Helping authors publish

Category: Writing and Editing

Can I use song lyrics in my book?

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I have a long-standing interest in copyright, and I’ve read a lot of opinions from lawyers on the subject. But I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

The real answer to the question asked in the title of this article is, “It depends.” If the song lyrics are covered by copyright, then no, you can’t use them unless you get permission.

You could ask for permission, of course. You may have to pay a fee, and if the copyright holder is a large corporation, the cost may be prohibitive. On the other hand, if the song is by an independent artist, their price might be more affordable.

What about fair use?

It’s a common claim on the internet that small parts of copyrighted works can be used freely, under the auspices of “fair use”. This is partially true, but it’s more complex than such a simple statement suggests.

For one thing, many legal jurisdictions have no concept of fair use. Some, such as the UK, Canada, and Australia, have the concept of fair dealing rather than fair use. Fair dealing is less flexible and more restrictive than fair use, and in some jurisdictions it is limited to non-commercial uses.

But even in the United States, where the doctrine of fair use is well established, it probably won’t help you. Fair use applies if the copyrighted work is being quoted for a limited use, such as commentary, criticism, education, or parody.

A photograph of a judge's gavel, with open books in the background

Quoting a song lyric for any of those purposes might qualify as fair use. Having your character sing lines from their favourite song, or using it to set a particular tone, almost certainly isn’t fair use.

If you decide that your usage is fair use, it’s important to note that it does not mean that you have nothing to fear. It simply gives you an argument that you can use in your defence if you get sued. Even a successful defence could be expensive.

What to do instead

One option is to rewrite the relevant section so that it does not need song lyrics, possibly referencing the song without actually quoting it. But if you really want lyrics, there are ways to do so legally and ethically.

You could make up your own lyrics. This has the advantage that they can say exactly what you need to serve your story. There’s no need to write an entire song, unless you need the whole thing.

Or, you could look for songs that have been released under a Creative Commons licence. In this case, the owner retains their copyright, but allows reuse under certain terms. If you’re using Creative Commons licenced material, make sure you read the licence and understand what is required. There are several different licences, all with different requirements.

Finally, if the song lyrics are not covered by copyright, you can use them however you wish. This mostly applies to songs old enough that the copyright term has expired, but occasionally copyright owners will choose to relinquish their rights. This is rare, but it does happen — Tom Lehrer being a notable example.


If you came to this article hoping to find out how to use a specific song’s lyrics in your book, you may be disappointed. But there are legal ways to use song lyrics in your book. Hopefully one of the methods outlined above will work for you.

Why hire a proofreader?

Have you ever been reading a really good book, lost in the story, and suddenly you were jerked back to reality by a typo? That’s why every author needs a proofreader.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading is all about checking the nitty-gritty detail. It’s a vital step in making sure your book is as polished as it can be before it goes out to your readers. A professional proofreader will spot things that had never occurred to you to question.

Editing focuses on improving the story, the pacing, and the phrasing. Proofreading is about technical accuracy – spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. A good editor will help you iron out most of these issues, but there will always be a handful missed. Often, by the time an author and their editor are happy with the manuscript, they’ve been through it too many times to see the last little bits and pieces that need tidied up. If you understand the intent of a paragraph, that’s how you’ll read it, even if what’s actually written on the page is different; the human brain is very good at interpreting ambiguity and glossing over small inaccuracies.

What do proofreaders do?

Getting a proofreader to check over your manuscript will highlight all sorts of tiny little errors so you can fix them and make the finished book better. Proofreaders understand grammar on a deep level and can explain why a comma, full stop (period) or semicolon might all be a valid choice. We understand the difference between dialogue, quotes and reported speech. We can spot ambiguous sentences that might trip readers up.

Professional proofreaders also know about style guides. As a fiction author, you may never have thought about whether there should be spaces around your em dashes (or even what an em dash is) and style guides often disagree about it. There are many little things that could be correct several ways. Reading your book will be a better experience if they are consistent throughout your text. Whether it’s referring to a published style guide or your own preferred conventions, applying style ensures that consistency.

Proofreaders mark changes for you to check over. This might be in Word Tracked Changes, notes added to a pdf, or written on a print out with pen. It is important that you get the final say, because we don’t want to accidentally wipe out your voice. There may be two or three correct options to choose from and it’s not our choice to make. When you get your manuscript back it’s worth spending some time with it. Understanding the changes will improve today’s book and tomorrow’s new writing.

