Posted in Freelance Writer, Indie Author

Writer’s Toolbox – Websites and Apps to Make Advertising More Colorful

Whether you’re designing an ad or creating a post for one of your social media accounts – you need to make sure that your company stands out (even if your company is just you). As an author and freelance writer (oh, and as a crafter), I do a lot of online promoting. If you want people to see what you’re promoting, you need to use more than words.

I’m not putting these sites in any kind of order – they all offer something unique that is worth using.


Lumen5 is an easy to use (and free) website that lets you make slideshow style videos (they even have music you can use). You can use your own photos or use photos they have available. They might have paid options, but I’ve been able to get all I want from the freebies, so I haven’t really looked that deeply into it.

I like to use Lumen5 to make trailers and sneak peek videos for my books. I’ve also used it to share tips from some of my articles, with links to the complete works included at the end of the video. You can check out my YouTube channel to see what I’ve done using Lumen5.

Clipping Magic

ICHINGDon’t have Photoshop, but need to remove the background from your images so you can add them to cool new backgrounds? For $3.99 a month I get 15 credits from Clipping Magic (they have a couple other pricing options for people that need to clip more pictures a month). It takes one credit to “clip” a photo. And, if you don’t use all of your credits up each month, they continue to accumulate (you don’t lose them).

I love this site because it is easy to use – you just highlight the stuff you want to keep using green and highlight the areas you want to be removed with red, and you’re all set. It also has a “sculpting” tool to help with fine lines.


Iguana Hold Your HandI love PicMonkey. I used them back when they had far more free options, and then gave them up when they started charging for more stuff. However, because I couldn’t find another free site that did exactly what they do, I went back. I got a week for free, and now I am paying $7.99 a month to use them – but it’s well worth it (and it’s a tax write-off too).

PicMonkey lets me upload photos, add fun backgrounds (like the one in the I-Ching kit picture above, which I made with PicMonkey). They also have a bunch of cool face editing features so you can make yourself into a witch, a vampire, or even a zombie. They have holiday themes and so much more.


Poetry about life, loss, love, and everything in between.Available at Lulu.comThe Canva website and app are easy to use, and they are an absolute must for online advertising (especially on social media). This is ideal for people that want something free (they have paid options as well). You can load your own photos, use free ones from them, or purchase some – depending on what you need.

Canva is my go-to tool for cool Facebook page covers and general book adds (plus, I love the ability to access it via an app on my phone from anywhere).


Pictures are important – they capture people’s attention before they even see your words. You don’t have to have a bunch of your own photos or be a photographer to get your hands on great photos to use in advertising, on blog posts, on social media, or even on your book covers. You can find a plethora of free photos on Pixabay (though it is nice to donate a few bucks once in a while to the people who are taking the photos you’re using).

I have a strict rule of only using my own photos for my book covers, but I do use Pixabay often when I write articles for Vocal.

Image Size Calculator

It’s easy to hop into Paint and resize a photo, but how do you know what size to make it? When you’re working with online photos or even photos that you might be printing out Resolution matters. I found a handy free tool online that lets you determine the Pixel to Inch calculations for a photo, with the ability to pick what DPI you need. Different DPI will calculate to a different Inch size. You can use it in reverse as well (though it takes some trial and error) to find out how many Pixels a certain size (in inches) photo needs to be.

I use this tool when I am creating posters, postcards, and even bookmarks to print through VistaPrint.


These are some of the websites and apps that I use on a regular basis to make all sorts of things to share with people on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Next post (in a week or so) I will share some of the sites I like to use to make money – whether I’m selling something, creating something to sell, or looking for backers.