Over the past few years I’ve been amassing a list of resources that have fueled my indie author journey. Today, in no particular order, I’m sharing some of them with you. This post includes no affiliate links (I get nothing by promoting the organizations, products, and individuals below). I’ve just found these resources super useful and hope that you do, too. One of these days I’ll compile a more comprehensive list and publish a downloadable link. Keep an eye out for it!
Resource 1: WordPress. Every indie author needs a website. You can pay a web designer to build yours, or you can do it yourself. I’ve thought about turning over this work to a pro, but then I would have to ask my web designer for help every time some little glitch arose with the site, which could get very expensive. No worries. There are more and more do-it-yourself platforms that make it easy to build and run your own site. I’ve always used WordPress. I’m not tech savvy, but I’ve been able to stumble my way through designing my own site without too much trouble. Setting up a website on WordPress is free. There are a lot of free themes to build your site available on WordPress, but not all of them provide the features and support a techno-unsavvy author like myself needs. I use the Vantage premium theme and have always received excellent support from them when I’m confused or frustrated by something. Whatever you do, choose a theme that is mobile-optimized. This means the site looks and functions well on mobile devices.
Resource 2: Dreamhost. When you build a site, you need a hosting service for it. There are lots of them available. I use Dreamhost. My favorite thing about Dreamhost is the awesome technical support. Again, as a non-techie myself, I place great value on services that provide support when I am confronted with a technical problem that stumps me. The Dreamhosters respond to even my most inane questions with patience and kindness, bless them all. Plus their newsletter is a hoot. Hosting a site for 3 years costs about $7.95/month at Dreamhost, but they are currently having a 40% off sale. Here’s the link to their promo.
Resource 3: Canva. Do you have zero design skills? Don’t stress. Canva to the rescue. Canva is a free site that allows you to design professional looking ads, logos, and other graphics. If you use it a lot, you’ll end up paying a bit for “premium” images and fonts, but a couple of dollars for a great design is worth it.
Resource 4: Moo. This is where I get my author business cards. One side has my book cover on it; the other has my contact info and social media details. It’s pretty straightforward. You pick a design, upload your images, do a little cropping here and there, and you’re done. They send the cards to you in the mail. It’s about $40 for 100 high-quality, beautiful cards. Not the cheapest out there, but I don’t use tons of business cards so I’d rather pay a little more than the basic options and have a memorable card on thick, luscious paper. Voilà.
Resource 5: Unsplash. I can’t rave enough about the greatness of Unsplash. If you’re a blogger, you know how hard it is to find high-quality, free images to use on your website. Unsplash takes the angst away by offering free, unrestricted use of fantastic images. They only ask you to credit the photographers, which I happily do. Long live Unsplash!
Resource 6: Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). I love these people. Based in the U.K., this group provides a community and lots of support for indie authors. There’s a small annual membership fee and it’s worth every penny. From connections with service providers to helpful mentoring from other authors to free books on independent publishing, ALLi provides awesome value and just keeps getting better.
Resource 7: Bookfunnel. Do you have a “reader magnet”? A book, a story, a prelude, a prequel…something of value that you give away to people for free. It’s a key component in the sequence of events to get someone on your mailing list. But how do you give people your reader magnet? You can do it with a Google document, but that only gives people a PDF. What about if you want to give them an e-book or a sample of one that they can read on a Kindle, on a tablet, on their phone? Bookfunnel was created to do just that. It’s super easy to set up and for first-time authors it’s only $20/year.
Resource 8: The Creative Penn. Joanna Penn has been a huge influence on me from the get-go. I started listening to her podcast a couple of years ago, and her website The Creative Penn is a goldmine of helpful information for indie authors. Joanna writes both fiction and nonfiction, and has become one of the leading voices in the indie author space. She’s inspirational, positive, forward-thinking, and has a lovely British accent. I support her podcast on Patreon, which gives me an extra Q & A session each month that’s packed with advice and tips. Go Joanna!
Resource 9: Booklinker. It took me a while to figure out that when I provide a link to my Amazon book page on Twitter or any other social media site (or in my newsletter), it only links to the U.S. Amazon store. People in the U.K. or Mexico or India who click on the link can’t buy the book in the U.S. store. They need a link to their own country’s Amazon store. Booklinker solves that problem by providing a free universal link to your book’s Amazon page in every country where it’s available.
Resource 10: Scrivener. The holy grail of novel-writing software. I love Scrivener. I love moving my virtual index cards around the corkboard when I’m in the planning and organizing stage. I love assigning point-of-view color coding to my scenes. I love word count targets. I love “composition mode,” which blocks out everything else on my desktop. I love the compile feature, which lets you export the manuscript in various formats for print or publication. The Mac version of Scrivener is $45. Occasionally it’s discounted, so check around the Web for promo codes.
I hope this resource-a-palooza proves helpful to you. If you have any fantastic indie author resources to share, please leave a comment or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.