Does your workflow resemble a tornado in need of some serious taming? Are you tired of post-it-notes floating about under the desk? Oh yes, we've been there, we know how you feel.
Fortunately, we don't believe in being hush-hush about the tools we use in our office so we'd like to share five essential tools which we hope can offer some form of assistance and help for everyone involved in the publishing industry. Fancy a pocketful of inspiration? Find out more below:
It is real-time, which means each of us can access the latest data at any time, and it is hosted online, which means we can access it from anywhere in the world - it doesn't rely on Microsoft Access, FileMaker or any other installed software.
As we have built it in-house, we can add all sorts of idiosyncratic functionality to it. We now have a button that in one click downloads an Author Information sheet, or a Press Release. We upload hi-resolution covers and can automatically download resized versions for ebook covers, emailing, or thumbnails. Our books are priced by size, so when we type in the number of pages a book has, ArcBase automatically calculates what price the paperback, hardback and ebook are. This may seem lazy, but the less time we spend on uncreative, administrative thinking and doing, the more time we can spend on producing good books.
Finally, as it is online, we can connect to other organisations' public APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) in order to automate a lot of the repetitive tasks that publishers are faced with on a daily basis. For example, we are currently in the process of writing some scripts that join up our internal Google calendar of author events to ArcBase, and in the future, we intend to link this on to our website events page and possibly even Facebook and Twitter, to publicise the events automatically.
Unfortunately, this is an ongoing project and is far from ready for packaging as a piece of software that anyone can use. However, the code is all open-source and can be accessed here:
'Trello is a free, flexible, and visual way to organise anything with anyone.' Trello is a fantastic collaboration tool, which has become indispensable to all of us here at Arc. Its clever boards organise your projects and allow you to see what's being worked on, who's working on what, which tasks require priority and at what stage the project is at.
We can tell which tasks are urgent, if we're waiting for a response or when a task has been completed. It has worked wonders for our publishing programme. In just a glimpse, we're able to check the stages of our books.
With Trello, it's easy to keep on top of deadlines and maintain a manageable list of To-Dos.
Slack is far from slack - it's instant, efficient and diligent. Like ArcBase, it's real-time, which means communication is always speedy, easy and simple. Slack is known for being: 'Team communication for the 21st century.'
Some of its features include: channels, direct messages and private groups. Need to discuss a project with a work colleague? Don't bother with the dreaded inbox, save yourself some time and send it via Slack. We use it on a daily basis to keep everyone involved in the business loop. We find it helps to keep us in the swing of things, maintain momentum and share one another's enthusiasm.
It's a delight for sending spreadsheets, manuscripts, links, research and documents. Not in the office? Keep updated with the mobile app and receive instant messages on the go.
instantly. With Slack, you don't need to wait around for the next email or that elusive meeting invite.
Three words: audience, audience, audience! MailChimp is a fantastic marketing tool, which allows us to cleverly target our audience and develop our business. We use MailChimp to send our newsletters and market our most recent and forthcoming titles.
With MailChimp, we can insert all kinds of features including: links, buttons, titles, book covers, short biographies and keep our audience updated with our most exciting news and events. We love MailChimp because it offers endless room for growth. We highly recommend.
Our favourite thing about SoundCloud is that it uses widgets and apps, which makes recordings easily transferable to our blog, website, and social media pages. It enables us to add a new layer of character to some of our book pages and for potential buyers to absorb our poets' text in a new way.
With SoundCloud, we're capable of continually expanding an audio archive of our most important content. We love live poetry recordings and SoundCloud offers us a great distribution platform, where we can promote and share the work of our poets.