As a writing mentor, my focus is on helping authors through the writing process, whether that is with a blog, a book, or anything else.
I spend all my time working with writers up until the point when the project itself is finished. The nitty-gritty of the publication and marketing and promotion side of things is not my focus. I do love that stuff — it’s a fascinating side of the creative endeavor. But rather than try and do everything, I choose to spend my time focused on what I do better than anyone else.
Many writers want to get a book deal with a traditional publisher. Whatever you do with your book is your choice. Personally, I believe in the power of indie authorship. Now more than ever, the power is in the author’s hands. It’s a beautiful thing if you really want to take advantage of it.
Here is a list of resources that I recommend. I will continue to update this list periodically.
I’m a fan of Derek Murphy‘s authenticity and useful practical advice. His youtube channel is full of good information about book covers, book formatting, and making money as an indie author. Here’s his video on formatting an ebook using MS Word:
Joanna Penn has been a longtime favorite with a great podcast on everything self publishing. Her website is packed with free resources for writers. You can find helpful information about anything from software to business advice, and loads of step by step information on how to submit your manuscript to Amazon etc. Her page on how to self publish an ebook is a great place to start.
David Gaughran is a solid voice of authority for marketing and promotion. Great info on publishing independently and building an audience. His book Let’s Get Digital is a great place to start.
Draft2Digital is an excellent publishing platform. Using their service, you can efficiently submit to pretty much everywhere else besides Amazon.
Smashwords is a lively and enthusiastic ebook delivery platform.
Great style guide for ebook formatting, also.
Software / Apps
Like everybody else, I think Scrivener is the bee’s knees. It’s a great tool for drafting but also for planning and organizing. There’s a corkboard and notecards, you can use it to put together timelines and to map out your plot. I find it fairly intuitive and fun to use. Very customizable.
Google Docs is great for voice transcription!
People use Dragon Dictate and like it but I don’t use Windows. I love the (free) Google Docs feature of transcribing text from audio. At the moment, it’s only available through the browser version of Docs, not on mobile.
Canva rocks. It’s free or very cheap, depending on what you want to do.
Use it to make infographics, social media posts, book covers, postcards. . .
For websites, I like wordpress. It’s open source and widely used. Great themes, lots of plugins. You can do it all yourself.
DIYbookcovers is a great resource for shopping for a book cover.
Reedsy offers indie authors a lot of potential help and advice on anything from editing, proofreading, formatting and publishing.
99designs. I used them for a product logo. The process was great for me, but I can understand how ruthless it would feel to be on the other end of things as an artist. There are a ton of really good designers there. I loved the ongoing dialogue and the end result, but it’s not a place I would want to work for as an artist unless I knew I could totally dominate my niche. Because the talent is so good, you can be assured of getting a design you are happy with (unless you are not clear with how you describe what you want and don’t engage the designers during the process).
Fiverr. For book design, this is a very inexpensive route unless you want to do it yourself. It’s pretty straightforward and streamlined.