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Ten Cool Apps for Writers

Story Tracker (

Your smartphone helps you keep in touch with friends, tells you what song is playing on the radio, and navigates your car around town. But can it also help you write better—or even get you published?

Sandra Beckwith, a “recovering publicist with more than 25 years of award-winning publicity experience,” recently listed “10 Best Apps for Authors” on her website, (Editorial note: If you’re not subscribed to her e-newsletter, and you hope to one day publish a book, you really should subscribe!) Here’s the list:

A Novel Idea – This interactive game lets users take turns building a story, one sentence at a time. It can be both a time sapper and an exercise in creativity.

Evernote – If one of your resolutions for the coming year is to get more organized, you’ll love popular Evernote. It helps you remember, organize, and share the details of your professional and personal lives. It uses “notebooks” to organize and curate all types of content you assign to each notebook – files, photos, URLs, e-mail messages, and so on. The program syncs content among all devices linked to your account so that you’re current no matter which device you’re using at the moment.

iTalk – Need to record in-person interviews from your Apple device? This no-charge app works on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Recorder – To record telephone conversations, pay $.99 for this app recommended by a journalist friend, but note that there’s a per-minute fee associated with the telephone recordings.

SoundNote – At $4.99, this iPad-only app could be a lifesaver for anyone who takes notes on an iPad. Ever miss an important detail during an interview and have to skim through your entire recording to find out what it was? With SoundNote, just tap a word from that part of the interview—it will play back what you missed.

Story Tracker – This submission tracking app makes keeping track of submitted stories, novels, poems, scripts, and articles easier. There’s a $7.99 fee for this one.

Taptu – There are a number of news aggregators to help you stay current on topics you need to follow. One tip for Taptu: Sign up on the website before using the app.

Wikipanion – This Wikipedia app for iOS provides quicker access, offering search results while you type.

Write or Die – Saying it “puts the prod in productivity,” this iPad or PC app forces you to keep writing by providing consequences for distractions and procrastination. Who doesn’t need something like this to keep them from checking e-mail or looking for cookies?

Writing Prompts – Using text prompts, current events, scene elements, genres, and writing types, this Apple app helps keep the ideas coming. The price is $1.99.

Sandra Beckwith

Self-employed since 1985, Sandra Beckwith’s professional experience includes positions at Burson-Marsteller/Chicago, one of the world’s largest public relations firms. She was a product publicity manager at the former Heublein Inc. in Hartford, Conn., a beverage alcohol distiller/marketer. She has a degree in journalism and public relations from Utica College of Syracuse University.

Sandra is the author of two publicity books—Streetwise Complete Publicity Plans: How to Create Publicity That Will Spark Media Exposure and Excitement and Publicity for Nonprofits: Generating Media Exposure That Leads to Awareness, Growth, and Contributions.