This is not a long list as I have used every resource listed here in the course of my own indie writing/publishing journey. Whether you are traditionally published, hybrid or indie, there is a phenomenal amount of information and support now available online for authors. Please search out what is suitable for your needs. My starting point is always the ALLi website, see below.
HOW TO WRITE
Find a local creative writing course, or two. Go along, contribute, give and receive feedback, make friends. Coordinate your own writing group, choose people you trust, encourage each other to write regularly and share honest feedback. Read here about how to give and receive feedback.
Join a supportive online writing community [start with a Facebook group] and be careful to select one appropriate to your genre and your writing needs. If the first one doesn’t work for you, try another. There are also writers’ groups at LinkedIn.
Read. Lots. Within your chosen genre and without. Analyse why some novels work and others don’t, and apply that knowledge to your own writing.
Alliance of Independent Authors
The non-profit, professional association for authors who self-publish, affectionately known as ALLi. Has an invaluable catalogue of self-publishing help, updates on technology and book sales, and advice; plus an approved suppliers list such as copy editors, proofreaders and cover designers. Three levels of author membership. Training courses, podcasts, conference and guidebooks.
Society of Authors
UK trade union for writers. The SoA has a fantastic depth of networking, support and information for writers including rates and fees, free tax helpline, training courses, contract appraisal, discounts and offers from books to insurance.
Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society
The ALCS ensures you receive the money you’re entitled to as a writer, when someone copies or uses your work [ie secondary rights]. Register your work at your dashboard then receive royalties when someone uses a work that’s already been distributed. For example, when schools photocopy books or tutors copy short stories from anthologies. Advice on copyright management.
Public Lending Right
Published authors, illustrators and other contributors should register at the British Library’s PLR website for UK and Irish PLR. PLR is a legal right to payment from government in both countries each time their books are borrowed from public libraries.
Meet the editor, designer or marketer who can help bring your book to life. Reedsy offers listings of services from editorial assessment of your manuscript to proofreading, cover design, PR, marketing and website support.
Find literally any service at Fiverr where prices start low. From logo design to social media support, illustrators and designers, book trailers and blog support.
INDIE BOOK PUBLISHING
Kindle Direct Publishing [KDP]
KDP is the place to self-publish Kindle ebooks and paperbacks, free, for sale at Amazon around the world. Now includes the ebook to paperback interface, negating the need to publish your paperback separately. Easy to use but a substantial amount of help is available from help pages, KDP community and the help desk. Ebooks are .mobi for Kindle only.
Distribute your ebooks via Smashwords for global distribution to major retailers, thousands of public libraries and in the Smashwords Store. Free ebook conversion from your Word document to multiple formats.
The Creative Penn
Resources from writer Joanna Penn to help you write, publish and market your book, as well as make a living from your writing.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
Free-up time for writing by scheduling your social media posts in advance. There are a variety of services depending on which platforms you use. I’ve tried a few, these are the two I use daily. Always start with a free version and see if it works for you.
The free Socialoomph plan allows basic advance scheduling on Twitter, saving and re-using drafts. For additional Twitter benefits, upgrade to Twitter Unlimited. To add your other social media accounts, upgrade to Professional. Easy to upgrade and cancel. Allows you to write tweets in advance and save in specific queues to be published at the frequency you choose, ideal for taking part in regular # events on Twitter or for book promotions planned on a specific day.
Another free scheduling site for Pinterest and Instagram. Download the Tailwind browser extension to make pinning easy as you browse the web. Try it for free, upgrade it if is useful.
A huge marketing automation website, Mailchimp will automatically send your author e-newsletters and store your newsletter mailing lists. I use a tiny proportion of what is available, but it gives my e-newsletters a professional brand and is GDPR-friendly.
Enables an author to control free distribution of ebooks including advanced review copies for bloggers, giveaways and free books for joining an author mailing list. GDPR-friendly. Separate landing page for each book enabling clear branding. Book Funnel converts your digital file to other formats suitable for any device. The different levels of membership offer a variety of benefits, including book codes that enable you to distribute your ebooks direct to readers. Coordinates with Mailchimp.
The big daddy of ARC sites used by traditional book publishers and indie authors to put books in front of journalists, book reviewers, bloggers, librarians, retailers, educators and academics. Not cheap. Reportedly best for genre authors. Indie authors sign up per book for a limited period. Excellent dashboard with just-in-time download and feedback information for your novel. Country-specific sites including US and UK.
If you blog about books, sign up a reader account at Net Galley and request the latest digital titles to read and review.
Canva offers simple graphic design enabling you to quickly produce professional graphics for social media, book covers, promotional use and more. I use the free level which has a good selection of design templates to choose from, with the correct specifications for maximum benefit.
