now, my connecting can be broken down into a few areas:

  • Blogging – that is, as of writing this post, I am posting Monday through Friday (though in all honesty, I’m considering paring down to 3 times a week).

  • The Compassion Letter – my weekly newsletter where I give a little special tidbit about my compassion post directly to your inbox.

  • Education – articles, workshops, and quizzing fellow authors and bloggers to streamline my efforts.

  • Books, Etc – Right now it’s my library of work, but it will be developing my compassion guide, as well as related course content.

  • Networking – guest posting, interviews, asking questions, and sharing information with kindred spirits.

  • Social Media – connecting, responding, and reacting to and with readers and colleagues.

But how does this work?

The Tools & Resources

I use primarily free tools combined with tactics I’ve gleaned from different classes. I use free tools not just because of the low cost, but also because that’s where I am right now. There are a lot of things available that work pretty well without any cost. Where it became impossible to use free, I spent money because it was the right thing to do. For others, different solutions will work better.

In no particular order, the tools I use right now are:

  • Photo Editing:

    • Canva – for blog and social graphics. Free, but also comes in a paid version.

    • GIMP – an opensource photo editor similar to Photoshop…but completely free! I use this for things Canva can’t do.

  • Writing and Blogging:

    • Blog Editorial Calendar – I downloaded a few different ones and cobbled together something that works well for me. In the end, I discovered I liked using a pen more than a spreadsheet. This let me schedule interviews, guest posts, sponsored posts, themes, as well as planning out my Tuesday Coffee Talk movie/TV reviews.

    • Wrist braces – This is to protect my wrists from repetitive stress injury. I shelled out for these because the ones at the drug store are NOT good enough. They were like $26 a piece.

    • Acer Aspire R 14 – My laptop. Obviously this I shelled out for. I also got it at Costco with the 3 year warranty because…it’s a good idea to have insurance on your most expensive and important tool

    • Wix – currently my site is hosted on Wix because I wanted to avoid learning a whole mess of techno-babble…and I’ve still learned a lot of techno-babble. I have mixed feelings about the host, but it’s got the easiest WYSIWYG editor available (and they’re improving it all the time). I pay $12 annually for a domain (going rate) and $111 for annual hosting plus all the bells and whistles it gives me.

    • Google Apps for Work – I bought my own email because a lot of email providers made changes that make it less likely for subscribers to get newsletters sent from free addresses. It’s only $5 a month, so that’s pretty sweet!

    • CreateSpace – I use this for print-on-demand. It’s easy and it gives me good placement in Amazon.

    • Smashwords – I use this for ebook conversion and distribution. It’s got competitive royalty splits and makes it easier for me to upload to a bunch of sites in one shot.

    • LibreOffice – FREE! AWESOME! A whole suite of office applications that are opensource and work better than anything standard with Mac or Windows. I use the word processing application for pretty much everything you’d expect, and Calc (Excel app) for spreadsheets.

    • FireFox – Opensource awesome-sauce web browser you’re probably using right now.

    • Ubuntu – The mother of awesome operating systems, free, opensource, and it doesn’t break down when I get cranky (believe it or not, this is actually a concern for me).

    • Google Analytics – because…I need to know what’s working and what isn’t. Free, but definitely a learning curve.

  • Social media:

    • Facebook Scheduler – the sharing algorithm prioritizes native sharing, so I decided to do this to make sure I got maximum free visibility.

    • HootSuite – I decided to use the free plan for Twitter post scheduling.

    • Pinterest Group Boards – this is an experiment, and I’m still playing with it to see how it works as a strategy, but I’ve seen lots of colleagues use this to great success (Check them out here).

  • Miscellaneous:

    • MailChimp – free mass mailing. When I scale, I’ll probably change providers to something more cost effective that meets my needs, but for now, this works.

    • GoPro – my video camera and the regular flat lens are present. Now I just need to decide how I’ll use them. Was around $300 for the camera at the time and I think $100 for the lens (though I got it a while ago and the features have changed a bit)

    • Skype – free for meetings with people far away and podcast interviews.

    • Google Link Shortner – sometimes I like to shorten a link and have tracking stats. This does the job!

    • Caffeine – usually in the form of Sumatra blend coffee, but sometimes green tea. I’m. Not. Joking.

Cappuccino in white cup on saucer with spoon and wayfarers in background. I'm totally hipster.

Right now my go to business resources are (in no particular order):

My Curiosities

I’m looking into expanding my arsenal, and so I’m also researching a few things. These include :

  • Video editing software

  • Audio editing software

  • Screen capture software

  • Course distribution

  • Course hosting

  • Accounting for small businesses

  • Swag design

  • Swag printing (of an ethical variety)

  • Board Booster – for Pinterest. This will be part of scaling.

It sounds like a lot. Maybe it is, but this is my business so it isn’t just a simple willy-nilly enterprise. When I decided to get really serious about my work being a business, I changed every aspect of it. This is all because I wanted to connect better with readers and helps me better fulfill my purpose.

Is your business strategy fulfilling your purpose? How do you connect? And am I doing all right? Leave a comment below!

21 Tools & 5 Resources for Writers
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