Even if you are an absolute grammar genius, it’s still worth getting someone else to proofread your work. Just to prove this is true even of professionals like me, this article had five changes spotted in proofreading.

Why hire an editor?

This is a guest post written by Paul Martin, an editor that we’ve worked with several times.

“I searched for copy-editors online and found Paul… It turned out that it was a very good choice.

Paul edited the text thoroughly and made suggestions that were very pertinent and helpful. On top of that, he offered further suggestions how to improve the manuscript. I valued his comments and revised the text. The manuscript became considerably better.

After a while he contacted me and put me in touch with a very good publisher. I sent a few chapters, they accepted the manuscript, I signed the contract and the process of having my memoir in print has now started. Paul did for me much more than just copy-editing work.”

Every project is different, every writer has their own style and reasons for publishing, and there are as many ways of editing a text as there are writing one. The terms we use for the different services can also vary and can be confusing to the uninitiated. The story above is a rare but satisfying one, the perfect conclusion to an editor-author relationship that shows the impact a good editor can have. Not only do we know the industry and the market, and our trade, we also have our own contacts and networks that can benefit our clients. Especially if you have decided to self-publish, there is much to be gained from employing a professional editor.

A professionally published book goes through round upon round of editorial processes: from the drafting, beta reading, revision and submission of the author themselves through agency edits, copy-edits and proofreads. Everything designed to make your work the best it can be. However, if you are self-publishing, this work will not necessarily happen unless you arrange it yourself. If you want your product to be the very best it can be, not just free of typographical errors but coherent, engaging and enticing for readers and industry alike, then you should consider hiring an editor. For those looking to go through the traditional publishing route, it is still a valuable option – as a well-edited script can help encourage agency or publisher take-up.

Agents often have a variety of alarm-words and stylistic preferences that a good editor will know to look out for. Have you used ‘said’ when not necessary or instead of more illustrative alternatives, for example ‘whispered’, ‘sneered’? Do you overuse ‘filler’ words such as ‘had’, ‘that’? Do you show the reader through your words, or simply tell them? Have you ensured that the subject you are discussing is clear rather than overusing pronouns such as ‘she’ and ‘he’? These kinds of fixes, as well as a check for actual errors, can make a huge difference to the reception of your work. No matter how good the writer, there is always room for improvement – and there is always something you will miss. As the author, you are most intimately familiar with your work – and it is difficult to detach yourself enough to be thorough. What makes sense to you, knowing what you know, may be less clear to a new reader – a fresh pair of eyes is therefore vital.

So, what services can an editor offer? The development or story edit focuses on the structure and plot of your story, do your characters have a consistent voice, does the story read well and make sense, is it engaging or confusing? The copy-edit focuses much more on the nitty-gritty of the language choices, punctuation, spelling and grammar. A consistency check can be carried out at either stage, ensuring what was a sword in one chapter has not become a dagger or a club in another. As you receive feedback, revise and tinker, it is easy for such slips to creep into your work – and a good editor will be keeping notes to ensure consistency. If appropriate, a fact check can also be incorporated to make sure any factual material is correct – for it is very easy to type 1066 instead of 1966 and not to spot the error.

If you build up a good working relationship with an editor, you will be able to bounce ideas off of them, to develop a more fluid and varied writing style and to build your script into something even greater than it already is. They will provide you with style notes to help with future revisions and improve your future writing, to help you answer exactly what your style preferences are (do you prefer the Oxford comma?). Consistency and accuracy are key to a pleasant reading experience, errors are the jolt from being absorbed in a work.

It can take quite a long time to thoroughly read something as lengthy as a novel, especially when constructing style or consistency notes and adding commentary and critique. A good editor is not cheap, therefore – a novel of around 80,000 words can take up to a week’s work to get through, depending on the level of intervention required. However, it WILL be an investment worth making if you want to produce the best version of your work that you can. The editor will make tracked changes and comments for you to review and consider, but the final say will of course be yours.

If you are considering hiring an editor, then the best place to start is the CIEP directory: the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading is the publishing industry’s go-to standard, a non-profit body and community dedicated to promoting editorial excellence. The directory lists over 700 CIEP members, their details, services and expertise – as well as recommended rates and other useful information.

Paul Martin, an editor that we have worked with several times.

