Author Resources

an open book with glasses and white flowers; text says, 'indie book spotlight'

Indie Book Spotlight Twitter Page

I thought I’d share some links and communities for indie authors looking for resources as I know it can be difficult to even know where to start. Starting off without a reader base makes getting one challenging, but there are ways to showcase your works from the start!*

*I have not used all of these websites personally, as some of these have been recommended to me, so do let me know if anything needs amending! 

I try to update this page pretty regularly. Most recently updated May 2022.

Freelance Editors

There are a number of freelance editors that work with authors in the indie book community. A recent Twitter thread (as of March 2022) of editors that indie authors recommend is here.

I have personally worked with a variety of wonderful editors and writers on my books to date: Elizabeth Tanner worked with me on the first two books of The Outlands Pentalogy; Daniela Tarlton-Rees has been my editor for a number of my books, most recently These Violent Nights; Meredith Anderson was my editor for the third-fifth Outlands books; and Kristina Decker and I co-published an anthology back in 2019 (Spellbinding: An Anthology of Magic) that has since been unpublished, however my short story in the collection, The Man and the Crow, is now available as an ebook.

Publishing

I started out with CreateSpace, which merged with Amazon KDP a while back, thus my current books are all published through Amazon KDP, which includes paperbacks. There’s also an option for hardbacks! I haven’t used it myself yet, but I’ve seen several other indie authors publishing hardbacks and they all look great! So the options are all there. I have also heard that IngramSpark and Lulu are great places to publish. The hardbacks from IngramSpark that I’ve seen have been exceptionally beautiful, too. There is also Barnes and Nobel Press and D2D.

  • If you need help formatting and designing the interior of your book, I’ve heard good things about Vellum, although I haven’t used it myself yet.
  • If you want to convert your Word docx into ebooks, Calibre is very handy for this.

Cover Designers 

I have used a variety of book cover designers so far and all of them I can wholeheartedly recommend: Rachel Bowdler, Heather Maddalozzo, Black Jazz Design and BespokeBookCovers.

Some examples:

A few other places I’ve come across but haven’t tried personally (yet! at least, ha!) are: Truborn Design, Fantasy & Coffee Design, Lance Buckley, Seedling Design Studio, Book Cover Design, Juan Padrón and The Cover Collection.

I am absolutely in awe of all of these places and encourage anyone looking for a cover designer to have a good browse around for the right art to adorn your book!

Websites

Indie Story Geek | Goodreads | Readerly | Reedsy | Litsy | LibraryThing | Booksprout | StoryOrigin | ProlificWorks | NetGalley | Bookfunnel | BookBub | The Story Graph | Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi)

In my personal, subjective experience, Goodreads and Twitter are phenomenally helpful tools for marketing yourself as an author. In addition to having a Goodreads Author Page, if you have a Twitter account and engage with hashtags like #WritingCommunity, #booktwt, #SPFBO, #SPSFC and #BBNYA, you’re going to find thousands of authors, readers and bloggers interested in the indie book world. My Indie Book Spotlight page on Twitter is here, for anyone interested!

The Indie Authors & Books community welcomes authors, readers and bloggers to share their books, sites and recommendations. Some other really great Goodreads communities are: For Love of a Book, (Indie) Authors At The Round Table, Advanced Copies for Review & Book Giveaways, Making Connections, Authors & Reviewers, Shut Up & Read, Free Books, .99, Giveaways & Reviews, Bookworm Bitches, Readers That Love Giveaways, Ebook Deals, and Free Books, Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy. Be sure to read the rules before posting/submitting. Each community has different requirements. 🙂

Book Blogs, Bloggers and ARCs

WordPress is a great place to start, honestly. So many bloggers have made WordPress their home and many have review policy pages to check out. This is generally located in the menu.

For those looking to offer advance reader copies (ARCs) of their books, there are also master posts of bloggers seeking ARCs at The Indie Reviewers ListThe Book Reviewer DirectoryThe Book Blogger List100 Best Blogs for Book Reviews and Shirley’s Book Blogger List.

There are also places like the self-published/indie authors community on Livejournal where you can post about your book. Voracious Readers Only is another option, where they advertise your book to readers seeking indie options. In my experience, VRO is a truly fantastic resource and I definitely recommend giving it a go. The trial period is free and you get to send ARCs to readers themselves, thereby adding readers to your newsletters!

For those looking on starting a blog or starting a website, these two places have been kindly shared with me: How to Start a Blog in 2021 and How to Make a Successful Website.

  • There is also Word Refiner, with proofreading and promotion.

