There are so many books out there that tell you ‘how to write’. I’ve not read them all, but I have read a few and I’ve found some of them to have useful information but none of them to have the answer to everything. (I haven’t read ‘Save the Cat’ and I’m aware some people swear by it, so maybe it does have the answer to everything!)
These are the books I found most useful:
- ‘You can write a novel’ by James V Smith
- ‘The Writer’s Journey’ by Christopher Vogler
- ‘Scene and structure’ by James M Bickham
- ‘First draft in 30 days’ by Karen S Wiesner
- ‘The Emotion Thesaurus’ by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi and others in the series
- Editing Fiction at Sentence Level by Louse Harnby
There is a vast amount of information on the internet. As with books, some of it is useful and some should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Here are those I find myself visiting again and again:
- Jericho Writers – lots of articles about writing and publishing. Check out ‘library’. Also offers an editing service.
- The Creative Penn – lots of articles and resources.
- The History Quill – resources for historical fiction writers. They also provide an editing service.
- KM Weiland’s site – and awesome site. Check out her many books about the craft of writing too.
- The Book Designer – lots of useful articles about cover and internal design
- Book cover design – useful site with examples
- Reedsy – lots of courses, access to people providing services, agents, and you can even typeset your novel with their book editor tool and convert to mobi, epub and pdf.
- DIY Book Covers – free templates and tutorials, or you can pay and get more templates. Photoshop templates ‘coming soon’.
- Top free and paid book promotion sites – this is a blog article from Kindlepreneur (mentioned below). Sign up to get emails from Kindlepreneur and you can access some very useful resources on the VIP page.
It’s amazing all the technical stuff you have to learn. Fortunately the Internet is there to help you. These are some of the websites I use:
- Canva – for book cover design and social media images. Awesome!
- Bookow – very useful site for getting a book cover template when Amazon’s isn’t working. Also has an ISBN hyphenator.
- Publishwide free tools – I use the Amazon bookblurb preview tool.
- Kindlepreneur.com – Another site for checking your book description on Amazon.
- Tinypng – for reducing the size of images before uploading to your website – improves loading time.
- Booklinker – for getting a short link to your Amazon books. Should direct people in other countries to their local Amazon. Others are available.
- QR code generator – to generate a qr code for your books. It’s supposed to output a transparent png but I couldn’t get it to do that, so I used the next website:
- pngtools – makes any png transparent.
- Convert e-pub to pdf – there are several websites that do this. This one worked.
- Bookfunnel – for delivering reader magnets (paid subscription).
- Bookbrush – for making social media images for your books. There’s a limited free version.
- Mailchimp – one of many newsletter delivery services. Mailerlite is another option. Both have free versions. Mailerlite has support for the free version. Mailchimp doesn’t.
- Fiverr – for various writing related services – book marketing, cover design, book trailers, etc.
- Trello – for organising your writing life.
- BKLink – for universal links and finding out categories of books (US, UK and Canada)
- Nerdybookgirl – another site for finding out catagories of books (US only at the moment)
- grammica.com – proofreading, paraphrasing, grammar checking online – small blocks of text only. I didn’t find it that useful but some people might.
- Readerscout – get notifications of new reviews/ratings and priced changes for your books (up to 5) A chrome extension.
Podcasts, YouTube and blogs
Again, there are so many out there, and so I’ll be adding to this section. Some of the websites above also have podcasts, eg The Creative Penn, KM Weiland
- K M Weiland’s channel complements the website (above)
- Bethany Atazadeh‘s channel has lots of great writing tips
- Kindlepreneur – from the maker of Publisher Rocket – lots of stuff about publishing with Amazon
- Self publishing with Dale – reviews and information, entertaining and informative.
- Derek Murphy from Creativeindie – idiosyncratic!
- The Book Marketing Show (podcast) – from Kindlepreneur but hosts articles by some of the big names in the self-publishing world
- MS word, part of MS office – this is what I use for text. Expensive
- MS Onenote – I use this to organise notes and research. Free but included with MS office.
- Adobe Photoshop – this is what I use for cover art. Expensive. The full program is on a subscription service but you can still get Photoshop Elements as a stand-alone program. Less expensive.
- Adobe Premier Elements – this is what I use for video editing. A stand-alone program. The full pro program is a subscription service.
- Scrivener – I’ve used this in the past. Looks useful. £47
- Plottr – software for planning a novel. I haven’t tried it myself but have read some good reviews. $25
- Wonderdraft – for making fantasy maps. $29.99
- Calibre – for reading e-pub files and converting docx files to e-pub. Free
- Kindle previewer – what it says on the tin. Can be used to convert doc and docx files to mobi.
- Publisher Rocket – For finding the best categories and keywords for your book on Amazon. Saves a lot of time. $97