These are resources compiled for new, emerging, and indie authors like myself and those I review. Want to be added as a resource? Let me know! Be sure to check out CreativIndie as well!
There’s a lot of expensive software out there promising to help you be a better everything. There’s also a lot of open source software that is low cost or free. There are some really great tools out there that are worth every cent as well! At this time:
- Manuskript – an open source alternative to other novel building software, Manuskript still gives you the ability to write in a distraction free word processor, manage outlines, and uses Snowflake Method for building a novel.
- Novel Factory – Free 30 day trial, then a few $$ subscription options. I do not personally use them. Their trial is not an auto-renewal – it will simply stop working and require you to export a file containing your work. How polite! It uses the 3-Act hero’s journey method for novel building. I personally scrapped the piece I outlined in it because I didn’t want to use that structure for the story, but I think it would be fine for anyone that would want to try it.
- oStoryBook – another free open source alternative, this one has a bit more of an old school feel. Running on desktop, this one gives you the feel of using Windows 98 while keeping everything well organized. Ideal for a crowd that longs for that retro vibe.
- Typely – a free open source alternative to Grammarly and only checks for spelling and a few other cases. They are not a full proofreading software because their goal is to only draw attention to mistakes that are absolutely mistakes. The biggest downside is that there is a limit of 50,000 characters being checked at a time.
I am currently in the process of researching indie book agents, marketing specialists, and book promoters. I AM NOT PAID FOR REFERRALS. At this time, I recommend reaching out to:
- Alexander Tomov – They create video book trailers for marketing purposes.
- Indie Book Scene – A newly started group focused on promoting indie authors. While they are currently Twitter only, they are encouraging DMs from indie authors so they can best understand the marketing needs of the community.
- Promo Masq – A Twitter indie book promotor I have had great interactions with as a reviewer looking for indie book recommendations. They will promote your book and will respond promptly to questions from reviewers.
- Fantasy & Coffee – Consider contacting for design of marketing materials
- A New Excellence – Marketing materials and information. I don’t have much information, so please provide feedback if you have any!
- As You Wish Media – Social Media Consulting and additional resources. I have no feedback regarding them yet, so please let me know if you have any!
- Green Cat Books – used by @BettyVStuff
- Chandra Press, LLC – used by @AnyaPavelle
- Creative James Media – used by @AlaineGreyson
- Tiny Fox Press
- Unnamed Press
- Tupelo Press
- Red Hen Press
- Autumn House Press
- Featherproof Books
- Proud Daughter LLC
- Gestalt Media
Self Publishing Platforms – Print (eBooks are included)
- Blurb – one of the most expensive options; great for photo books, portfolios, and art projects. Integrated with Kickstarter for funding and marketing. Offerings include marketing, sales, and distribution tools for self-publishing. If you plan to run a big fundraiser and have a big budget idea, this may be a good way to go.
- Amazon – Their tools are built off of the old CreateSpace platform. I’ve seen the most mixed reviews here. The majority of indie books I’ve reviewed have been made using these tools and I have heard that it is work-intensive. That said, you have great access to a very large market and pre-ordering. Downside: you’re putting more money in Jeff Bezos’s pockets at the end of the day.
- Lulu – When I self-published my first book this is who I used. I did so under a different pen name, and no, you’ll never find me. I should say this was TEN YEARS AGO. I thought they did a decent job, but things may have changed. It looks like they still offer their marketing services, and have actually improved their offerings while making everything more reasonably priced.
- The Book Patch – This one requires you to upload a pre-formatted PDF and is, therefore, the most work-intensive. All of the other options previously mentioned have their own formatting tools you can use in the browser to do finishing touches, so this one might be a bit tricky unless you know what you’re doing.
- Book Baby – If you love this one, you really love this one. I’ve heard some really glowing reviews from a couple of loyal fans and nothing else. If you have an opinion, I’d love to hear it. It looks like they offer to proofread, putting them up with Blurb and Lulu for all-inclusive author packages.
- Blot – Designed primarily for UK customers, Blot offers formatting assistance and products for both indie publishers and self publishers. They do have good reviews and seem worth checking out.
- As You Wish Media
- Writer’s Republic – “Writers Republic is a venue for amateur and experienced authors to showcase their literary flair through self-publishing, with our core group lending support throughout the publishing and marketing process.” Taken directly from their FAQ page, they’re a different approach to “self-publishing”. I may move them to the Indie Publisher category even though they’re a self publishing platform, but they’re here for now. Please send me feedback if you have any!
- IngramSpark – Primarily a printer and distributor for ebooks and print media IngramSpark will help ensure that books are available to a wide audience.
- Fulton Books – Recommended by an indie author. They advertise themselves as “…an affordable, high-quality and scalable solution for getting your book professionally published. We offer a unique partnership with authors wherein we assist you with publishing your book. Partner with Fulton Books and sell your book at major retailers such as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Google Play.”
Keep in mind, for each of these self-publishers, once they start talking about “all-inclusive author packages” everything starts adding up really fast. Consider supporting other members of your indie community first.
