Novelist Plugin for Authors is Now Free! (Easily manage your author website)

If you’ve been around a little while, you may remember when I released the Novelist plugin for authors last year. At the time, it was a paid plugin, and got a lot of great feedback from its users.

Well, one of my big goals for this year was to give Novelist a little more attention. I decided that the best way to do this was to make some big changes. I wanted to release a slightly simpler version of the plugin for free in the WordPress repository, then move some of the bigger, more niche features into paid add-ons.

First, I worked on recoding the entire plugin

The code wasn’t terrible before, but I still wanted to gut it and redo it from the ground up.

  • Better, more organized code.
  • More thorough comments.
  • A settings panel that’s 5 million times better (code-wise and usability-wise).
  • Actions and filters everywhere.
  • Templates that can easily be overridden in themes.
  • And extensive documentation (for both regular users and developers).

I love how easy it is to change and customize the plugin via add-ons or in themes. It’s delicious!

The re-coding process took a long time, especially because I worked on it in between other projects. But once it was ready, I was able to release it on WordPress.org.

Inside Novelist

Novelist adds a new section in your admin panel for “Books”. Instead of creating a new page (Pages > Add New) for each book and then manually trying to format the book page, Novelist makes it so much easier. You create a new book (Books > Add New) and just fill out a super simple form with all the book information.

Edit Book page in the Novelist plugin

Each book gets its own public-facing page and the book information is automatically put together and formatted.

Single book page

The format may look simple, but the best part of the plugin is that the layout is customizable. This is something that other author plugins lack. Here’s a look at the layout builder:

Book layout builder in the Novelist plugin

If you’re a developer, you can even take this a step further and completely build your own layout into your theme. Here’s an example of something a bit more complex that I’m playing with:

Custom book layout

In fact, developers are something I’m really trying to cater to here. I want to make it easier for designer and developers to build websites for their author clients. I even have a tutorial on how to add custom fields and a detailed overview of the Novelist_Book class and how to get book information.

Paid add-ons

Earlier I mentioned paid add-ons. That’s still in the works, but coming soon! I’ll be putting the following features into add-ons:

  • 3D Book Covers: Gives all book covers a cool 3D effect.
  • ARC Requests: Build a form to let reviewers request ARCs of your books. Then easily manage the requests and send out approval/rejection emails.
  • Events Calendar: Easily create a calendar of your upcoming author events and display them on your website.
  • Import from Goodreads: Batch import books from Goodreads by entering a list of ISBNs.

Download the plugin

Download the free plugin

Let me know what you think! Do you have any ideas for the plugin?

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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19 comments

  1. I think this is beyond awesome! It’s really cool you’re giving the basic plugin for free and a very good idea to put additional features as add-ons. I’m not an author, yet (hopefully), but the ARC request feature is something I’m sure a lot of authors, specially indie ones will love!

    1. Thank you Pamela! 🙂 I’m really excited to get a quality free plugin out there. The add-ons will be useful too, but it’s really important to me to release a free plugin that’s incredibly beneficial and customizable on its own.

  2. Hi Ashley, Thank you for this! How does the plugin work with frameworks? Genesis in particular. I have a couple of author sites in the works and am interested in using your plugin in place of the Genesis author pro plugin… any advice would be appreciated.

    1. I haven’t explicitly tested it with Genesis, but the plugin is designed to try to work with any theme. It doesn’t modify any of the theme files, so it shouldn’t cause any problems. It simply filters the_content to add the book information, which is something all themes use.

      If you do encounter any problems with Genesis then feel free to email me at support@novelistplugin.com and I’m happy to help. 🙂

  3. Love it! I’ve been thinking of switching from Blogger to WordPress once my novel is finished, and this would be great to showcase it! Awesome job!

  4. Ashley once again thank you! I used this plugin to create my author’s website. I am really looking forward to the paid plugins mostly the ARC Requests and Events Calendar.

  5. I came to your site today specifically to say, “hey, what happened to that author plug in you used to have???” And here it is, new and improved. I can’t wait to try it out with some of my author clients. And looking forward to the paid plugins too!

  6. I’m not an author (yet, I hope), but I think this must be the best plugin ever for authors. And it’s awesome that you made it free!

  7. In my indie publishing process research days (I eventually stopped to write), the thing I most struggled with is how to manage ARCs, so I quite like how you’re making the addition a paid add-on to the plugin!

    Quick question, though—how is the plugin in terms of bulk? Because WordPress is also bulky on its own already. :s

    Liz recently posted: MunchPak: June 2016
    1. – All assets come minified.
      – There aren’t any slow running queries or processes in the plugin.
      – There isn’t any extra or unnecessary code.
      – It doesn’t include any frameworks except a library called “Browser”, but that only gets loaded on the system info page.

      Hope that helps. 🙂

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