101 Resources for Self Published Writers

101 Resources for Self Published Writers

905120_67dee35819 Should I self publish my book or, should I take my chances with traditional publishers? Should I focus on fiction or non-fiction? Would an ebook fetch better revenues than a hard copy? Hardbound or soft cover? Should I hire someone to edit my book, or should I avoid the book doctor? What do I need to know about book cover design and page layouts? I know that marketing and promotion are vital for success; especially for a self published writer – but what is the right way to promote? Is it a good idea to self publish a children’s book? Find answers to these and more questions here…


When we decide
that we want to write, some of us have a very clear and concrete idea
about our first book – whether it is fiction or non-fiction, whether it
is action, science fiction, or a thriller. Others first decide that
they want to write, and then start thinking of interesting ideas.
Whether or not you are a first-time writer, you can always benefit from
idea generation resources:

1. Remember the word association test in psychology? The Prompt Writer site specializes in one-word prompts that jumpstart the creative process.

2. A very comprehensive resource for prompts and how to use them to improve your writing – Raina’s prompts. "The purpose of writing prompts is to give yourself ideas to write when you don’t have any – either to start off a short story or to get yourself unstuck in the middle of a story when you don’t know where to go," says Raina.

3. A great resource for generating new niche book ideas. For example, "There are lots of books available for people thinking of starting a new job, but what about all those thousands of people who are already doing it? How about writing a series of guides showing these people how to do a better job, how to be the best at what they do, how to get (more) recognition for their work…"

4. There’s some fun stuff on this Creative Writing Prompts page that stimulates your gray cells – the creative ones!

5. The Writing Fix site – designed by writers, teachers, and students; is the only site that provides interactive, game-based writing prompts.

6. If plot ideas is what you are looking for, this plot bank may be just the one for you. "Over 2000 scenarios ranging from the normal to the bizarre are provided as a spark for the imagination. "

7. You must be familiar with how your writing style seems to become repetitive after a while? As our neurons keep firing on the same paths, the habitual thinking pattern grooves deepen, and we fall into a rut – literally! Need fresh inputs from other minds to start those neurons jumping on new paths? You can purchase Pam McCutcheon‘s book, "The Writer’s Brainstorming Kit: Thinking in New Directions."

8. If you can ignore the completely icky background, you can actually benefit from the tips designed to overcome writers block such as, "If you’re writing action / fight / battle scenes and are having trouble describing the scenes a good starting point is to watch a movie with some good fighting scenes in and then go away and describe what you’ve just seen."


9. About.com’s fiction writing guide, Ginny Wiehardt explores various writing issues.185720850_2835e9a7d1

10. "When digging a trench, work as long and as hard as you possibly can each day and try to beat that progress tomorrow. When creating a piece of art, work when, where and how it feels good. That’s the only way to write creatively well. The mind works best when fresh." … there are several such gems in Allen Meece‘s handbook.

11. Writer Burnout: Read about a writer’s struggle against writers block. (Does anyone else find it ironic that we are reading about an author who is writing about her writer’s block?).

12. "Backstory should filter through the actual story in dialogue, mannerism, exposition. It should not make up the entire plot line."… Victoria Lynn Schmitt’s insights get you thinking.

13. This is the official website of the Writers Digest magazine. It’s full of news for writers as well as some very useful articles (about writing, of course!).

14. Should you hire a book doctor to edit what you wrote? Or are independent editors simply draining your money? Find out at SFWA’s article entitled, "Book Doctors And Independent Editors."


15. Accessibility and Visual Appeal: "It may be bursting with invaluable information, but if your book’s not easy on the eye and easy to access, then your readers will feel dissatisfied." (Five Tips for Designing a Successful eBook)

16. Planet ebook is a site dedicated to the different aspects of ebooks. It provides ebook articles and news. Check out the interview with Michael S. Hart, (of Project Gutenberg fame) considered by many to be the father of eBooks and eTexts.

