Resources for Writers
Are you a writer? Have you always dreamed of writing and publishing a book? You can, you know. Itís not impossible. It takes a lot of work, but itís supremely satisfying and worth every ounce of effort. Here are some resources to help you on your journey.
Caution -- Donít get taken in by scammers. Remember, NO reputable publisher will EVER ask you for money to print your book. Anyone who does is a vanity press. If you have any doubts about a publisher, check here: Predators and Editors.
Indies Unlimited is probably the best resource for independent writers on the web. (And yes, Iím prejudiced.) They have the largest collection of informational posts, tutorials, how-tos, interviews, investigations and reports, lessons learned, flash fiction challenges, reviews and more. Here is just a sample of some of the tutorials they archive.
Editing is essential for an author, whether you do it yourself, enlist beta-readers for feedback or pay for editing services. I do my own editing (with the help of beta-readers), but many feel more comfortable having another set of eyes check their work. I have recently launched my own editing service, and I have several friends who edit that I recommend without reservation. Take a look at Laurie Borisí editing FAQ page here, and also check out Lorraine Regulyís site here.
Formatting, either for paperback or e-book, is not easy. There are a lot of pitfalls. You can do it yourself or your can hire a formatter. I do some formatting (see my Services page), but I can also recommend Quantum Formatting. My friend Rich Meyer does it cheaper than I do, and I know he does a good job.
Cover Design is right up there with writing a good book, because, face it, if your cover doesnít appeal to readers, it doesnít matter how good the book is inside. I design most of my own covers, but I also have an ace in the hole, Brenda Remlinger at CoversByDesign. Sheís great to work with, fast, affordable and has good instincts. A lot of times Iíll figure out the basic design I want, then send her a mock-up so she can polish it up to a gleaming shine.
Publishing; now hereís where the rubber meets the road, right? There are several ways to go about this. Some of the more well-known self-publishing companies are CreateSpace (a division of Amazon), Lulu and Lightning Source. I use CreateSpace, and I love it. I checked into Lulu once, but I was already familiar with CreateSpace so ended up going back to what I knew, and I confess Iíve never used Lightning Source. I have published over 15 books with CreateSpace, both fiction and non-fiction, novels, art books, childrenís books, and memoirs. The few minor problems Iíve run into were taken care of immediately and without question. I highly recommend CreateSpace.
Promotion is a never-ending job. Itís not a set-it-and-forget-it type of thing, much as we might wish it was. With the digital world changing almost by the hour, thereís a constant stream of outlets to promote books: blogs, review sites, book catalog sites, etc. These sites rise up and sometimes fade away quickly, which means that we have to constantly be on the search for new outlets, new ways to get the word out. Luckily Indies Unlimited keeps an up-to-date list of promotion sites here. You can also look into blog sites that interview authors, blog sites that offer to help with new releases and companies that arrange blog tours. And donít forget those tutorials above; there are plenty to help you create and promote your platform.