Since I started this self-publishing journey, there have been several resources I’ve used to educate myself on the independent author market or to better improve my productivity. Other resources I’ve used have been the services that are essential to every indie author such as book cover design, editing, and formatting. Below I’ve included a working list (in no particular order) of the various books, services, and websites I’ve used along the self-publishing journey. Feel free to comment on your personal experiences with each, or send me an email to ask for a more detailed opinion (davidnethbooks[at]gmail[dot]com).
Write. Publish. Repeat.: The No-Luck Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt with David Wright
What I Found Most Helpful: The Self-Publishing Podcast guys are great at structuring your publishing model of off evergreen ideas that aren’t dependent on the algorithms of a specific site. This book is filled with all kinds of marketing advice among other things. Definitely a must-read for a future/current indie author.
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fifth Edition: A Primer on Contracts, Printing Costs, Royalties, Distribution, E-Books, and Marketing by Mark Levine
What I Found Most Helpful: This book is print-heavy and gives great alternatives and comparisons to POD and other printers, such as off-set printing. However, this book is mostly focused on self-publishing companies that you pay in order to do the work for you. Basically, you go through a publisher while maintaining as much or as little control as you want.
Self-Publishing Books 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Publishing Your Book in Multiple Formats by Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart
What I Found Most Helpful: This book opened my eyes to the other ways to repurpose your writing. The idea that you write the book once, but convert it to different formats (audiobook, translations, etc.) in order to reap the most benefits from each product. This book also touches on creating a business, however it is by no means an in-depth look.
The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition
What I Found Most Helpful: This is the manual most commonly used in fiction writing. It is the manual my editor referred to as she suggested changes to my manuscript. A hefty buy, but certainly worth it for any author.
How to Write, Format, Publish and Promote your Book (Without Spending Any Money) by Derek Murphy
What I Found Most Helpful: This book was very pessimistic throughout. I wasn’t able to read it cover-to-cover like I wanted. However, he does have valid tips on promotion at the end of the book. Also, he gives a step-by-step guide to formatting with Microsoft Word, if you choose to format with that program.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anna Lamott
What I Found Most Helpful: She emphasized how important simply writing was. Among everything else that comes with the publishing industry, writing is the most important thing to do. Not only that, but she told how a lot of her stories took a while to flesh out. She taught me not to be afraid to spend more time on a story if it requires it.
Let’s Get Digital: How to Self-Publish, and Why You Should: Updated Second Edition by David Gaughran
What I Found Most Helpful: The interviews with successful indies in the third section were particularly inspiring. Especially the ones who stumbled into self-publishing. It proves that a good story is really all it takes. I also found his suggestion to submit your short stories to literary magazines prior to putting them on Amazon to maximize profitability a unique idea. I never thought of that, nor did I know where to look for short story markets.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
What I Found Most Helpful: While other books I’ve read and reviewed discussed the business side of publishing or how to find your style, King offers a more general guide on writing, specifically in the second half of the book. “The road to hell is paved with adverbs” is a common theme throughout. After reading this book, I’ve picked up on the weakness of adverbs in writing.
Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-By-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book by Tim Grahl
What I Found Most Helpful: He gave great suggestions on how to get more people to sign up to your mailing list. I haven’t used them long enough to determine if they’re as successful as he says they are, but my website looks more professional because of it.
Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur by Joanna Penn
What I Found Most Helpful: Penn offers advice on how to make the most money from your writing. She proves again and again that your opportunity doesn’t end when you put out a single book. You can (and should) expand from digital to print to audio to translations, etc. Another great theme to remember is to treat this as a business, no matter how large or small your author business is.
What I Found Most Helpful: Independent publishing is a community, and Kboards is one corner where this community lives. This site taught me that making a living from writing is a very viable option. They’re the ones that keep me up to date with the latest trends and mistakes other authors have made. However, not all advice is gold. Follow the advice in Write. Publish. Repeat. as well as my hesitations in this blog post.
The Creative Penn
What I Found Most Helpful: Joanna Penn is one of the self-publishing success stories, especially for those outside of the United States. Her site is filled with podcasts, blog posts, and books that provide a wealth of information for those new to the industry and those who want to know more about a specific topic. Definitely worth checking out often for indie authors.
What I Found Most Helpful: Derek Murphy specializes in book cover design, while also dabbling in editing and non-fiction writing. His covers are certainly masterpieces and he very often works with the self-publishing top-dogs like Joanna Penn. His blog is definitely something to keep on your radar as you venture into this independent publishing field as are his books and other services.
What I Found Most Helpful: This blog is inspiring because it’s a voice for the average. Lindsay Buroker is successful, but certainly not an outlier like Hugh Howey. Her blog is inspiring because she gets it. Not only is she a fantasy writer like myself, but she maintains a publishing schedule that isn’t outrageous like other indie authors seem to be outputting. She’s frank as she experiments with what works and what doesn’t. Oh, and if you’re a fan of her books, check out her Emperor’s Edge forum on her site as well.
What I Found Most Helpful: Joe Konrath’s blog is what first turned me on to self-publishing. He’s very pro-DIY. His blog posts are lengthy, but worth the read. His opinions are strong and he’s certainly earned them being the veteran author that he is. He’s been traditionally published and self-published, so he really sees both sides of the coin when it comes to the current state of the publishing industry.
Let’s Get Digital
What I Found Most Helpful: Another one of the self-publishing top-dogs, David Gaughran is an Irish indie author who has published fiction as well as non-fiction books. His website is a great hub of information for indie authors and his books Let’s Get Digital and Let’s Get Visible are certainly worth the read (currently on my to-be-read pile).
Editorial Freelancers Association
What I Found Most Helpful: This site is what led me to my editor, Tammy Salyer of Inspired Ink Editing. It’s a respectable source of freelance editors that have experience and are really some of the best at what they do. It’s a good place to start when looking for an editor that’s right for your book.
The Passive Voice
What I Found Most Helpful: Basically, this site collects snippets of other articles around the web relating to self-publishing or publishing in general. It’s good to keep no the radar and check up on every once in a while.
What I Found Most Helpful: This site is almost like crowd sourcing your book cover. As I’ve written about it here, 99 Designs is great when you are a newbie or maybe you just don’t have an idea for your cover (maybe you have a couple ideas and want to see how they’re fleshed-out?). This site is for indies on a budget, and from there you create connections with designers to then work on future projects.
What I Found Most Helpful: Whether other mailing list sites are better is up to you to decide, but I chose Mailchimp because it’s free to use if your list is under 2,000 subscribers. After that, you should be making enough to be able to afford to pay for a mailing list subscription (that’s my thought at least). By the way, feel free to sign up for mine!
What I Found Most Helpful: This piece of software really is designed with writers in mind. Depending on how long you’ve been in this self-publishing world, you’ve probably already heard of this program. Maybe you even use it. The best part for me is that I can write in distraction-free mode and use the same file to then format and compile for the ebook and print book versions. There are a host of other features and you can use as little or as many of them as you’d like. Available for Windows as well.
I’m now offering my formatting services to authors who want a simple and neat design for their print book and/or ebook. Check out my samples and rates under the “DN Publishing” tab at the top of the page. I hope I’m able to help you further your indie publishing career by taking a piece of the process off your hands!