17. Judy Cullins offers advice about marketing your ebook, pricing it, avoiding mistakes, formatting and the like. "To publicize your books start writing short articles, anywhere from 400-1200 words on your book’s topics. "

148805548_78a43b5799 18. Shelley Lowery shares her ideas of creating and marketing your ebook. "When you begin writing, keep in mind, reading on a computer screen is much more difficult than reading from paper. "

19. The self publishing section of eBook crossroads presents an overview of the steps needed to get started on your ebook. "Essentials for marketing include a well designed website, and a well planned marketing campaign. "

20. Self publish eBooks provides common sense tips which give you insights about the eBook creation process. "Simply pick a topic that you know and brainstorm how you can save your readers time, money and headaches by revealing the tricks and tips that you have learned through trial-and-error."

21. The eBook publishing software site provides impartial ebook publishing software reviews.

22. "Publishing Your Own Electronic Book (eBook)": This article lists out the abcs of ebook publishing. "The PDF format has the advantage that it can be read on any platform: there are free PDF viewers for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Unix (various), etc."


23. Nathaniel’s design site offers some very useful design and page layout tips such as, " Full justification will give your book layout a clean orderly look.  With full justification, your headings could be either left, right, or centered."

24. Café Press’s advice? "Make sure your cover typography stands out sufficiently to be read; almost everyone really does judge a book by its cover. "

25. John Berry talks about the finer aspects of book design. "It’s far better to 115854145_61517e665a design a multicolumn layout, and to let the artwork or other display items occupy the width of a whole column (or several columns), rather than to vary the width of the text to accommodate the pretty pictures." In other words, text is more important than display.

26. Lulu offers a free sample format for self published authors wherein you will be able to see the sample layout for one chapter of your book, as well as for the front matter. Since their composition is not template-based, they format each manuscript individually.

27. This is a book design blog. (Check out the latest featured design cover!)

28. Read author of "Print-On-Demand Book Publishing" author Morris Rosenthal‘s answers about book design. An example? "If you look at my book cover designs, you’ll see that I’m the last guy to believe in the importance of covers. I used a scan of a brown paper bag for my first business book and did the covers for my next two books in."

29. "Unique illustrations for each chapter add a certain style and flavor to the book and make it easier for readers to find the place where they left off reading." – Magic Graphix; layout section

30. It’s true that several first-time writers are not clear about page numbering convention – especially if we’re talking about blank pages. "Remember every page counts as a page whether it is blank or part of the text—numbered or not." (Self publishing life tips )

31. Find a book that looks like the one you want yours to look like, and show it to your printer… "To get what you want, just buy a model and adapt it." (more tips on Para publishing)

32. What does ergonomic book design mean? "In the case of a book, ergonomics goes farther than asking whether a book is too heavy to lift, too small to used, or too big to fit in a pocket. Every aspect of a book has implications for practical use."

33. Jacci Bear talks about page margins, using publishing software, fonts and desktop publishing myths. "Minimalist designs with little text, simple graphics, and generous margins can convey elegance, simplicity, or richness depending on other elements of the design." (About desktop publishing)

34. Sandra K. Williams doesn’t believe in using MS Word for page layouts. "While some self-publishers use Microsoft Word or Publisher, I believe professional page layout software, like Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress, produces a better-looking book." (Williams Writing; book design section)

35. Custom design and layout, Do-It-Yourself design and layout, or a Hybrid design service? Which one do you prefer? Check out selfpublishing.com’s design section.

36. How should you dress your book? Gunnar Swanson talks about book design. "The stuff that seems secondary is where the real action is and it’s unlikely that you’ll forget the obvious stuff anyway. "

37. "For certain books it often makes economic sense to print what is called a self-cover book. This is where the cover and body are both printed on the same stock." (Book printing tips)

38. Richard Brown, a self published author, offers self publishing advice with a focus on printing.

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39. Do you want to avoid the mistake that Christina Dodd made? Or do you want a controversy that will be the perfect publicity launch? In this amusing article about her three-armed heroine, Dodd describes how she used the cover illustration blooper to her advantage.

40. Irene Gallo‘s blog post provides insights into book cover issues: "We don’t always want the jackets to be literal scenes from the book (what I call "chapter and verse" covers) sometimes we want more of a "mood" cover or a cover that evokes the story rather than gives an specific example from it."

