The internet provides an overabundance of information — good, bad, and utterly useless — on just about every topic, and publishing advice is no exception. There are endless options for successful publishing, and the best strategies are often unique to each author’s needs and desires. As a publishing consultant, I frequently find myself trying to help authors find out what they need and want before I can give them what they really came for — recommendations.
So in the interest of helping you save some time, here are a few of my most recommended resources.
First and foremost, check out the St. Louis Publishers Association’s website, blog, and social media (stlouispublishers.org). Every month, we host informative and helpful speakers who provide their expertise and answers to our attending members. Additionally, we make useful posts on our blog and social media sites and feature educational and illustrative articles in our monthly newsletter (stlouispublishers.org/monthly_newsletters) as well as our Resources page (stlouispublishers.org/page-1263724).
If you know you want to write a book but haven’t started yet, check out Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow’s “7 Action Items to Take Before You Begin Writing Your Book” at book1blog.com/2014/03/7-action-items-to-take-before-you-begin-writing-your-book.html.
If you’re looking for inspiration, like a writing prompt, or just some new words to learn and use, simply Google “word of the day” to find one of the countless webpages dedicated to that; also, check out the Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompts (writersdigest.com/prompts), ThinkWritten: 365 Creative Writing Prompts (thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts), and Storymatic (thestorymatic.com). (The first two are free, the last one is not.)
And if you want some tips to improve your writing, see Elmore Leonard’s, “10 Rules for Good Writing” (writingclasses.com/toolbox/tips-masters/elmore-leonard-10-rules-for-good-writing) and Johnny Lists’s, “12 Useful Websites to Improve Your Writing” (johnnylists.com/12-useful-websites-to-improve-your-writing).
Four of the most important resources I can recommend are Judith “The Book Shepherd” Briles (thebookshepherd.com), who has a very useful blog, many helpful books, and also hosts a free teleconference every Monday at 11am Central to answer questions from authors; Jane Freidman’s Key Book Publishing Paths chart (janefriedman.com/key-book-publishing-path); Kimberly Rae’s Write with Purpose article “Finished a New Book? The 10-Step Process from ‘Done’ to ‘Published’” (kimberlyraewriting.blogspot.com/2013/08/finished-new-book-10-step-process-from.html); and Noah Lukeman’s Ask a Literary Agent (askaliteraryagent.blogspot.com). Unfortunately, Ask a Literary Agent hasn’t been updated since 2014 and therefore is at risk of becoming a little more outdated every day, but things aren’t changing so fast that the advice is even close to bad yet. (And on a side note, Judith Briles will be speaking for the SLPA in a special workshop on July 22!)
About publishing books and uploading files through Amazon / CreateSpace / Kindle Direct, the most direct source of how-to information is Amazon’s own Kindle Direct Publishing help knowledge base at kdp.amazon.com/help.
Head over to Shawn Manaher’s Book Marketing Tools website at bookmarketingtools.com/free-checklist-guide and download the handy (and free) 20-page guide “The Ultimate Author Checklist for Online Book Marketing.” Also check out BookBub’s “Ultimate Collection of Book Marketing Examples” (insights.bookbub.com/download-the-ultimate-collection-of-book-marketing-examples), Tim Grahl’s “Book Marketing: The Definitive Checklist” (booklaunch.com/book-marketing-checklist), the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (smashwords.com/books/view/305), and Phil Bolsta’s nearly endless “How to Promote Your Book Like a Pro!” blog post (bolstablog.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/promote-your-book). All of these marketing resources are free. If you’re looking for something to spend money on, Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book is one of the most widely recommended books in the industry.
And finally, a shameless plug: I strongly encourage authors to ask questions on my blog at Editwright.com, where I do my best to be a useful resource for authors and will happily answer any questions I can.
Andrew Doty is the Editorial Director of the St. Louis Publishers Association, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of punctum books, the owner of Editwright, and a freelance developmental editor and publishing consultant.