Self-publishing requires an immense amount of work. That’s not to say that pursuing traditional publishing doesn’t; it’s just a different kind of an immense amount of work.
In 2013, I was both fascinated and alarmed by the sheer amount of information I felt I needed to digest before fully committing to self-publishing. Once I figured out enough to go all-in, I kept learning as much as I could on-the-go.
These are the seven resources that helped me the most—and continue to do so—in self-publishing:
7. An alarm clock
Writers sometimes argue about the best time to write. After years of considering myself a night owl, I tried being an early bird for a few weeks when I started my writing my book in early 2013. After two weeks of getting up at 5am,[ref]ish … [/ref] it became a habit.
I recommend early morning writing because you’re most likely not going to be interrupted. Additionally, your willpower is at its peak during dawn’s first light, before the rest of your day has been able to chip away at it and leaving you less than energized to put all of your mental prowess into your words.
For what it’s worth, I use the Rise alarm clock app for iOS. It’s well-designed and allows you to play a song from your library.
6. Ed Ditto
Ed Ditto first came to my rescue with his superb and to-the-point ebook on formatting, How to Format Your Novel for Kindle, Nook, the iBookstore, Smashwords, and CreateSpace…in One Afternoon (for Mac).
If I hadn’t discovered this book at just the right time, my book would have never made it into the Kindle store or have been turned into a fantastically formatted print book on CreateSpace. I’m planning to release Nook and iBookstore versions in the near future, so I know I’ll be coming back to this resource. I’ve more than made my money’s worth with his book’s help.
Ed then rescued me again before I released the Kindle edition by quickly answering a unique question about footnote formatting. He even wrote a post about it after the fact: A simple yet interesting Scrivener hack.
5. The Self-Publishing Podcast / Write. Publish. Repeat.
As I became serious about self publishing, I wanted to learn as much as I could. Searching for “self publishing” in iTunes turned up a number of podcasts, but the aptly titled “The Self-Publishing Podcast” piqued my interest.
Hosted by Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and Dave Wright, the show is about an hour or more of the three of them talking about their books (many of which they co-write together) and how they’re working to market themselves.[ref]A sidenote word of warning: the podcast and their self-publishing book contain explicit language and coarse joking.[/ref]
They eventually compiled all of their podcast information into a book, Write. Publish. Repeat., that released in December 2013. I bought it as soon as I could and read through it quickly. Even though it’s a long book, it’s a quick read that’s full of insight. In my review, I called it the book I wish I would have had prior to self-publishing my book in 2013.
4. Tribe Writers / Writers Unite Facebook Groups
I belong to a couple of Facebook Groups that concern themselves solely with writing. While I’m a bit more active in Tribe Writers (it’s a private group that’s only available to those that have paid for the Tribe Writers’ course, which I recommend), both groups serve up good questions and better answers from other writers that run the gamut when it comes to experience.[Tweet “It may be called self-publishing, but it takes a community to get the job done.”]
This is why seeking help—and providing help—is essential to self-publishing success.
The Writers Unite group is a closed group, so you have to request an invitation from a member. If you’re interested, leave a comment with a link to your Facebook profile page.
Scrivener is Photoshop for Writers. It’s deceptively powerful. Even though I’ve used it for a few years now, I still probably know half of what it’s actually capable of doing. From the simple to the complex, Scrivener can help you get your ideas sorted, your research stored, your words saved, and your book formatted for multiple publication formats.
I could write a series of posts lauding Scrivener. Until then, I can’t recommend this writing software enough. Once you learn its ins and outs, it makes everything about the process so much easier and so repeatable. It may be the one piece of software on my computer that I look forward to using.
They offer both Mac and Windows versions, as well as a free 30-day trial. Get the trial and read up on how to use it, then see if it won’t help you get your next book written and released.
2. The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast
Simon Whistler’s “The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast” hasn’t even been around for a year, but I’d have to think it’s becoming an increasingly popular resource for self-publishers. He’s a British audiobook narrator by day and podcast host by any other time he can find to work on it.
Unlike “The Self-Publishing Podcast,” Simon interviews a new indie author every week. It’s a fascinating way to learn what works and what doesn’t. These interviews always spark something in my mind as to what I could be doing with my book.
Lastly, Simon’s accessible. I sent him an email awhile back asking his advice on audiobooks. After answering my question, he invited me to be a case study for ACX-produced audiobooks for a resource he’s currently working on that should be a boon to self-publishers looking to further exploit their rights by creating an audiobook.
Of the ten or so podcasts I currently listen to, Simon’s is the one I most look forward to hearing.
1. My wife
Although you can’t go out and buy a copy of my one-in-a-million wife, you can (I hope) find people in your life who will encourage your pursuit of writing and self-publishing. After a recent chat with a fellow writer, the both of us came to the realization that we’re blessed to be married to spouses who support our creative pursuits. It’s something I often take for granted.
Had my wife not graciously granted me the time and space to write and learn, my book would never have become a reality last year. She will tell me both what’s good about my writing and what’s bad, and she’s an honest soundboard for some of my harebrained marketing schemes (Shave your head? Sure!).
But most of all, she adamantly believes in my writing.
You can’t buy that.
And two more things …
I’m releasing a free self-publishing resource in the very near future. I’m aiming for the first week of February.
If you want to be one of the first ones to know about it, sign up for my email newsletter. I seriously think it’ll be a great resource for anyone looking to self-publish this year.