Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting It Done: Writing and Publishing Tools

Hello, friends! My last two weeks have been extraordinarily busy. I’m pretty sure most of us will agree that between writing, revising, editing, critiquing for CPs, reading to stay current, querying, and “stalking” any precious agents who happen to have pages of your equally precious MS, the writer’s life is a busy one. Throw in as much traveling as I do plus a full-time job and an internship, and I’m walking a thin line of crazy most days. (My husband will verify this.) So, I’m a fan of things that speed me up, give me needed info, and make me a more efficient writer. Since I’m sure you are too, I’ve got some cool tools for you below. 

Publishers Lunch:  “…the industry's "daily essential read," now shared with well over 30,000 publishing people every day. Each report gathers together stories from all over the web and print of interest to the professional trade book community, along with original reporting, plus a little perspective and the occasional wisecrack added in.” It’s free, it’s informational, and it’s a great way to become familiar with editors, imprints, and publishing news. 

Publishers Marketplace: I love, love, love Publishers Marketplace. It’s $20 a month, but I get a deal report emailed to me listing which agents have sold what project to which editor lately. I can use the dealmakers search to look up agents and see not only what they’ve sold and the size of the deal, but I can also search for agents who have sold my genre. Not every deal is reported to PM, but it’s still a great way to find reputable agents. Additionally, hundreds of agents have pages listing what they’re looking for and a little about themselves. Plus, you get the Publishers Lunch Deluxe, a version of the Publishers Lunch newsletter with even more content. Definitely worth it for while you’re querying. It makes finding agents easy, and there’s plenty of info there to help you personalize your query letter. 

AutoCrit Editing Wizard: This tool is brilliant. There are both paid and free versions, but the paid version is cheap and totally worth it. Why? Hold on to your hats. I copy-paste a chapter into the box, and within seconds it generates a report showing passive verbs, filter words, empty words, adverbs, and adjectives. It gives me a word count and visual for the length of my sentences, lists any clichés and dialogue tags I used, highlights words and phrases I use repeatedly, and gives me a list of phrases I use that could be cut to a word or two. AutoCrit also marks homonyms so I can make sure I didn't slip up, and it evaluates the reading level of my writing based on 12 major tests. Last but certainly not least, it compares all those highlighted things with a massive database of published writing and lets me know how many more passive verbs (for example) are in my writing versus the writing in their database. 

In short, AutoCrit is editing genius. I no longer have to strain my eyes picking through sentence after sentence. I have everything highlighted neatly in a several reader-friendly reports. It’s not a human, but it’s remarkable anyway. Plus, it pays me compliments if my writing comes up clean. How much better can it get?
The free version requires no sign-up, but you’re limited to 400 words three times per day- and you only get the top three reports. Definitely try the free version to see if you like it, but I recommend at least the gold membership ($47/year). You can enter up to 1000 words unlimited times, and you receive access to every report. 

Not having tons of money to throw around myself, I  generally hesitate before recommending that others pull out their wallets. But if you're going to spend money anywhere in the writing process besides conferences, go for Publishers Marketplace and AutoCrit. They're golden time savers. 

Next time I'll be back with more writing and publishing tools. Hope you have a great weekend!

Have you used Publishers Lunch/Marketplace or AutoCrit? Let me how you like it in the comments!


  1. I use AutoCrit too and I second everything you say about it. So helpful!

  2. Kate, can you post the AutoCrit link for everyone?

  3. If you click "AutoCrit" it will take you right there! :)

  4. Just tried AutoCrit and it is fab! Thank you so much for telling us about it, I really needed a little helper like that!

    The Book Critic x

  5. Have never tried AutoCrit. Thanks for the information! The others are awesome tools. Great post, Kate!

  6. @ Book Critic- wonderful! I'm so glad you're finding it's useful.
    @Tonya- Thanks! Let me know if you like AutoCrit :)

  7. I just tried the AutoCrit and loved it! *goes to find credit card* ;)

  8. AutoCrit is amazing! Thanks for the tips.

  9. If you use the code "fb2012" you can get 10% of your order btw. =)(I had to "like" their FB page for it to accept it though. Don't know how the knew that. O.o