A Bevy of Options by Keri Kruspe

Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Keri Kruspe as she shares with us “A Bevy of Options.” Enjoy!

Various tools I’ve used to get my writer’s career to get off the ground.


Beginning another career can be daunting, even if you know in your heart this is what you were meant to do. So here I was, starting my writing career just as I’m starting the winter of my life. Getting older doesn’t mean I couldn’t learn new stuff… I just had to find what I needed!

Needless to say, in the two years I’ve seriously pursed my passion, I’ve come across various “tools” I’ve used to help me get started. I’m not a person who hordes any goodies she finds, so I wanted to share what I’ve been using with my friends and colleagues.

To get started, I’ve come up with two separate categories: Things that are “free” and those that cost.

In this article, I will list the things that cost and separated them into three categories: marketing, editing, and training.

Things that cost – Marketing

K-lytics – A great research tool to discover if what you want to write, others will buy. They offer an in-depth look at several genre’s along with their subgroups to let you know where the market is month-to-month. Their customer service is great. I’ve sent an email with a question and got an answer by the next day.

The downside is the cost: $97.00 a month (or $30.00 if you want a general idea no subgroups.) I recommend purchasing the whole package for a month and do your research. I cancelled with no problem and plan to go back when the time is right.

KDP Rocket – A tool I highly recommend, especially if you want to save time. A quick and easy way to research categories, keywords, and competition in Amazon without the extensive work of doing the comparisons yourself. They charge a one-time fee of $97.00, and there are training videos to help you navigate the best way to use it.

Things That Cost – Editing

ProWritingAid – I was lucky enough to catch this app when it was on sale for $87.00 for life. When not on sale, the cost is $210.00. Or you can pay yearly, starting at $60.00. This baby is great in providing substantial info for the beginning writer. For example, I didn’t realize I was using she/he/they way too often on a page. It’s forced me to redo sloppy sentences. The only real drawback is that it doesn’t edit as you work. I have to upload the info and click whatever I want analyzed.

Fictionary – Are you the type of writer who wants to know if your scenes are too long/short? Or do you even have any scenes? Do you have too many scenes that start with a dialogue as opposed to action? Have you added a compelling sensory flavor to the scene? I’ve heard of authors plastering post-it notes on the wall to make sure their story arc is just right. This tool will put it all together and does it in graphs and pretty pictures.

I’ve used this tool and it helps me to look at my WIP from a different viewpoint. I do recommend it. It’s $20.00 a month, which you can pause when you don’t need it. They have a responsive staff and various emails that tell you how to navigate through the product. My biggest complaint is I couldn’t print/save my work and it disappeared when I reused it for another story. I sent them an email asking about that, and they told me it was something they were looking into.

WordRake – This does what it sounds like; it goes through your page and “rakes” those pesky extra words you don’t need. The cost is $129.00 for a year. I have to admit I may not renew this year since a) my raking has lessened and b) ProWritingAid has taken away some problems I created.

JutohThis is an ebook editor to help format your masterpiece to upload on Amazon and all the other platforms (mobi and epub). I found it easy to work with and the basic price was reasonable at $40.00. You can upgrade if you’d like for double the price.

Things That Cost – Training

As I stated before, starting a new career can be overwhelming. I’ve been in the financial industry for over thirty years, even reached a pinnacle of VP with three hundred employees throughout Nevada. I have a diploma in Bank Operations and have completed various seminars in sales, management, and finance.

Did that prepare me for my new life as a writer? Eh…not really. I needed access to comprehensive training I could open when I wanted to, especially since I still work full-time. The good news is I have found two very useful training avenues I couldn’t do without.

Barany School of Fiction They give personal, hands-on coaching with an expertise second-to-none. The monthly cost of $47.00 includes a bi-monthly coaching call with others. I couldn’t move forward without their know-how and sense of humor. I highly recommend spending the bucks and meeting new friends. (Editor’s Note: Keri is referring to our all-inclusive membership program here.)

Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing FormulaSometimes you need to know how to do things “down and dirty” and that’s what SPF offers. They give step-by-step instructions from how to build a website to how to upload your book on various platforms. If you are looking for the personal touch, this isn’t it. I have to warn you, it costs a pretty penny, when it’s available. Last I looked, you have to join a waiting list. I paid $495.00 for their Self-Publishing 101 course, plus bought their “Ads for Authors” when it was offered. (I got a 10% discount and pay $67.00 a month for that separately.) While I admit the expense was high, I couldn’t have published without it. If you can afford it, I highly recommend it. Plus, Mark is British and I love listening to his accent!


I hope my list of what I’ve used in the last couple of years is useful to you. My next article will be the fun one…FREEBIES!

Yep, there are great free tools out there that authors can use. If you have questions, leave a comment on this blog or visit me at my website. See you then!



Keri KruspeKeri Kruspe has been an author since the age of twelve and has always been fascinated with otherworldly stories that end in Happily Ever After. Her current works, An Alien Exchange trilogy will have its first release by Winter 2018. The trilogy conclusions — D’zia’s Dilemma and Ki’s Redemption — will soon follow by the first quarter of 2019.

As a native Nevadan, Keri now resides with her family in the wilds of Northwestern Michigan. An avid reader, Keri enjoys good wine, good food, and watching action/adventure movies. You can find her most days immersed in her fantasy world of writing or traveling with her hubby in their RV, discovering intelligent life here on Earth. Don’t forget to visit her website at www.kerikruspe.com. Leave your feedback and sign up for her newsletter!

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  • Mary Van Everbroeck says:

    Great information! Thanks for sharing, Keri!

  • Keri Kruspe says:

    Anytime, Mary! You know I love giving my opinion….(wink/wink)

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