By Stephanie Barko

Even if you don’t think of yourself as much of a techie, you may surprise yourself with how much your laptop or smartphone can help your writing career these days. Are you looking to create your author platform, map out your manuscript, or release yourself from writer’s block? Relax and let these three pieces of software guide your creativity into a cohesive pattern.


DIY Book Platform

DIY Book Platform is a web-based app that guides authors to create a unique platform for their upcoming release. The tool helps writers of most genres on either publishing track—indie or traditional.

Sections in the app include market analysis, reviews, audience, media, social networking, events, and competitions. Each section is color coded to help users keep their place as they navigate through the tool, answering multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. Most questions include notes to help new authors understand publishing terminology and book marketing concepts.

Users save and print out their book platform, which they can then use to attract an agent or acquire a publisher.

Cost: $99 for a 45-day subscription



MindNode illustrates your thoughts using the mind mapping model. You begin with your plot or central theme and add characters and settings. Branches can be color coded and highlighted to customize the map.

Somehow when your ideas are laid out in front of you like this, they make more sense. This app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and organizes your thoughts in a nonlinear visual format that coaxes out your artistic side.

Cost: $9.99


The Brainstormer

The Brainstormer is a fun app that exercises you in ways to release your creativity. You spin a wheel to recombine a subject, location and plot. You can even edit your wheel to form new possibilities. This app has the potential to lead your brain into a completely new story space and is designed for the iPad and iPhone.

Cost: $1.99

January is the perfect month to try something new and set an intention for your year. Take it easy on yourself and let a new tool support your creative process.

Stephanie Barko
is a literary publicist who promotes adult nonfiction & historical novels. Meet Stephanie this spring at Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference or connect with her online at