I am constantly approached by authors — especially those contemplating self-publishing — with requests for how-to information about writing and publishing. That includes questions about resources, such as lists of cover artists, editors, proofreaders, where to buy ISBNs, etc. Also, recommended books and blogs about fiction-writing and publishing.
That’s what this post is about. Rather than continue to respond to writers one at a time, repeating the same things, I want to compile in one place a list of links to places where you can find valuable information, resources, tips, and advice. This will include links to some of the popular advice posts scattered on this site. Some of the links below are to compendiums of other outside links — treasure troves of further information.
This list is just the beginning. I’ll constantly update this post with new information as I run across it, so make sure to check back from time to time. Bookmark this post so that you can consult it when you need further information.
Also, please share the link to this post with other writers, by email and on your social media. To do that on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, just click their “share” buttons alongside this post.
I’ll organize this post into the following broad categories:
I. General Information and Resources
II. Fiction-Writing Resources
IV. Marketing Your Books
I. General Information and Resources
* New Paths to Publishing. I compiled and send out by email, at no charge, an informal outline titled “New Paths to Publishing” to any writer requesting it. This 20-page document describes and compares the various publishing options available to writers today; describes the basics of the self-publishing option; offers some basic marketing advice; and provides links to resources. If you want a copy, drop an email to: RobertTheWriter [at] gmail [dot] com.
* The Creative Penn, by Joanna Penn. Without doubt one of the best, most comprehensive website resources on all aspects of writing, publishing, and marketing books. A treasure trove for authors, with an abundance of valuable links. This may be the only stop you’ll need.
* Helpful Links for Indie Writers, by Christiana Miller. This awesome compendium of resource links covers the how-to gamut: publishing ebooks, audiobooks, or print books; writing, editing, formatting, and conversion software; advice blogs; blogs where you can publicize your work; where to find editors, proofreaders, book interior designers, cover designers and artists, publicists, cover art and images, and much more. She also has compiled an updated, cross-referenced list of these links as a 150-page book: Self-Publishing on a Shoestring: Insanely Helpful Links for Indie Authors, which I highly recommend.
* KBoards Yellow Pages for Authors. Another list of useful resources for authors.
* Book Cover Designers. A large list of professional book cover designers, compiled by bestselling author and marketing expert Joanna Penn. (Her website is loaded with other great resources for writers.)
KBoard Writers’ Cafe. A popular online discussion board for self-publishing authors about all aspects of writing, publishing, and marketing books. Opinions expressed and the quality of advice offered vary widely and wildly, so as always: caveat emptor.
* Bookbaby’s Free Guides for Authors. Useful guides to various aspects of publishing.
* No Rules, Just Write. The website of bestselling author C.J. Lyons is loaded with advice and resources about writing, publishing, and marketing fiction.
* The Passive Voice Blog. Maintained by intellectual property attorney David Vandegriff, this blog is daily “must reading” about all aspects of the ever-changing publishing industry, with links to the most important news stories, advice articles, and commentaries.
II. Fiction-Writing Resources
* Methods and Aids I Use to Write Fiction. In this blog post, I list my favorite books on how to write fiction, and I also describe my favorite fiction-writing software, “Write It Now.”
* Randy Ingermanson’s Advanced Fiction Writing. The creator of the “Snowflake Method” of fiction-writing, and author of the invaluable Writing Fiction for Dummies, Ingermanson maintains this website brimming with valuable writing tips and advice.
* David Farland’s website. Farland is another master teacher of fiction-writing; lots of instructive material here, too.
* Savvy Authors. A good website crammed with articles and advice for writers.
* The Bookbaby Blog. This author-services site maintains a blog filled with writing and publishing advice.
* Write It Now Novel-Writing Software. This is the outstanding software that I use to write fiction.
* “10 Reasons You Should Skip the Traditional Publishers and Self-Publish Ebooks Instead.” My popular summary article on the comparative benefits of self-publishing over traditional.
* Let’s Get Digital, by David Gaughran. An excellent introduction and how-to guide to self-publishing.
* Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing remains the biggest, most-used ebook publishing platform. On this page you’ll find step-by-step instructions for building and formatting an ebook, then making it available via Amazon.
* Smashwords Style Guide, by Mark Coker. A step-by-step guide to how to format and publish ebooks.