Paul Martin is an Advanced Professional member of the CIEP, a freelance editor, author and consultant. He learned his trade in education publishing, before going freelance in 2017, and has since diversified into academic and trade publishing, and supporting independent authors of fiction and non-fiction. He has supported a number of Author Help clients, as well as other independent authors, and his partner is due to have her first novel published in April.

I finished NaNoWriMo. Now what?

Firstly, congratulations! You have done amazingly well to reach your writing goal.

You now have a large number of words of varying quality. They may or may not tell a complete, consistent story. But that’s just fine. NaNoWriMo is about getting the words on the page, and you’ve done that. The next step is editing.

Why do I need to edit?

Editing is a vital step in creating a fully fledged book. As you read through your words, you will find some sections that are, frankly, poor. But you’ll also find areas of pure brilliance and lots of work that just needs a bit of polish for it to shine. That’s the whole purpose of editing: to find the gems, fix the weaker parts, and end up with something you’re really proud of. And you deserve to be proud of it, given the time and love you’ve already given it.

I don’t know where to start!

It may be that you need to take some time away from your November writing and come back to it fresh in the new year. Alternatively, you may be feeling inspired and want to crack on straight away – do whichever works for you.

In the same way that the structure of NaNoWriMo helped you do the writing, structure can help you edit. Editing can be a long, laborious task. The key to accomplishing it is to break it down and have small, clear goals. In November, you may have written 1,667 words every day, or you may have focused your writing on three days a week. The same principle that worked for your writing will work again for your editing. You could set yourself the task of editing 1,667 of your words each day, especially if you find short deadlines push you into action. Or you may want to set a less pressured pace of 5,000 words a week, or two hours every Sunday.

The point is to have a pattern and pace that works for you. It needs to keep you moving towards that glorious finished manuscript.

Then what?

Once you’re done editing you will have something you’re proud of and you may want to share it. But it’s up to you how you choose to do that. If you want to just email the document to a few close friends, that’s absolutely fine; it’s your work and your choice. You may decide to submit it to traditional publishers, in which case good luck. If you want to investigate self publishing, we can help.

Any other tips?

Remember to celebrate the small wins. Edited a whole chapter? Well done! Turned an OK paragraph into something lovely? Brilliant! Every time you edit even a few sentences, the whole work is improved.

Co-Writing Across Genres

Note: this post was written by myself and Andrew Knighton, and was first published on the Alliance of Independent Authors‘ Self-Publishing Advice Centre.

Co-authoring a book is relatively unusual, and for our military thriller The Bear’s Claws, we wanted to do something even more unusual — a collaboration between a novelist and a non-fiction author. For both of us, it’s been a very successful project. So why did we do it? And how did the collaboration work when we normally write such different things?

Why Work Together On A Book?

Book cover - The Bear's Claws

For several years, we’ve followed Joanna Penn’s advice to improve productivity with an accountability partner. We meet online once a month to discuss our writing goals and urge each other on. Accountability worked so well, it made perfect sense when Robin suggested that we try another collaboration — writing a book.

It’s tricky finding a shared project for a speculative fiction writer and a military historian, but there was a writing niche that interested us both — stories about the Cold War heating up. Ever since the 1980s, this strand of fiction has been popular with a small but devoted band of readers, and with the Cold War over it’s moved from future speculation to alternate history.

Robin already had a story in mind — telling one of these alternate histories from the Soviet point of view. It was a project that would let each of us reach a new audience while finding out how co-authoring works in practice. So we set out to craft what would become The Bear’s Claws.

Splitting the Work

The first important decision in the project was how to divide the work. Fortunately, there was a natural way to do this — playing to our strengths.

The sort of readers who enjoy war stories are interested in the details of military equipment and tactics. As a writer on modern military history, this was something Robin had the skills and knowledge to get right. Robin is also a more experienced marketer and self-publisher, so better placed to deal with that side of producing a book.

Andrew, on the other hand, has over a decade of experience writing fiction, from steampunk short stories to ghostwriting novels. The bulk of the work on bringing the story to life went to him.

Co-Writing a Novel

The story started with a novel Robin had begun for NaNoWriMo. A rough draft of the first few chapters, it provided the core story around which The Bear’s Claws was built, the story of a Soviet soldier invading West Germany and of his sister at home in Leningrad.

Based on that beginning, we worked together to flesh out the plot. Robin developed a plausible scenario for how the war might play out, including interesting details for the action scenes. Andrew fleshed out the characters, their personal arcs, and their journey through that war. Put together in a spreadsheet, this became the outline we wrote from.

