Some helpful books, blogs and other tools we recommend.
These are tools we use and have found helpful for new writers. Alas, we don’t have time to vet new companies to add to the list, so please don’t ask us to do that. This list is simply a helpful, free offering to our readers–as is all the content of this blog. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to offer any more free services than we already offer with this blog. We need to spend some of our time writing books so we don’t starve–and we also need to sleep and see our families and go outside and breathe like other earth creatures. Thanks. 🙂
- Smart Social Media by Chris Syme
- Blog It! By Molly Greene
- Rise of the Machines by Kristen Lamb
- Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton (Only in paper. Extensively illustrated.)
- The Author’s Platform by Barb Drozdowich. Barb also provides one-on-one social media help at Bakerview Consulting. She’s great!)
- Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success by Mark Coker (free!)
- Self-Publish Your Book by Jessica Bell
- Write. Publish. Repeat by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
- How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn
- The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers by Barb Drozdowich
- Let’s Get Visible & Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran
General Interest Writing Guides
- Fowler’s Modern English Usage Free download
- The Elements of Style
- How to Write a Novel by Nathan Bransford
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Bird by Bird Anne LaMott
- How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey
- Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
- And ahem, you might want to take a look at:
- How to be a Writer in the E-Age: A Self-Help Guide by Catherine Ryan Hyde and Anne R. Allen
Great blogs for Writers
- Janice Hardy’s Fiction University
- Romance University
- The Creative Penn
- The Passive Voice
- Kristen Lamb’s Blog
- Molly Greene
- Jami Gold
- Elizabeth S. Craig and check her Writers Knowledge Base for tons of great info.
- Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds (warning: his favorite word is the “f”one)
- Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer
- Frances Caballo’s Social Media Just for Writers
- Penny Sansevieri’s Author Marketing Services
- Write to Done
- Writer Unboxed
- Writer’s Village
- Write it Sideways
- The Write Conversation
Blog Archives that provide a whole course in publishing
- BookEnds Literary Agency
- Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents
- Query Tracker
- Query Shark
- Janet Reid
- PubRants University from the Nelson Agency
Super-Helpful Blog Posts for Self-Publishers
- How to Self-Publish Your Book (Jane Friedman)
- The Basics of E-Book Publishing (David Gaughran)
- 10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to Any E-Book Publishing Service (Jane Friedman)
- How to Self-Publish a Book on Amazon (Mike Fishbein)
Contests and Paying Markets for Writers
Contest Listings and Calls for Submissions
- C. Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers
- Beyond Your Blog—Great market info, updated often
- Authors Publish magazine (free!). They list small presses that don’t require an agent as well as paying markets.
- Winning Writers
- Poets and Writers
Watchdogs, Communities and Helpful Groups
- Writer Beware
- Preditors and Editors (no longer updated, but the archives are useful)
- Absolute Write (Good for alerts on scams, but avoid interaction. The site harbors bullies)
- CritiqueCircle (Online writing workshop. Very helpful.)
- The KindleBoards:Writer’s Café (be prepared for snark, but there are helpful people here, too.)
- Google Plus for Writers
- Tom Winton’s Authors Helping Authors on Facebook
- Insecure Writers Support Group (Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog group for writers. Kind and helpful.)
- WANAtribe (We Are Not Alone: Kristen Lamb’s forum for writers. Good people!)
- The International Indie Author: Mark Williams’ Facebook group for cutting-edge news on global markets
Technical Resources for Writers
Tech Support and Wizardry
- Bakerview Consulting: Author-specific Web design, social media classes, blogging help, and general day-saving.
- Tech Surgeons: Web Hosting for authors and other technical wizardry.
Self-Publishing E-book Distributors
- Smashwords. The oldest ebook distributor of self-published titles.
- Draft2Digital. Similar to Smashwords, but easier to use. They distribute to some sites SW doesn’t and vice versa. You also pay them a percentage of your sales
- BookBaby. You pay for a publishing package upfront, but they don’t take a percentage.
- eBookPartnership. eBook conversion specialists since 2010.
- Lulu—Like BB they provide ebooks and paper books.
Self-Publishing Print Companies and Distributors
- CreateSpace—owned by Amazon
- IngramSpark—owned by biggest book distributor in the US, Ingram
- BookBaby—They do both print and ebooks
- Lulu—They prefer to sell in their own store, but they do distribute to Amazon and B&N.
- Alchemy Book Covers. Keri Knudson designs brilliant, original covers at reasonable prices. She’s the artist who designed most of my covers, including my favorites: Lady of the Lakewood Diner, No Place Like Home, and So Much for Buckingham.
- Reedsy is a website with lists of vetted editors, designers, formatters and other professionals to build your team.
- Editorial Freelancers Association lists prices for editing services.
- Ebook Launch–Inexpensive ebook and POD formatter that’s highly recommended by Smashword’s Mark Coker.
- Polgarus Studios–Well known and well-respected formatters. (They gave us some very kind help with How to be a Writer in the E-Age.)
EBook and POD formatting Programs
- Calibre is a FREE e-book manager that does e-book file conversion, synchs your devices and manages your library.
- Reedsy has a new FREE book conversion editor that creates EPUB, PDF and POD (Paper) book templates.
- Sigil, another FREE download runs on Windows, Linux and Mac. Sigil lets you edit epub files and comes with an on-line manual and user forum. As far as I know, right now there is nothing similar for editing mobi files which is where Calibre comes in. You edit your epub in Sigil, then use Calibre to convert to mobi.
- Jutoh (Windows, Mac, and Linux) is a moderately-priced app that creates ebooks (including covers) in all the popular file formats.
- Scrivener comes in PC and Mac versions and is a full word-processing program as well as a method to make epub and mobi files. Ruth Harris says, “Almost infinitely flexible, Scriv is a must-have for many writers including me. The manual is extensive, the video tutorials are excellent and the help forum is outstanding. Keith Blount, Scriv’s developer, often appears to answer questions and his savvy crew is responsive and will walk you through any dilemmas. Like MSWord, Scriv compiles to both epub and mobi and does it fast. 5 stars all the way.
- Legend Maker for Mac costs about $30 and will turn your manuscript into epub or mobi format. Comes with a user guide, validators and on-line support.
- Mobipocket Creator converts Word files to .prc files that can be uploaded directly to Kindle.
- Kindlegen is Amazon’s own FREE downloadable tool for formatting your book into a Kindle-friendly format. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
- Vellum Makes ebook formatting easy and elegant plus outstanding support from the developers, the two Brads. Mac only.
- Dropbox is so ubiquitous and so essential for off-site back up that it’s a must-have. It’s FREE, creates one file in the cloud and another on your desktop as you work. DB also synchs all your devices and works seamlessly with both mobile and desktop apps.
- Microsoft offers FREE cloud storage called SkyDrive and Apple’s version is called (guess what?) iCloud. Google’s cloud storage, Drive, is also FREE and works on all popular systems.
- Mozy, Carbonite, and CrashPlan are remote backup services. All offer a FREE trial and various subscription plans for personal and business back up.
Evernote is a powerful, FREE note keeping app that works on all platforms. Searchable by keyword or tags, includes reminder and web clipping functions, great for keeping research including images, for brainstorming ideas, for parking stuff you’re not yet sure what to do with. Cloud-based, syncs across all your devices.
Nice to Have
Name generators come in handy when you’re stuck for just the right name and offer suggestions appropriate for different periods of history, various ethnicities, celebrity baby names and even literary genres ranging from scifi to steampunk to vampires. Scrivener includes a name generator but there are FREE name generators on line—more here. Some also provide random personality profiles to help you along even more.