Not sure which hashtag to use? Before you schedule your tweets, check your hastags at RiteTag to see a) what’s trending now, and b) which tags in your chosen subject area are the best performers. Free.
Is the url you’re adding to a social media message just a bit too long and ugly. Shorten it at Bitly. Free.
Make it easy for your readers to find your book at their favourite online bookshop by using universal links for your books. No more hunting around to find the book online. A reader clicks on the link the first time and is taken to the Books2Read home page to select their preferred store. Plus there’s a cool geo-location feature that takes the reader to their correct country-specific store. Easy to set up. Free.
These are the book promoters I have used for my novels and which are therefore suitable for women’s fiction. Before spending money, do your research to ensure the promoter you choose is right for your genre. In addition, there are numerous book promotion groups at Facebook which are free, choose those best suited to your genre and experiment; but beware of their rules.
Written Word Media
A stable of four book promotion services for digital books, organised by price and genre. Written Word Media includes:-
Freebooksy for free books, sent to 150,000 readers daily;
Bargain Booksy for books price below $4.99, with 294,000 registered users. I use Bargain Booksy for my US KDP Countdown promotions;
Red Feather Romance for has 120,000 readers of romance;
NewInBooks, for new releases only, has 677,000 readers.
The Fussy Librarian
An e-mail newsletter promotion service with two services for digital books: free books, and bargain books. The latter is available across 40 genres. I use Fussy Librarian for my US KDP Countdown promotions.
Books Go Social
Books Go Social is an ebook promotion service for readers, comprising a reader-facing website, tweets and targeted email newsletters. It is a great way of finding new books by untried authors.
Authors join at BGS Authors and register their books. There are three tiers of membership. The most basic is promotional only, levels two and three offer the basic benefits plus publishing help, for example a Net Galley listing, Storyrocket listing and access to BGS masterclasses. Add-on services including help getting book reviews, book trailers, help with your Amazon listing and more. Excellent networking via BGS’s author closed group at Facebook. Sign-up for the free reader’s newsletter to see how it works from a reader’s viewpoint.
There are hundreds of closed social media networking groups, from Facebook to LinkedIn. Explore and choose the one most suited to you. If you join the Alliance of Independent Authors you will be admitted to its Facebook group, one of the best I have found. Also good for mutual support, swapping ideas and troubleshooting is the Books Go Social Authors Group, accessible only to BGS members. Always check the rules, don’t over-promote yourself, be willing to help and support others, and take the chance to promote at the designated times.
You should never pay for a book review. Start planning for book reviews while you are writing your novel. Begin by networking online with other authors and also book bloggers. Build relationships, start conversations, share their tweets and posts, establish a rapport. Build a mailing list of book bloggers relevant to your genre, check their ‘review policy’ first. When you have an ARC draft [Advanced Reader Copy] ask your blogger contacts if they would like to review your book. Be polite, always ask don’t assume, be flexible, be supportive of them, remember book bloggers are blogging because they love books and are unpaid. Be prepared to ask lots of times and to be rejected lots of times, but the reviews you do get are worth gold dust. And always say thank you.
Follow the principle of ‘pay it forward’, always look to help another writer. So be sure to write a review for every book you read, leave your review at your blog, Goodreads, Amazon [no, you don’t need to buy the book at Amazon to leave a review there; simply sign into your account] and Library Thing.
I started my blog before my first novel was published, so I had already built up a list of followers and useful contacts. This is an on-going process. Decide how often you can post and write original content. The book blogging world is mutually supportive so be prepared to put in some time and effort in building relationships with other bloggers and authors, sharing their posts, reading and reviewing books. There are numerous blogging platforms, I have always used WordPress. Your blog posts then form a war chest of material to be shared via your chosen social media – book reviews, interviews, how you wrote your books, where you get your inspiration from – all of this can be shared via Twitter, Facebook etc. Run a series inviting other authors onto your blog. Remember, social media networking is about ‘giving and taking’, not just expecting others to help you.
SOFTWARE FOR WRITING
I write in Word, use Excel spreadsheets for planning, and published my latest ebook using Scrivener. I use my iPad for library research, with a dinky clip-on keyboard; I transfer any mobile document straight to my desktop once I get home. I don’t use the cloud. I am not a technical whizz. So if I can do it, you can too. I published my first novel on a Dell desktop, my second on a Mac desktop. In the intervening years, the software changed out of all recognition. Scrivener made the self-publishing process so much easier. Download a free trial of Scrivener at Literature and Latte.
Learn Scrivener Fast
When I first downloaded Scrivener I was intimidated. But the Learn Scrivener Fast course is genius; thanks to the friend who recommended it to me. The secret to its success is its short, bite-sized videos with step-by-step instructions for specific actions. I wrote Connectedness in Word and transferred the text into Scrivener, so I skipped all the videos about writing and managing research. It leads you by the hand through the whole process.