There are hundreds of self-publishing blogs, services, review sites and free tools to get your hands on, but it can be a time-consuming and headache-inducing descent into procrastination if you’re not careful, so I thought I would devour fourteen cups of coffee whilst compiling all of my favourite tools and services, from Twitter hashtags to advice blogs and beyond.
You’re welcome, indie authors…
Book Marketing Tools and Services
I chose to publish with BookBaby.com, and I haven’t regretted it one bit, despite the fact that my debut novel cost $99 to publish and distribute with them and the second one cost $299 because of the change in their pricing model. I didn’t care, I just liked the fact that they could get my novels in front of Amazon, B&N, Kobo and many other outlets in a matter of days and weeks.
It also helps that, once you have published via Book Baby, you get a range of discounts on book marketing services across the web, including money off a SelfPublishingReview.com review and more. I used about eight or nine of these services, so I can definitely recommend taking a punt on them.
Some authors and self-publishing experts are put off by the idea of paid reviews, but some are definitely worth taking a look at. Kirkus Reviews is $425 for a standard 7-9 week review, or $575 for an express 4-6 week turnaround. You’ve got to really think about this: Is a review going to bring in more than $425-$575 in sales? The answer will change depending on the genre, the marketability of the concept and – of course – the quality of your book and the review itself. It’s a big risk.
From a personal perspective, I opted to use SelfPublishingReview.com’s Review packages. For my debut novel, I opted for the $119 Classic Review, and then the $249 Lead Story Review for my second. I was happy with the reviews and they generated interest and sales, so I was pleased overall. Check out their review packages here.
Another great way to get reviews is to upload your book to StoryCartel.com and give your book a launch using their service. You can pay $25 for one book launch token and allow your book to be downloaded by avid readers who will give an honest review on Amazon in return for the free download. A useful tool.
USelfPublish is a great little site which allows you to list your book with them, as well as read hundreds of articles related to all aspects of self-publishing. Authors can also share their experiences by guest blogging on the site, which is useful for showcasing your knowledge and expertise in self-publishing and gaining trust and a wider readership as a result.
The Author Marketing Club was my first port of call after publishing WALKING UP A SLIDE, and I didn’t regret it. I found a host of Amazon and GoodReads readers and reviewers via their Premium Membership, and their Forums were incredibly insightful and useful. For $149 a year you get access to video course, plenty of support, and more resources than you can possibly ingest in a lifetime. A must-buy.
BespokeBookCovers.com were brought to my attention when I read Lucy V. Hay’s novel The Decision, which had a very cool book cover. I knew that, as a first-time self-publisher, I needed the cover to look incredible, so I got in touch with Peter and his design blew me away. It cost me £300 – £150 up-front, then £150 after completion of the project – and Peter was supportive and helpful throughout the entire process.
Blogs and Resources
TheBookDesigner.com is Joel Friedlander’s amazing blog, where you can read helpful articles on each aspect of the indie author world and watch interview videos with the likes of BookBaby.com’s Steven Spatz, which is a huge coop if you use BookBaby as a publisher, as I do.
As well as a host of review, marketing and editing services, SelfPublishingReview.com also has a regularly updated blog that covers every aspect of self-publishing. Members can also publish articles on the website too, which is a great opportunity for authors to share what they’ve learned and grow their audience. They also have a range of resources, publisher reviews and self-publishing success stories to keep you believing in yourself.
SelfPublishingAdvice.org is the advice blog offshoot of ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors), and features a never-ending supply of information from the self-publishing industry, from news to helpful tips and more. It also features reviews with authority figures in the indie publishing world. Definitely worth a subscription.
NovelExperience.info is a useful blog and resource. Subscribe to the newsletter to also receive a guide on how to promote yourself using a range of tools like Pinterest and more.
DIYAuthor.com is a colourful and hugely popular blog for indie authors. Divided into the following sections: Write, edit, design, publish, market and manage, Chris Well’s awesome resource also features a regularly updated podcast, which is well worth a listen if you’re fed up of reading blog posts and articles all the time and want to ingest valuable info via your ears.
Hugh Howey is the guy who has achieved more in self-publishing than most ever will. He’s had smash hits, sold movie rights and held the traditional publishing industry to rights for years, and his blog is extremely useful. Check out his post on giving advice to aspiring authors if you don’t believe me.
On the subject of Hugh Howey, check out his Author Earnings website. It gives a unique and extremely useful insight into the publishing world, and enables authors to see exactly what is happening across each section of the industry, from sales and distribution to which genres are selling the most books. Here is the latest report from January 2015.
Publetariat.com is author April L. Hamilton’s wonderful blog that covers book trends, writing and publishing tips and the business end of storytelling, which is an often-overlooked section that is arguably more important than anything else related to publishing.
The tagline for Jane Friedman’s blog is “helping authors and publishers flourish in the digital age”, and she absolutely nails it with a variety of free tools and resources, including articles, guides and newsletters. Jane also has book and online classes available, and she also offers services including consulting and speaking.
All of the following Twitter hashtags will bring up blog posts and articles, videos, interviews, podcasts, photos, quotes, book deals and book reviews, as well as book tips, marketing advice and the personal accounts of authors, industry experts, publishers, designers and much more. Save these to your favourites:
April L. Hamilton, who has the magical @IndieAuthor Twitter handle, and wears it well, sharing great advice from around the web.
@Bang2Write for amazing tips on writing across the board, including indie publishing.
@TheCreativePenn is great at making you feel really lazy due how prolific she is, and fortunately, her advice will kick you up the bum, so it’s all good.
@HughHowey is the indie author rock star who gives back, handing out helpful advice and for giving self-publishing world The Author Earnings Report.
@TiceWrites covers just about every nook and cranny in writing, and that includes eBooks, book marketing and indie publishing.
@Carnival_Indies is an awesome way of getting your best blog posts about self-publishing in front of loads of fellow authors via Joel Friedlander’s awesome website The Book Designer.
Book Writing, Self-Publishing and Marketing for Business People is a superb group with over 11,000 members, who are encouraged to share their insights, experiences and infinite wisdom with other writers in the form of discussions, which are all related to writing, publishing and marketing.
Self-Publishing and Book Marketing has 450+ members and is another great place to discuss self-publishing and book marketing with other indie authors. People who start discussions and comment on other people’s posts are said to receive 4x as many profile views, so view this as an exercise in marketing in itself.
There you have it, a shed-load of self-publishing stuff. There’s a lot more, but my brain started to hurt, so maybe you can help me out? If you have a blog, service or tool available that you’d like to share, let me know in the comments below. Indie authors need all the help they can get in the crowded marketplace, so let’s help each other out.