Hey Guys! Wow. It’s been a long time. I miss you all!
*waves to readers and sits on virtual sofa*
This article started out extremely long but then I realized how necessary it was to keep this short and simple. There is so much information out here for Independent Authors and so many made-up commandments it isn’t funny. Everyone has an opinion on what the new author should and shouldn’t do. Everyone has a piece of advice to give or stones to throw. If you move this way you are doing it wrong and if you move that way you are still doing it wrong. There are more laws for the Self-Publisher than there are in the bible. There is something to say about everything. This is why I humbly advise each person to experience everything for themselves and to do their own research. Sometimes you don’t need to be told what to do. Sometimes you need to experience it in order to know if it works for you or not. What works for you is also not necessarily what will work for others. The only way to win is to try things out for yourself.
There are too many SCAMS to count but they all operate on one basic principle:
Get the most green, most amateur Indie Author you can find and prey on their lack of knowledge and understanding of publishing. Prey on their desperation to be signed, to be called published, or to have a publisher, to be a Bestseller. Prey on their desperation to hold a book in their hands with their name on it. Prey on their willingness to let someone else do the work so they don’t have to.
The devil is in the details and he never changes. He doesn’t have to. If people will keep falling for the same tricks and schemes, why change strategy? If you’re desperate and lazy and unwilling to look deeper into these publishing companies and contracts and to double check your facts, you will be taken for a ride. These people won’t tell you that they won’t be able to get your books into bookstores, help you to get reviews or book you for appearances and signings. They won’t tell you that they have a very limited budget and can’t offer anything beyond the minimal social media promotion. They won’t tell you that many (not all but many) small publishers often pose as Traditional Publishers to give you the idea that you’re being “signed” (which supposed to make it legit) by “a real publisher” (which is to say someone likened to Penguin Random House or HarperCollins). They won’t tell you that the only thing they can do for you is everything you can already do for yourself.
You can upload your own files to Createspace, KDP or Lulu.
You can offer your manuscript to Beta Readers who can help you to polish it before it is edited.
- You can outsource for editing, formatting and book cover design yourself
You can use POD (Print on Demand) like Createspace or Lulu to print copies of your book (instead of having someone else to do it for a percentage of your royalties…that makes no sense.)
You can organize your own book signings, speaking engagements, and negotiate terms to get yourself into bookstores and libraries.
Here are some things to consider:
Consider setting a standard for yourself where people must prove their loyalty and understanding instead of trusting people just because they have status. Not everyone who are in positions of authority know what they are talking about, have a vision that aligns with yours, or do as they promise. This INCLUDES organizations, groups, and clubs. EVERYONE in your life personal or professional should add value to your life in some way.
Consider not letting people who been around 5 minutes give you long-term business advice either. Be careful of these “Day late and dolla short” self-proclaimed experts who know nothing outside of a Google search. People will be quick to say something is a waste of time and money because it hasn’t worked for them (or worse, they haven’t even tried it). Just because you don’t see the value in it does not mean it has none.
Consider not passing on information that you have not validated for yourself. If you read an article and the information sounds good, fact check its contents before you share it as truth. Sometimes it can be a fake article or fake information. I read something awhile back, for instance, saying that Donald Trump was releasing all men on Child Support. I knew instinctively something was odd about it. On further investigation, I discovered the article was fake. Had I shared it, I would have been sharing false information which makes me responsible for spreading untruths. This is not a simple thing because if you are spreading falsehoods you are responsible for leading people astray.
Stop mixing truth with your own personal emotions. You may hate Amazon but that doesn’t mean everyone should protest them. That’s your own personal vendetta and has nothing to do with us.
It took me a long time to come up with this list so if I missed any of you, my apologies.
For those of you looking to begin your research, these sites / organizations / clubs are a good place to start. Keep in mind that you must go with whatever works for you. People become successful not by being copies and echoes of others but by being themselves and doing what works for them. They then share what has worked for them with others in case it is beneficial to them as well. If you find something is not for you, move on. These resources are not here as guaranteed solutions but as a starting place. I would ask that you do more than read the information but that you also consider participating and experiencing the information as well. Support these organizations / blogs, ask questions and get involved. It’s the best way to learn.
The Storyreading Ape Blog
Writer Beware (SFWA)
I love this site. It is a great way to study the publishing industry so that you don’t get Scammed and taken advantage of. They have a Thumbsdown Agent List and Thumbsdown Publisher’s List, information on Vanity / Subsidy Publishers, the works.
Anne R. Allen
Anne provides thought provoking advice on writing and publishing for authors. Her style is straightforward and to the point which I love. Visit her Resources for Writers page and How to Get Your Book Published. One of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers, Anne updates on Sundays and her blog also includes regular contributions from former Big Six editor, Ruth Harris.
