Thursday, October 02, 2008

Software suggestions?

Hello internet hivemind!

As many of you may know, I'm in the process of taking over a good bit of the erotica that Lori Perkins handles, so that she can avoid a conflict of interest with her work as an acquisitions editor for Ravenous Romance. While I'm (to my surprise and utter happiness) enjoying the work I'm doing with the erotica authors, I've currently found myself in a bit of a paperwork jam.

Here's what I need to do:
  1. Be able to keep track of multiple authors writing multiple novels each and when the payment is due for each author's novel. I have three separate payments I need to make sure get processed for each novel, each on different dates.
  2. Everyone's novel deadlines and payments are due on different dates. I am not great at remembering *that many* dates, especially when there are so many books I'm dealing with at once.
  3. I could really use some sort of program that will automatically remind me that I must send out Author A's payment #1 on this date, Author M's payment #3 on the same date, and Author Z's payment #2 on the same date as well.
  4. I need to be able to transfer this data back and forth between PC and Mac. I have Microsoft Office on my Mac, but I've only used the Excel and Word parts of it so far; I have no idea what Entourage does.
  5. Please keep in mind that I despise Outlook, and I'd really like to avoid using it for this, if at all possible.
If anyone has any software suggestions for this, I would greatly appreciate them. Otherwise, I'll cobble stuff together in Excel, but I can't figure out if Excel has automatic calendar reminders that I can access. Any and all help is GREATLY APPRECIATED. Thank you so much in advance, blog readers.

*hands out virtual chocolate to everyone who has a suggestion*


Morgan Dempsey said...

It's to Outlook what Firefox is to Internet Explorer. Not entirely sure if it's what you're looking for, but it's worth a look-see.

pws said...

I would say Google Calendar, coupled with the other Google products (Docs, Spreadsheet) would be ideal.
With Google Gears, you can even work offline and sync up your changes the next time you connect.
Google calendar can send email alerts and sync up with Outlook and other email programs.

Kate said...

Have you tried using Google's calendar? You can email yourself reminders and everything.

Mark Roy Long said...

We use Basecamp for our project management. It's web-based so there should be no platform problems. You can track multiple projects with milestones and receive email updates for ones upcoming. it's probably a bit of overkill for what you need but there is a free level of use that would probably work.

You can check it out at:

Pema said...

Just as a general calendar, I use the Google Calendar software, which I can view from my iGoogle page or from Gmail. However, I've found a Firefox add-on, called ReminderFox, to be very useful for remembering just about anything with a deadline, since I like its alarm feature. There are also a number of different organizers available, many of them free. If you want something that runs independently of having a browser window open, you'd probably prefer that. I'm sorry I don't have any recommendations for stand-alone software at this time.

Scott said...

Oh, do I have the app for you.

And it's free.

I think TaskTome ( might be exactly what you're looking for. You keep a list of tasks, with dates, and connect the dates to financial records.

According to their Web site:

taskTome is a personal information manager which allows you to maintain a list of events, tasks, notes and financial information. taskTome is light-weight program that displays the information that you need to keep track of without cluttering it up with un-needed features and controls, while still allowing you complete control over the information - including the ability to search, format, print, export and customize data.

The main features of taskTome are:

* View appointments and events in a monthly calendar,
* Maintain a task list with comments,
* View and edit rich-text notes and documents,
* Manage finances with bank/cash balances.

And did I mention it's free?

Scott said...

An addendum to that last post: although it looks like taskTome is almost perfect for what you said you need, it doesn't have automatic reminders. I think it might have enough other features for you to work around that one thing. Plus, according to the Web site, reminders are on the list of enhancements for an upcoming release.

In the meantime, if you really find you need reminders, I find Rainlendar ( helpful for managing my own reminders. You could manage everything in taskTome and then put important dates in Rainlendar so you can get the reminders, at least until they implement that feature in taskTome. And it's free too.

But I still think taskTome could change your life.

Scott said...

You never should have gotten me started on free software. Half my blog entries are about free apps that I think might be useful for writers.

If you want something simpler than taskTome, you might try Task Coach ( Task Coach lets you set up a task with subtasks, and includes reminders.

So, I suppose you could set up a task called Author A, and then add subtasks for all the different things you need to for Author A, complete with those reminders you want.

You can even track the time you spend on each task.

I like taskTome's interface, with tasks shown in lists or on a calendar, but you might like Task Coach's simplicity.

And another point in Task Coach's favor: it has versions for both Windows and Mac (and Linux, but you didn't mention that), so going between machines should be pretty easy for you.

Ink Johnson said...

I've never used , but I think you could use it for said problems. It's Internet-based, which means you won't have to worry about the whole love-hate thing going on between PCs and Macs.

Richmond Writer said...

Scott where is your blog? I was curious and I clicked on your profile and it won't show up.

Kristine Overbrook said...

I know you're looking for an online/computer answer... but I juggle two kids, a ft job and my writing and I use a hanging desk calander.

I use a different color marker for each person. No logging in, I work from home so I see it every day, I don't have to worry about power outages or crashing hard drives.

I'm a database analyst by day and this works best for me.

Just a suggestion.

Scott said...

Richmond Writer:

Thanks for asking.