41. Did you know that if you are a POD book writer, it is more important for your cover show up well as a thumbnail on a web page than to be a visual knock-out from across the room?

42. Insights on creating a book cover with a particular focus on the eBook: "The potential buyer should be able to get at least a general idea of what your ebook is about by simply glancing at the cover." ( Insider Design Tips For Ebook Cover Graphics That Sell)

43. How to create and use your covers on a tight budget. "Print extra covers during your initial run — and don’t have them folded. Later, these extras can be made into posters, trade show displays and brochures to help market your book." (Our Top Cover Tips)

44. We recommend this page not only for its practical tips; but also for the downloadable cover templates, the image size table, and the ISBN explanation for the first-time self publisher. (Learn about book covers)85031947_64f67963f7

45. How much attention have you paid to the spine of your book? Or did you think it is not important enough? "The spine of the book is an important element of a book’s cover design due to the fact that many books are displayed with only the spine showing."

46. "If you want an image to bleed, be sure that you set up your files so that you have enough image to go beyond your trim." ( Book cover design tips from lifetips)

47. All Graphic Design’s book template page provides some book cover templates.

24202095_bde9b9f995 48. Book designs are changing and how! "Lately, the covers of romance novels have featured more flesh on the man than the woman—a sign that publishers have finally figured out who the buyers are."

49. Jeff Angus talks about making memorable book covers. (You’ll have to open a PDF file to read the feature.)


50. At diggypod, the file format in which you submit material for printing is not an issue. Also, their custom print driver lets you view an instant proof right on your desktop or online.

51. Dan Poynter tells you how to identify the right printer for your book – this depends on whether your book will use casebinding, perfect binding, or saddle stitching.

52. Fivecorners: This printer welcomes prospective self published authors to explore the option of printing with them.

53. Morris Publishing specializes in short-run book production of 200-5,000 copies, producing books in a relatively short production time.

54. Whether you need your book to be designed by the printer, or whether you have a ready-to-print version, Gorham Printing‘s is an option you can explore.

55. Read about the "Instant Publisher" software.

56. Daytona Press has developed low-cost, author-friendly products, services, and programs to help authors publish their works.

57. Looking for a printer? BooksJustBooks is a book printer’s site for self-published writers.



58. Here are sixty six book marketing tips such as, "At a reading, standard procedure is to read an 104391372_a50e1678a7especially interesting or compelling section of your book to an audience. "

59. How many times do we forget the basics? This marketing guide for self publishers presents insightful information such as, "Make sure that if a customer follows your marketing efforts and goes to buy your book it is actually available for them to purchase at that time."

60. Since "every writer today needs an effective website as part of a complete marketing plan," Ginny Stibolt provides guidelines for creating your writer website.

61. Hope Clark‘s book addresses the book promotion jitters faced by shy writers.

62. "If our press release doesn’t hit the right person’s desk, it’s practically guaranteed to be thrown away." And other such very basic (yet very often overlooked) and sensible tips…

63. Even if you’re not a stay-at-home mom (whom this page targets), you can benefit from the tips and resources provided on this page. " Offer a discount to groups who buy your books in bulk, either for personal use or for resale."

64. Want to buy a book about marketing your self published book? Check out Cathy Pedigo‘s "Self Publishing, Writing and Marketing."


65. During a time when reading is no longer a priority, poetry books are hardly bestseller candidates. The Empty Mirror Books article guides you about self publishing your poetry book, selling and marketing it, and also provides other resources.

66. While admitting that poetry doesn’t pay, this poetry portal explores various avenues of publishing poems, including self publishing and electronic publishing.

67. Read Peter Finch‘s advice for poets.

68. A step-by-step guide for self publishing your poetry book, this page also includes star ratings for software.

69. We couldn’t resist including Morris Rosenthal‘s blog post about the grim reality of publishing poems. Look at this gem, " The "real" money in publishing poetry has always been in publishing dead poets, even those who had success in their lives probably earned more for their heirs after they went on to explore the great mystery."

