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 June 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Kristina Decker and I co-published an anthology back in 2019 (Spellbinding: An Anthology of Magic) that has since been unpublished, however my short story in the collection, The Man and the Crow, is now available as an ebook.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!
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, 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.
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:
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 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.
- In more recent news, 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:
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! ♥♥
Everything’s Fine by Matthew Pridham
Eric swallowed his tears and looked down at their clenched hands. “We’re fine,” he said, “everything’s fine.”
Ooof, this was a whooper. I was not expecting … any of what I just read. But I think that made the read all the more hard-hitting. So I recommend just diving straight in. But beware of lots of gore. Read it here.
All Votes Will Be Counted (We Promise) by Paul Crenshaw
He looked at the sky and wondered if the drones were coming. If the satellites would fall, or if, possibly, his vote would be read and counted.
This short is part of Apex Magazine‘s 119 issue and oh my word. To say that this one sent chills up and down my spine would be an understatement. Read it for yourself here.
A Small Revolution in Germany by Philip Hensher, narrated by Neville Watchurst [review cross-posted to Goodreads]
Sometimes, as humans, we decide without consultation what would be best for people.
It made for a nice listen and the narrator was quite good. Spike was interesting character and his relationship with Joaquin is explored well. The political conversations and musings are thought-provoking, and Hensher certainly knows how to write witty dialogue. I’m just not sure what my thoughts are on this one. Overall, though, the prose was good, and it made for a nice addition to lgbt+ historical fiction.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #304 [review cross-posted to Goodreads]
She offered me a handful of bees and told me what to do, word for word.
Listened to ‘The Honey of the World and the Queen of Crows’ by Dimitra Nikolaidou. Amazing title, just sayin’. Well written short story and the audiobook is worth a listen! Available here.
The Curse of the Black Cat by Lou Wilham [review cross-posted to Goodreads, Reedsy]
This is an inherently sweet spin on the classic fairy tale. Prince Alrik of Edan is set to marry Princess Amriah, whom he doesn’t, and can’t, love. Cos, you know, he fancies the pants off Filip, his valet. He tries to play along and give Amriah a chance, but he can’t. He feels nothing for her. Filled with fear of his secret being discovered, Alrik seeks out the witch Gwydion, for help: he wants to be ‘cured’. 😦 It’s a very sad moment, but rather than take advantage of him, Gwydion tells him there’s nothing wrong with him: I’m afraid there is no cure for such a thing, dear prince. We love who we love, and that is the end of that. No magic can change it, not even mine. Nor would I want it to. I really liked her! She’s such a kind person.
Unfortunately, Alrik doesn’t take this well and Gwydion turns him into a cat. And she can’t change him back cos magic doesn’t work like that. A cat you are now, and a cat you shall stay until you can learn to love yourself. It’s an interesting twist to say the least. In addition to being a cat, he’s now immortal. With no way back to his life as a prince, Alrik watches the world pass him by while trapped as a cat. He travels around, seeking out witches, but to no avail.
One day, centuries later, Alrik finds himself in New York, at a Japanese restaurant. He starts to fall in love with both the food and the chef, Yuuki. Very soon, Yuuki begins taking care of Alrik, and dubs the cat ‘Prince’. ADORBS.
What follows is a very sweet, fluffy *pun totally intended * romance. If you’re a fan of adorable fantasy tales, this one is totally for you (⌒▽⌒)