Books and Such
Books and Such is a Literary Management Agency. They sell books to a wide range of publishers in such categories as women’s fiction, general fiction, nonfiction, gift books, easy readers, and chapter books.
Jeff Goins started his blog in 2010, with a few burning questions in mind: How do successful writers make a living? What does it really take to get published? And, how do you pursue a passion? He shares tips on writing, creativity and making a difference.
Mary Jaksch, Chief Editor, believes your writing practice needs to be directed in a positive way. Write to Done helps you learn new skills, practice them and become a better writer.
Jody posts on her blog every Tuesday. She offers advice, encouragement, and inspiration based on all that she’s learned about writing, publication, and marketing in today’s tough publishing industry.
Jane Friedman, former publisher of Writer’s Digest, specializes in educating writers about the publishing industry—from all perspectives, without hype or bias—to help them make the best long-term decisions for their careers. The Alliance of Independent Authors has awarded her a “Top Website for Self-Publishers”
K.M. Weiland mentors authors through her blog. Her blog is one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers.
Shelley and Heather
Shelley and Heather of Training Authors have a goal to help authors achieve book marketing success. Their site is full of resources and free downloads.
David Gaughran focuses on how to get visible and sell more books. He has written several books on these topics and shares tons of info about self-publishing.
Rachelle is a Literary Agent for Books and Such. She started her blog as a way to create a community of writers both published and seeking publication.
Sandra Beckwith has more than 25 years of experience as a publicist. She shares tips and writes on currently relevant topics for authors. Build Book Buzz was awarded a “Top Website for Self-Publishers” by The Alliance of Independent Authors.
Cathy Stucker shares useful tips and techniques for writing, publishing and selling books. She has free downloads available to help authors build their platform.
Previously going by the name Curiouser Editing, Shayla is very knowledgable on the business of publishing. Her blog has been awarded Best Writing Blogs of 2017 and was among the top 50 writing blogs of 2016.
Kristen is a wealth of information on the publishing industry as a whole as well as a social media. She worked in international sales before transitioning into a career as an author, freelance editor and speaker. She takes her years of experience in sales and promotion and merges it with over fifteen years as a writer and editor to create a program designed to help authors construct a platform in the new paradigm of publishing.
The Creative Penn
The Creative Penn is packed with information and resources. The best way to navigate through it all is to click on the “Start here!” link.
Joel Friedlander aka The Book Designer has countless articles (organized into easy to navigate topics) on his site that help self-published authors with every thing you need to know, and do.
This website offers review and editing services. You can become a member for additional perks and discounts.
Authors, Bloggers, Rainbow Support Club
Founded by Marjorie Mallon, the Authors, Bloggers, Rainbow Support Club is a supportive group of authors and bloggers who promote, review, and supports the works of authors.
A Writer’s Path Writer’s Club
Founded by Ryan Lanz, A Writer’s Path Writer’s Club supports the works of authors by providing advice, support, and discounted writer services such as editing and book promotion.
Rave Reviews Book Club
Founded by Nonnie Jules, Rave Reviews Book Club is a virtual book club made up of authors and readers who propel, promote, and support one another’s work.
The Future of Ink
The Future of Ink has a lot of content directed at helping authors navigate their marketing choices. Denise Wakeman and Ellen Britt have pulled together a huge list of experts and great articles.
Toni and Shannon
Toni and Shannon, the self-publishing team are passionate about helping indie authors publish their work and build dedicated fan bases.
Catherine writes from Ireland and talks a lot about self-publishing. Her posts are fun and informative.
Julie Isaac, the founder of has provided tools, solutions, and support to thousands of writers since 2003.
Frances Caballo shares tips and suggestions for using social media to your advantage to market your work.
Louise Myers talks all about the power of social media graphics, and offers tips on how you can make your presence more visually appealing.
Writer Unboxed has articles from a ton of contributors that all offer advice and food for thought on the craft and business of writing fiction.
An author himself, Hugh doesn’t just use his site to promote his own work, he uses it to help other authors as well.
Publishers Weekly’s new site dedicated to indie authors, is in Beta mode. They have how-to stories and author profiles, and you can take one of their publishing self-evaluations.
The Write Life
Wonderful resources for the self-published author.
JA Konrath is an author who blogs a lot about current events in publishing and on topics that authors should familiarize themselves with.
Best Podcasts for Writers and Publishers
A Fantasy author herself, Lindsay doesn’t just promote her own work on her website. She also promotes other authors AND writes blog posts with helpful advice on self-publishing.