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 August 2022.
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Kristina Decker and I co-published an anthology back in 2019 (Spellbinding: An Anthology of Magic) that has since been unpublished, however my short story in the collection, The Man and the Crow, is now available as an ebook.
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.
- Other places to publish your book: IngramSpark, Lulu, Barnes and Nobel Press and D2D. The hardbacks from IngramSpark that I’ve seen have been exceptionally beautiful, too.
- 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.
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!
For those looking to design their own covers, Canva is a very popular website. Here are some articles about using Canva:
- Canva Free Media License Agreement
- Free Book Marketing Tools for Authors: Canva
- Using Canva For Your Cover
- Canva Images And Graphics: How Safe Are They For Authors
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!
Further, 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 List, The Book Reviewer Directory, The Book Blogger List, 100 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!
- There is also Word Refiner, with proofreading and promotion.
Lee Hall also 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.
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.
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 2021/2022, 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. The semi-finalists even got a badge for their books, which I was delighted by!
Below are the 30 SPSFC semi-finalists and how the final rankings broke down for those that are curious. I definitely encourage checking out the other books in the competition, too!
In terms of other popular contests, 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.
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.
- Indie Bites is a quarterly indie fantasy anthology that’s accepting submissions from self-published, independent and new authors. They are also on Twitter (@Indie_Bites).
- I have also made a Twitter thread with submissions open as of March 2021.
- I also found How to Write a Proper Short Story Cover Letter very helpful. There’s Authors Publish Magazine, a magazine for writers.
- A post with links to new/current literary journal (as of March 2022) was made by author Emily Harstone at Authors Publish: ‘Seven Exciting New Literary Journals’.
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!
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 (with the help of DIY Book Covers in the case of the first two):
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!
More helpful places for promo art:
- How to design 3D book promotion graphics with Google Slides (FREE TEMPLATES!).
- DIY Book Covers
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! ♥♥