Four years ago, when I attended my first Nationals, I was only vaguely aware of self-publishing. I fully intended to pursue a traditional publishing career and I found plenty of workshops to help me understand the role of agent and editor, to perfect my pitch, and to polish my query letter.
As I started submitting to agents and entering contests with my dream industry judges, I also began to seek out sources of information to educate myself about the industry I was planning to join. To my amazement I found a freely available treasure trove of solid, actionable information and over the last couple of years I’ve gradually come to believe that independent publishing will be a better match for my personal priorities, timelines and ambitions.
I attended a number of the indie-focused workshops in Orlando, and I was surprised to discover how much I already knew. So instead of recapping my learnings from the conference, I thought perhaps I should share the online resources I find most valuable:
1 The Passive Voice
TPV is the blog of Passive Guy, an attorney, entrepreneur, former tech executive and writer. It offers a wide-ranging daily extract of pertinent blog posts and articles on authors, traditional publishing and indie publishing, together with PG’s personal thoughts. It’s a bonus that Mrs PG is a romance author who was traditionally published and is now indie, and an even bigger bonus that PG is willing to share his personal opinions on the legal aspects of the publishing industry. I read this blog every day and if there’s a subject of particular relevance to me I also check out the original post and read the comments on TPV. I always learn something useful.
2 Author Earnings Report
Author Earnings is a collaboration between indie superstar author Hugh Howey and an analyst known as Data Guy. The site’s stated mission is to gather and share information so that authors can make informed decisions. More than any other source, this is the one that helped me make the decision to try indie publishing. The downloadable reports on the site are the work of Data Guy, who has used his professional skills to chart and analyze the whole publishing universe, including Amazon and indie publishers. Before Data Guy, there was no solid industry information about the online and indie portion of the market. The Author Earnings site is a wealth of hard information for aspiring authors, about genre, formats, pricing and royalties.
3 The Creative Penn
Joanna Penn is a best-selling author of thrillers and publishing self-help books. She shares her personal publishing financial information and her views on the latest industry trends and opportunities. She offers podcasts and interviews with other leading lights of the indie scene. Her website is searchable and it’s full of priceless know-how.
4 Self-Publishing Formula
Mark Dawson is a British lawyer and best-selling thriller author who also offers courses on self-publishing and advertising for indie authors. His approach is very clear and actionable, and it helps that he’s tried it all on his own books. He publishes a free podcast every week on some aspect of self-publishing and also has a Youtube channel offering tutorials on everything from mailing lists, book launches, ads for authors, book blurbs, and much more. He also has a closed Facebook group for mailing list subscribers.
5 Alliance of Independent Authors
Alli is a global non-profit organization that supports authors who self-publish. Some benefits, like a closed online forum and expert advice, are exclusively available to paying members, but everyone can access their self-publishing advice center, subscribe to their weekly blog, and participate in their thrice-yearly free Indie Author Fringe conference.
6 Romance Writers of America
RWA has an Indie Publishing Forum where members can ask for help on anything from finding an editor to covers to social media.
7 Jane Friedman
Jane Friedman is a 20-year publishing industry insider with a particular interest in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. Her website offers a wealth of practical information about author websites, marketing, social media, the nuts and bolts of how (and whether) to self-publish, analytics, plugins, permissions…
Reedsy is a reputable marketplace for editors, cover designers, formatters, ghostwriters and all kinds of freelance publishing professionals. They also offer a blog and live video events, as well as free courses.
9 Writer Beware
Writer Beware is a blog sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. It exposes literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls, and also provides advice for writers, industry news, and commentary.
10 David Gaughran
David Gaughran is an Irish writer of historical adventure novels and non-fiction books about indie publishing. He’s a strong advocate of indie publishing and especially interesting on the ins and outs of digital marketing and how to achieve visibility, plus more wrinkles than you could ever imagine about publishing on Amazon.
If you’re considering indie publishing, or if you’re simply curious about the industry, I think you’d enjoy spending a few minutes or more browsing any of the above sites.
If you have other recommendations, I’d love to hear ‘em!