As the more experienced fiction writer, Andrew took the plot and set to writing. He wrote a chapter at a time and sent them over for Robin to check the military details, problems with the story, and the inevitable typos. That ongoing feedback let Andrew write something more convincing and engaging, improving the work as he went along.

Getting the Details Right

Robin paid particular attention to the minutiae of the military equipment and tactics, often making small but important corrections to terminology or the details of how things work. This is a genre where the readers know the difference between an AK-47 and an AK-74, so the details are important.

Once a draft of the novel was complete, we read over it and sent comments back and forth, refining what we’d written. Then Robin recruited a group of beta readers, who let us see beyond what we’d been caught up in, picking holes in our beloved book. Their insights provided plenty of areas for improvement, with more rewrites for Andrew and more fact-checking for Robin, to get the novel as close to perfect as we could.

Production and Marketing

Although we’ve known each other for a long time, we understood the value of having an agreement in place so that we both knew what to expect. We used ALLi’s sample co-authoring agreement as a starting point.

Robin is a techie and runs an author services business, so they created a shared Dropbox directory for the book files, a wiki for notes, and an online task manager to keep us organised. Once the book was finished, they created the ebook and print interior files, including a large print version. We hired a cover designer that Robin has worked with before.

Neither of us wanted to deal with splitting the royalties, so we set up a collaborative project on Bundle Rabbit. They distribute the book to the major vendors, take a cut, then split the royalties. As well as less work for us, it means that we both have access to sales reports.

Robin has taken the lead on marketing. They promoted the book on a number of Facebook groups related to the Cold War, and we have an interview lined up on a Cold War podcast. Robin used their knowledge of military history and hardware to write a blog post about the vehicles described in the book, and one about the change we made to history that ultimately led to war.


We both found the process enjoyable, and we’ve each learned from seeing how the other works. There was little crossover between our readerships, so we’ve both gained exposure to new readers. The book is selling steadily, so the project has been an all-round success.

Co-authoring isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you can play to your strengths then it can be a great way to create something new and interesting.

Easy Backups With Dropbox

Backups will save you from all sorts of problems such as ransomware, burglary, computer failure, and simple human error like mistakenly deleting files or chapters. Dropbox provides an easy way to make an off-site backup of works in progress. This article and video show how to set up a Dropbox account and start using it to make backups of important files.

Signing up on the Dropbox website
Setting up a new account

If you don’t already have one, you will need to create an account on the website. To do this, go to and fill in the Sign up form. This will take you to a page where you can download the Dropbox installer.


Once the installer is downloaded, run it to install Dropbox. As part of the installation, a new folder named Dropbox will be created. Anything saved in that Dropbox folder will be automatically backed up to Dropbox’s servers. Simply by working from that folder, you can ensure that your manuscript is always backed up.

On the free plan, you can store up to 2GB of files. When signed in to the Dropbox website, simply click on your user icon to see how much space you are using. Changes and deleted files are kept for thirty days. If you make a mistake and need to go back to a previous version, or if you accidentally delete a file, you can restore a previous version of the file for up to thirty days. Paid plans offer more space and longer retention of changed or deleted files.

Backup Your Work

Once the installer has finished, click the Open my Dropbox button and go through the introduction. Windows Explorer will open displaying the new Dropbox folder, which will have a shortcut to a web page and a PDF.

Dropbox file listing on website
File listing

At this point, I suggest you move any work in progress to the new Dropbox folder. It will be automatically backed up. Whenever you save, the new version will be backed up and old versions will be kept for thirty days. This process is completely automatic and happens in the background.

Restore Old Version

If you need to go back to an older version of a file, log in to the Dropbox website and go to the Files area, where you will see a list of your files. Click on the ellipsis menu next to a file and select Version history to see older versions.

File version history on Dropbox website
File version history

You can restore an older version by clicking Restore, or click on the file name to see a preview. From here, you can download the file, which may be useful for comparing an older version to the current version.

Restore a Deleted File

To restore a deleted file, go to the Dropbox website and log in. On the file list page, click Show deleted files. Deleted files will now be displayed, with a rubbish bin icon and a Deleted notation.

Restoring a deleted file on Dropbox
Restoring a deleted file

Click on the file’s ellipsis menu and select Restore. Confirm, and the file will be restored and downloaded to your computer, where it will re-appear in your Dropbox folder.