* Hugh Howey’s Blog. Howey became is a self-publishing phenomenon with his mega-selling “Wool” sci-fi series. He is now one of the most indefatigable, outspoken, and thoughtful advocates for indie publishing. He often posts about writing, as well as publishing and marketing.
* Joe Konrath’s Blog. The early Pied Piper of self-publishing, the bestselling Konrath is always feisty, hilarious, informative, and sometimes maddening — but always worth reading.
* Using Kickstarter to Fund Your Next Book. Michael J. Sullivan has successfully used Kickstarter to finance his book-writing projects, and explains how in this series of posts.
IV. Marketing Your Books
* “Start With Why.” A brilliant 18-minute video presentation by marketing expert Simon Sinek on the most fundamental principle of marketing success.
* “Author Branding.” A series of PowerPoint slides by Michael J. Sullivan, based heavily on Simon Sinek’s preceding talk, and presented at the August 2014 Writer’s Digest annual conference in New York City. Great perspective and specific tips.
* “Ten Winning Marketing Strategies for your Self-Published Book.” This highly popular blog post summarizes my best advice to authors about how to market and promote their books successfully.
* “Top Ten Ways to Market Your Ebooks.” I delivered this informal, videotaped presentation at the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference, May 12, 2016. It includes my latest thoughts on “branding” and “positioning,” as well as some concrete tips.
* “Choosing the Right Name for Your Story,” by John Floyd. Your book title should be considered a significant element in its marketing. Here’s a good guide to creating the right one.
* How to Market a Book, by Joanna Penn. Far and away the single most comprehensive book-marketing guide I’ve yet read. Highly recommended.
* The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing, by Bookbub. Bookbub is far and away the most effective paid book-promotion service. Here is invaluable advice, drawn from their own vast customer data about the most effective covers, pricing, and much more.
* “5 Tips on How to Identify Your Target Audience,” by Joanna Penn. Narrowly focusing your marketing to your target readers is crucial to sales success, and this article has great how-to tips.
* “How to Sell a Bazillion Books!” by H.M. Ward. Holly Ward is probably the bestselling indie author, with sales approaching 10 million copies. In this video, she presents her “3-legged stool” that she says has been decisive to her marketing success.
* “Building a Killer Email List,” by Nick Stephenson. Acquiring contacts to notify about your future releases can be a huge boon to sales. Here’s how to do that.
* “How to Find Your First 10,000 Readers,” by Nick Stephenson. An absolutely brilliant YouTube video interview with a super-successful indie author and former marketing professional. Loaded with invaluable ideas. Don’t miss this one!
* Write2Publish, by Michael J. Sullivan. This Reddit page is a gold mine of terrific marketing suggestions from bestselling fantasy author Sullivan. He posts links on the right side of the page to a lot of valuable marketing topics.
* Michael J. Sullivan’s Book Recommendations. A great list of how-to books focusing on successful book promotion and marketing.
* Authors’ Guide to Self-Promotion, by Michael J. Sullivan. Another post by the popular fantasy author, filled with sage advice.
* Let’s Get Visible, by David Gaughran. This companion to his Let’s Get Digital presents Gaughran’s strategies for boosting sales of ebooks, especially on Amazon. Remarkable insights about how Amazon’s bestseller and popularity lists work, and how to exploit their algorithms most effectively.
* Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, by Mark Coker. This company offers a self-publishing platform and its own services, but this guide also provides a lot of sound marketing tips.
* Selecting the Best Browsing Categories on Amazon. Amazon’s tips on how to categorize your books in their various genres to maximize their discoverability to your target readers.
* Mythbusting the Amazon Algorithm. Understanding how the Amazon ranking algorithm works, and how you can turn it to your best advantage in boosting the visibility of your books.
* Using “Keywords” on Amazon to Increase Discoverability to Readers. Selecting the right keywords when you categorize your book on Amazon will enhance its visibility to the right readers.
“Using Business Cards to Build Sales.” My primer on this topic.
* Marketing Strategies of Successful Indie Authors. This KBoards discussion thread features a host of successful self-published authors discussing “what worked” for them, and what didn’t. Great insights.
* How to Start a Blog: The Beginner’s Guide to Blogging. Blogging is a great way to engage your target readers, and this 56-page guide walks you through all the basics.
* An Interactive List of Book Promotion Sites. A comprehensive comparative table of a multitude of advertising sites online where you can promote your books. You can use the list in conjunction with this excellent piece, “How to Engage Amazon’s Algorithms to Sell More Books.”