- Paula Richey – Cover art is highly diverse; Dynamic ability; see portfolio
- Skye Kelrose – Fantasy/Science Fiction; Dynamic ability; see portfolio
- Triumph Covers – Both pre-made and custom book covers by Diana TC
- Deranged Doctor Designs – Recommended by Indie Book Scene – this recommendation comes with the warning that patience may be needed.
- Fantasy and Coffee Designs – A great variety of options – their portfolio provides examples of more than cover art
- Violeta – Recommended. I have seen their work for paperback previously and do like it.
- As You Wish Media – Fairly unfamiliar with their work – they also offer self publishing. Please provide feedback.
- Fay Lane – Graphic Design and Book Covers – very attractive covers that would work well for both hardback dust jackets and paperbacks.
- Brittany Green – Please inquire directly. She has recently started designing cover art after doing so for her own books. Examples are viewable in her pinned tweet here.
- Eliott Griffin – Their work comes highly recommended if you want the interior of your print books to look beautiful. They will also do eBook formatting.
Proofreaders / Copy Editors
- Victoria A Wilder – $0.02 – 0.05/word with a 7-14 day turnaround time depending on the amount of assistance you need
- Brittany Green – Please inquire via her website regarding prices. She’s an experienced proofreader that has worked for literary magazines and indie publications.
- Vicky Brewster – Please follow instructions on website regarding sample submissions
- MK Editing – See Website
- Jennifer K Davies – Can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org – provides copy editing and proofreading services, beta reading services and transcribing services. I have used her services and personally recommend!
I highly recommend this kind of editor if you are stuck or need help looking for plot holes or inconsistencies.
- Victoria A Wilder – $0.08 – 0.10/word with a return time dependent upon project.
- Vicky Brewster – Please follow instructions on website regarding sample submissions.
- MK Editing – See Website
Finding beta readers can be tricky and scary. I’ve read the stories about books being stolen and “scooping”. I’m working on developing this section. The biggest thing is trust. If you pay someone, make sure there is a written contract that is legally binding. Be aware that some states (like California) have specific laws around confidentiality agreements. The benefit of going through an agency is that they will have experience writing and working with the appropriate contractual agreements. Will update with more information on agencies soon.
General Writing Support
General writing support includes custom-designed writers’ block exercises, development of project milestone timelines, fact-checking, project-specific developmental editing, intensive cooperative editing, scientific and historical accuracy research.
General writing support does NOT include prewritten reviews for a book’s release, agent-style review solicitation, agent-style representation, or full ghostwriting.
- Lo Potter – Please e-mail me a brief (100 – 1000 words) description of your project and what your budget and timeline is for assistance. We’ll go from there. If I don’t think I will have time to assist on your desired timeline, or I believe someone else on this list is a better fit for your needs, I will refer you to them immediately. As a note, I accept projects as a last resort and refer to others within the indie writing community first, particularly right now while I am behind on reviews.
- MK Editing – One on One Coaching Available – See Website for Details
- Caleb Jordan Schulz – Darkly whimsical creatures; Life-like Portraits
- Moses Cirulis – Reminiscent of Early Disney and fully of whimsy; Adventure Time meets Dresden Codak
- James Stevens – They don’t have a website yet, but you can contact them via Twitter and you can see an example of their work here.
- Jodi Rath – A unique cartooning style sure to bring a flare and energy to a piece.
- Paula Richey – Very strong magic feel; Child-friendly; Great fairytale and legend vibe.
- Mireia Morante – Great color; Child-friendly; Bright colors; Lacks dark outlines and uses a watercolor-esque/blended marker style fill.
- Skye Kelrose – Comic style; Computer art. Dramatic images.
- Dave Simon – Offers a wide variety of styles. Children’s Lit. Friendly
- Paula Edith – Offers a wide variety of styles. Children’s Lit. Friendly. Educational Material Friendly. Dynamic and Adaptable.
Ghostwriters are unsung heroes of the literary world, particularly autobiographies and memoirs. That said, they have their place in fiction as well. There is no shame in considering a ghostwriter. Do your research and if hiring one is the best choice for you, consider contacting one for a consultation.
- Victoria A Wilder – request a consultation via website
Are you an indie publisher? Do you offer one of the services mentioned above, but don’t see yourself mentioned? Let me know! Please send me an e-mail at email@example.com and I would love to include you on this list
Financial Disclosure: I am 100% transparent about financials. If any link in these resources provides me with a financial benefit to help with the costs of running this website, you will see AFFILIATE LINK next to that resource. If you don’t see that text next to the link, then I receive no financial benefit for the referral. The only benefit I get is the vague knowledge that these resources mean I get more books to review. Eventually.
A Quick Note on Cost of Services
Please do not ask anyone to do work for free. If they offer to do work for you at no cost, it’s a completely different story. Creative professionals are constantly undervalued. If you would like to have a financial break down of the quote provided for clarity, almost everyone is happy to provide that information. Be respectful when you are asking for quotes and remember that it can sometimes take up to 14 business days to receive a response to an inquiry.
Do you have personal experience with any of the resources mentioned? Think I should remove them because they were TERRIBLE? Think I should add one that’s missing because they were AMAZING? Please let me know! I have no personal incentives for keeping any particular resource available. I only ask that you are polite about it – send me an e-mail and let me know 🙂