The video below is a screencast, showing Dropbox being used to save, backup, and restore files.

Hire Me

If you need help with installing Dropbox or setting up a complete backup solution, email me.

Editing: Use Regular Expressions to Find Common Errors

I have a great editor, but I understand that she is human, and therefore she makes mistakes, and misses things, just like I do. Therefore, I like to try and make my manuscript as good as I can before I hand it over to her. The trouble with editing your own work is that all too often, your brain sees what is supposed to be there, not what is actually there.

One tool I use for finding errors is regular expressions. Regular expressions are like search and replace on steroids. Instead of finding simple strings of text, regular expressions provide a way to find patterns within the text. This makes them ideal for finding certain types of error that can occur all too easily when writing a long piece of text. The use of copy & paste, deleting, etc, can mean that even simple grammatical mistakes or typos can slip in and not be noticed.

Below I have listed some regular expression searches that I currently use on my manuscripts before sending them to my editor. To use one of them, simply copy it into the “Find” box in your word processor, just as you would type in a word you wanted to search for in the text. Note that they are formatted with a different background colour because spaces at the start or end can be important. It is possible to use regular expressions to replace text, but I haven’t included replacement expressions because I prefer to be cautious and make corrections manually. I’ve tried to order them in increasing complexity, and I’ve included some explanatory text for each one.

LibreOffice Find & Replace dialogueThe expressions given below should work in LibreOffice and Scrivener version 2.4 or later (earlier versions don’t support regular expressions). Microsoft Word also supports regular expressions, although the syntax is rather unusual, so you’ll need to check the documentation for help. Whichever software you use, you will have to tell it that you’re doing a regular expression search, rather than a normal text search. In LibreOffice Writer, use the “Find and Replace” function (not “Find”). Click “Other Options” in the dialogue box, and tick the “Regular expressions” tickbox. In Scrivener project search, select “RegEx” from the operator section of the magnifying glass icon menu. In Scrivener document find, select “Regular Expressions (RegEx)” from the “Find Options” drop-down menu.

Note that, when copying and pasting from your browser into the search box, make sure that the quotation marks are correct – they sometimes get mangled.

Punctuation And Quotation Marks

This is a simple expression, but there are two versions. In British English, the convention is to have commas and full stops outside quotation marks, whereas in US English, commas and full stops are placed inside the quotation marks.

Expression to find commas and full stops inside quotation marks (use this if you write in British English):


Expression to find commas and full stops outside quotation marks (use this if you write in US English):


These simple expressions match a quotation mark followed or preceded by a full stop or a comma. Square brackets are used to group characters, so that if any character in the square brackets is present, a match is found. In this case, the square brackets are used to match a full stop or comma, but nothing else.

“a” instead of “an”
This expression will find words that begin with a vowel immediately preceded by “a”, instead of “an”:

 a [aeiou]

The first three characters are simple: space, lower case “a”, space. Then square brackets are used to group all five vowels. Note that the “Match case” option must be selected in LibreOffice for it to work correctly.

Oxford Commas

At school, I was taught not to use Oxford commas, but I use them in my books because they can avoid ambiguity. Unfortunately, because I didn’t use them for so long, I frequently forget to add them. Consequently, one of the first regular expressions I wrote to check for errors in my writing was to spot missing Oxford commas. Note that this won’t find every sentence that is missing an Oxford comma, but that’s why you have a human editor ????

\w+, \w+ and 

If you have the opposite problem, and you don’t want Oxford commas, the following expression should find them:

\w+, \w+, and 

“w” matches a word character, ie any character that can be part of a word (letters, numbers, etc). The “+” means at least one of the preceding characters must be present, so “w+” matches a word.

Missing Capital After Full Stop

I started using this expression after seeing this error in a book published by HarperCollins. If the big publishers can miss such basic mistakes, so can the rest of us.

Note that the “Match case” option must be selected in LibreOffice for it to work correctly. Acronyms followed by lower case letters, eg “The N.C.O. said” will not be matched.

[^.][^A-Z]\. [a-z]

This expression introduces a new twist on the use of square brackets: if the first character in the square brackets is a “^”, it matches anything NOT in the group. So, “[^.][A-Z]” matches anything that is not a full stop, followed by anything that is not an uppercase letter. The next term is “.”, which matches a full stop. When not in square brackets, a full stop is a wildcard, but placing a backslash before it tells the regular expression engine to treat it as a full stop, not as a wildcard. Finally, it matches a space followed by a lowercase letter.