70. Read Poetry Magic’s take on self publishing here…


71. If you want reasons to self publish your cookbook, read Callawind‘s list of reasons. 66022963_d1d4d771dd

72. Want services for your cookbook project? This Gourmania page may be of help.

73. Do you think only fancy cookbooks are good? Read Rosenthall’s blog post before you decide to self publish your cookbook: "Some of the best books for cooks were designed with low printing cost in mind, and the only illustrations are black and white line drawings of ingredients."

74. "Don’t assume that today’s kids’ books are just like the ones you read as a child. Juvenile literature is more sophisticated, creative and far-ranging than ever before. Dick & Jane don’t cut it anymore!" – Write4kids

75. Aaron Shepard‘s site is full of sensible guidelines such as, "Your main character should be someone the reader can identify and/or sympathize with. He or she should be near the top age of your intended readers. (One exception is in folktales.)"

76. Joan Holub, author and/or illustrator of over 50 children’s books shares some very usable tips about writing (and illustrating) for children.


77. Adam Swan‘s heartfelt and experience-based advice about publishing your comic, "The financial liabilities, other than those outlined in the rest of this article are mostly that you should expect to not reach break-even for months, and thus you will lose money for awhile."

78. Do you think self publishing your comic book series is "too hard?" James Hudnall doesn’t think so, and he should know – he does it for a living. Hudnall provides comic book self publishing tips such as, "When you have completed the comic, send a letter or fax to Diamond Comics Distribution … and any other direct market comics distributors out there, like Cold Cut or Big Picture, requesting their supplier guidelines."31834316_196b08f314

79. Dave Law‘s page is full of resources for self publishing your comic book.

80. Comic book resources at Publishing Central.

81. "…if you’re planning on self-publishing, you’ll have to do a bunch of business-y stuff, no matter how much you hate it." (So You Wanna Self Publish Your Comic Book )

82. Want to buy a how-to book about self publishing your comic book? Click here.


83. Trivia anyone? This self publishers hall of fame includes Scott Adams, Arthur Agatston, Craig Alesse and other known names…

84. Lulu offers offers book publishing and marketing services.

85. A rich information resource for self published writers that covers topics such as epublishing and book promotion. They also have a discussion forum, a blog, and articles.

86. Resources for self publishing on wise owl books…

87. The self publishing network takes you through the entire process in an organized, step-by-step manner.

88. This is the site of PMA – the non-profit trade association representing independent publishers.

89. Sharon Hurley Hall shares important tips about self publishing including how to tell whether or not self publishing is the right choice for you.

90. "Small Publishers Association of North America" is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing the interests and expertise of independent publishers, self publishers and authors through educational opportunities and discounted services.

91. We recommend the "Cost of Self-Publishing" section on Go Publish Yourself. (Though they need to update this section.)

92. Besides using this site to market her own (presumably) self published books, tapes, CDs, videos and success kits on self publishing, writing, book promotion, marketing, and entrepreneurship; Marilyn Ross also provides some free resources such as self publishing articles and self publishing success stories.

93. O’Reilly‘s web page presented like a book layout,  provides valuable tips to writers such as, "It is recommended that you look into the issue of copyright infringement for yourself-at least enough to feel confident about making decisions regarding the necessity of obtaining permission…" (Chapter 7 – Giving Credit and Requesting Permission). Though it is not specifically for self published writers, we have included this resource simply because it contains so many valuable tips.

94. If you are a woman and are not sure how to bring the book inside you to life, book coach Katey Coffing is equipped to help you.

95. Read this SIUE website section for the stages of the writing process.

96. Judy Blume shares what worked for her, as a writer.

97. Fourteen pages of solid, useful information about how self publishing works. For example, "You can self-publish almost anything you want, but if you want to make a profit, it helps to consider your book not just as a piece of art but also as a sellable product."

98. Pneuma books offers several free downloads about topics such as writing and editing, designing and page layout, and other how-tos.

99. Loreen Leedy gives a blow-by-blow account of how she creates her books.24935828_9a623deaa8

100. The four steps to navigate the self publishing minefield according to this site? 1. Educate yourself 2. Prepare yourself 3. Print your book and 4. distribute and market your book.

101. This is the highly successful self published writer – the parachute guy – Dan Poynter‘s  site that provides very useful and insightful information. A must read for self publishers.


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