Lee Hall, a fellow indie author who has had great success with marketing, published Consistent Creative Content (2021), which has his personal insight into the art of marketing indie books. Rachel Bowdler, both self and traditionally published, also has a thread on what’s worked for her.

Contests

There are several yearly competitions: There is the wildly popular SPFBO, hosted by best-selling fantasy author Mark Lawrence. Hugh Howey, a big name in the self-publishing community and an international best seller (with a show coming soon!!), is now hosting SPSFC, styled after SPFBO.

In 2022, my debut novel, A Touch of Death, made it into the semi-finals of the first SPSFC competition and placed 8th! It was such a fun experience and I definitely recommend taking part in one of the competitions in the indie community.

Below are the 30 SPSFC semi-finalists and how the final rankings broke down:

a collage of all the SPSFC semi-finalists; there are thirty different book covers.

There is also the fantastic BBNYA. I’ve entered it three years in a row and have always had fun and found so many amazing books in the process.

Fallbrandt Press also hosts a yearly Indie Sci-fi/Fantasy Author Battle (ISFAB); and Indies Today also hosts a yearly competition. Creative writing contests are another an option to check out, although I haven’t done one myself.

Blog Tours

Blog tours are another great option to advertise your book to readers! I haven’t used all of these, but some that I know of are: A Novel Take, Let’s Talk! Promotions, Xpresso Book Tours, Be My Book Boyfriend, Rockstar Book Tours, Promotional Book Tours, R&R Book Tours, Storytellers on Tour, The Write Reads, Bewitching Book Tours, TBR and Beyond Tours, Psst Promotions, Turn the Page Tours, The Book Terminal, Blackthorn Book Tours, Random Things Tours, Silver Dagger Book Tours, Prism Book Tours, Caffeine Book Tours and Booktamins.

Magazines and Journals

If you’re looking to write short stories and want to try submitting to a magazine, there are some great magazines calling for submissions and I found a (older) wonderful compilation of links here.

Character Art

Getting freelance/indie artists to draw the characters in your novel is not only fun, but helps readers visualise the characters. There are numerous artists showcasing their work on Twitter. I was lucky enough to get Libra Illustrations to draw some of my characters from my book These Violent Nights and am delighted by the final result!

Promo Art

When advertising on social media, having nice graphics can really help. I’m still learning this myself, but some helpful guides I’ve found are here: Book Brush vs Canva and How To Kill It With Book Promo Images on Twitter.

My absolute favourite programme to use is Adobe Spark (now Adobe Express, I believe). I found it really user friendly and it’s easy to use and figure out. Here are some of the graphics I’ve made in it:

I made these for advertising my books on Twitter! They’re fun and colourful, and you quickly get a sense of what’s in the book and what the reader can expect. Take it from someone who is not great with making graphics, only a few hours on Spark made these possible. It’s a lot easier than you might think!

I hope this helps anyone looking for resources! (ɔ◔‿◔)ɔ If anyone has any lists they think should be added, leave a comment below and I’ll add it to the post.

Thank you to everyone who has suggested websites and links! You guys are wonderful! ♥♥

Short Story Review: We Are Where the Nightmares Go [2018]

We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories by C. Robert Cargill was reprinted in the latest issue of Lightspeed Magazine: May 2020, #120 and is available online here. Cargill’s story is originally from We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories. Also, I love absolutely in love with Lightspeed‘s latest cover. GORGEOUS.

The door is at the end, but there’s not only one path to it. Every way you walk is a path, and all of those paths lead to the door. Some of them just take much longer than others. Some of them are more difficult than others. There are some paths so scary, even I never wander them. This is a land of lost children, filled with children who never find the door and those who have lost themselves trying to find it.

This blew my mind, oh my gosh! It’s so creepy and nightmarish and poetic. I absolutely loved it. A little girl crawls into a door under her bed and is transported to the land where nightmares go and has to find her way back out again. She employs the help of a frightening clown whom she dubs Siegfried, and together they go from nightmarish locale to nightmarish locale, trying to outsmart The Thing on the Other Side of the Door, who won’t let the girl (or anyone else) out of the nightmare land.

Most dreams fade into nothing, drifting away like wisps of smoke. But some dreams, they last. They take root in the soul and hold strong against the tide. The nightmares that survive, the ones that come from the darkest places of your heart and refuse to fade away, they have to go somewhere. So they end up here, cast out like the trash, dumped where no one knows where to look, in the dark space beneath your bed.

For a horror story, it really reads so wonderful. The prose is beautiful and evocative. I’m definitely going to be reading more by C. Robert Cargill.