Missing Brackets

It’s far too easy to forget to close brackets, or to accidentally delete the closing bracket. This expression will find an opening bracket that doesn’t have a matching closing bracket.


Since parentheses have a special meaning in regular expressions, the opening bracket is prefixed with a backslash. This tells the regular expression engine to treat it as a simple opening bracket. The “[^)]” matches any character that is not a closing bracket, and the “*” means “match this zero or more times”. Finally, the “$” indicates the end of the line/paragraph.

Repeated Word

Repeated words crop up sometimes, and often aren’t noticed if the word happens to appear at the end of one line and the start of the next line.

\b(\w+)\b \b\1\b

This one may look rather odd, but is simple once you understand it. As above, “w+” is used to match a word. The parentheses are used to group the characters that are matched, so that they can be referred to later in the expression. The “1” matches the group in the parentheses. “b” denotes a word boundary. In this case, it is used to ensure that only complete words are matched. Without the word boundaries, it would match a term like “anderson song” as the “son” would be matched in both words.

Putting all that together, this expression matches a complete word, followed by at least one space, followed by the same complete word.

Want To Learn More?

If you want to learn to write regular expressions to find the mistakes that you find yourself making, is an excellent learning resource, and has a regular expression tester, which will also explain the elements of the regular expression.

Hire Me

If you don’t want to run these regular expressions yourself, I can do it for you. I run a set of regular expressions over every manuscript that I proofread, at no extra cost.

Backup Your Manuscripts And Marketing Files

Some time ago, I read a news story about an author who ran into a burning house to save his laptop. Luckily, the author survived and rescued the novels stored on his laptop. If he’d had a backup, he wouldn’t have had to risk his life to save his work. Backups will also save you from burglary, computer failure, and simple human error like mistakenly deleting files or chapters.


What is a Backup?

At its simplest, a backup is just a spare copy of any important files, like your manuscripts. Ideally, a backup will have the following properties:

  • It’ll be located in a different physical location. A backup won’t save your work from a fire or burglars if it’s next to your computer.
  • Backups will happen automatically. If you have to remember to do it, you might forget, or decide that something else is more important.
  • It’ll keep older versions as well as the most recent one. This enables you to reverse changes if you need to.
  • It will retain deleted files. If you delete a file by accident, you can get it back from the backup.
  • If your files are stored by a third party, they should be encrypted. This keeps your private files private.

How to Make a Backup

Many authors aren’t very technical, and those that are probably already have a backup routine in place. Luckily, there are plenty of simple options. Online cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive will probably suffice for a work in progress, but these services usually don’t offer encryption, so I can’t recommend them for sensitive or private files. Three possible solutions are CarboniteCrashplan, and Mozy. All three work on Windows and Mac, provide all the features listed above, and aren’t too expensive.

I’ve used Dropbox for several years, but have little experience of the others, so can’t recommend them. They all have limited free options though, so you can try them out and see which one works for you.

Mr Backup

Backup your Website, Mailing List & Email

Your web and mailing list hosts probably have backup procedures in place, but it’s still sensible to keep your own backups. If your web or mailing list host decides to terminate your account because you’ve contravened your terms of service (whether you did or not), a backup will allow you to switch to a new provider.

With hosted WordPress websites, you’re largely reliant on them for backups, though you can go to Tools->Export in the admin area to export your posts and pages (not images). For self-hosted WordPress sites, there are plugins to help with backups. I have used BackWPUp, which will backup your database and files, and can save the backup to various places.

MailChimp, ConvertKit, and Aweber have reasonably straightforward instructions for exporting data. You can also export your data from FacebookTwitter, and Google. Unfortunately, Facebook’s export doesn’t include data from pages. For email, you’ll have to check your email provider’s help pages to find out how to export your messages. There isn’t a simple way to automate any of these, so I suggest you set up a repeating reminder in a calendar program. If you really want an automatic option, it may be possible to set up a recipe on If This Then That to (for instance) append Tweets to a file in Dropbox.

Test Your Backups Regularly

A backup is worthless if you can’t get your files back from it. Periodically check your backups and make sure you can restore files. This doesn’t have to be complicated, just pick several files at random. For each one, restore the latest version, plus an older version.

Hire Me

If you want one-to-one help, or you want me to set something up for you, email me and we can discuss your requirements.

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