Earlier this week, I was listening to a writing podcast. The topic was self-publishing and the guest speaker was asked for the number one tool they would recommend for writers who were considering self-publishing. They recommended Google—which is definitely a gateway to some fabulous resources, but I felt like I would want something more specific if I were looking for help or if I were going to provide guidance to a just-starting-out-me.
Granted, I am not as far in my self-publishing career as many authors, but I have spent the last two years reading about self-publishing and these are dozens of resources I would have recommended to myself if I’d known they’d existed. (Although I also think finding your own way to resources and connecting with online mentors is in and of itself part of the journey).
Nonetheless, here are five resources I would recommend for new authors who are considering self-publishing that will save you valuable time and help get you on your way!
A fellow #monthlywritingchallenge participant was the first to recommend Joanna Penn to me. Joanna runs a website and podcast called The Creative Penn and her site is filled with tips for indie authors on everything from writing the first draft, to finding editors and cover designers, to getting started with an author website and to marketing your book. In addition to her blog posts and podcasts, she also writes a lot of non-fiction books for authors, but one of her resources—the Author 2.0 Blueprint is free and it has a lot of very helpful information.
She's also compiled some helpful pages. For example, this page has a list of potential cover designers. This one has a list of potential editors. And lastly, this page contains the tools and resources she uses as an indie author. Have a look and you will see what I mean about useful, practical resources.
This is a fairly new but already amazing podcast. It features two writers—one who is a best-selling indie author and another who is in the process of writing his first novel. Together, they interview other successful writers and entrepreneurs about their writing and publishing journeys. One of my favourite episodes that would definitely be helpful to new authors is this one: Five Must Do Actions for New Authors. This interview with Marie Force is also fantastic and super inspiring.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s website is one that I have recommended before but I want to do so again. There are so many great posts in her Business Rusch series, as well as the Freelancer’s Survival Guide and Business Musings. Kristine is a hybrid author, meaning she publishes independently and with traditional publishers. She has been in the business of publishing for forty years and has a lot of perspective to offer.
I have just started subscribing to the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) mailing list. There are so many great resources on their website but the one I would like to recommend in particular, is the Indie Author Fringe Festival that ALLi held at the London Book Fair two weeks ago. It was an amazing event and there were a ton of presentations, all of which can be viewed on their website. The presentations cover a range of important topics like cover design, the future of publishing, editing, and more. Watching even a handful of these presentations can bring new or undecided authors up to speed quite quickly on current publishing trends (which is definitely helpful in a constantly shifting environment).
Last week, I wrote about my own takeaways from the festival.
Finally, I have to recommend the monthly twitter writing challenge. Whether you decide to self-publish or pursue the traditional route, there is no escaping the fact that you need a finished, well-polished book. The only way to get that gleaming gem is to keep writing until you finish a first draft and then work on it until it’s as error free as it possible can be (without scrubbing the soul out of it!). Then do that again. And again. And again.
Over the years I’ve found that to write a lot and to write consistently, you need to establish a writing schedule and a supportive environment (online or otherwise) that works for you. The monthly twitter writing challenge is my favourite writing community. It works for me because I like to have a very basic word count goal per day (500 words) when I’m writing something new and I also need the encouragement to roll up my sleeves and start editing when the time comes. And because I am 100% an introvert, it’s super hard for me to join physical communities. Participating in the writing challenge gives me a way to be accountable and to be inspired by others at the same time. There are so many writers willing to share their experiences with you—both the ups and the downs. It might seem silly, but their daily support and tweets have always made me feel less alone.
So there you have it—those are five of my recommendations for authors who are considering self-publishing or looking for helpful information. At the very, very least, these five resources provide you with some support and some information to consider as you try to make up your mind about what you want to do.
What about you? What resources do you wish you'd known about when you were just starting out?