Favorite Links

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When I talk to other writers, we’ll often end up talking about an article I’ve read on one of my favorite websites, what software I use, or something else to do with self-publishing. Those conversations sometimes end up with me scribbling an website address on a napkin or scrap of paper. To avoid that, here is a compilation of some of my favorite (mostly) writing related links:

Writers Daily

The Passive Voice:  My favorite writing website, with a number of linked articles daily about authors, self-publishing, and traditional publishing.

Writer’s Cafe @ KBoards:  A message board primarily focused on issues important to indie authors. If you’re self-publishing, or thinking about it, this is may be your single best resource for topic-specific discussion.  I’d suggest you scan the Cafe at least daily for new subjects.

AbsoluteWrite:  Another discussion forum, similar to Writer’s Cafe.

Writing Blogs

David Gaurghran:  If you are thinking about signing up with Author Solutions, Author House, or any of their subsidiaries, please do yourself a big favor and search through David’s website.

HughHowey:  Successful indie author of the highly acclaimed Wool, and thoughtful commentator on many key self-publishing issues.  If you’re a writer hoping to understand your industry, you should see what Hugh has to say.

Joe Konrath:  A formerly traditionally published author that converted to self-publishing, and documented the transition in a very insightful series of blog posts.  Go back to at least 2010, and you’ll pick up a wealth of knowledge you’ll need as an indie writer.

Writer Resources

Amazon – Kindle Direct Publishing Login:  Whether you’re creating a new account, or logging into an existing account, this is where it all starts.

Apple iTunes Connect:  Publishing on iBooks?  This is the place.

AuthorEarnings:  The single best source of information about author earnings and sales I’ve found. If you’re an author, trying to run the business side of your writing career without this kind of data, you’re flying blind. And if you have a better, more comprehensive source of public data on the subject, please share…

Author EMS:  I’ve linked to the self-publishing part of their library, which contains a vast collection of subject-specific information.  Need to learn about ISBN numbers or Copyrights?  Go here.

TheBookDesigner:  Linked to the section about book cover design (although there is good information on the rest of the site too).  Whether you’re an author hoping to design and create your own book cover (don’t!), or hiring someone else to do it, this site will give you a start on what you need to know.

Createspace:  Part of Amazon, for creating a paperback copy of your indie book.

Draft2Digital:  Upload your indie book in Word (or other) format, and D2D will publish your ebook in many popular formats. I have not used them, but I think they’d be a good fit for a writer who chooses wide distribution, and is intimidate by the thought up uploading to many vendors. No upfront costs.

Kobo Writing Life:  Self-publish with Kobo.

Left Bank Books (StL):  Part of the traditional publishing industry, and won’t carry anything from “the devil” (Amazon – their words, not mine), limited selection, and generally overpriced. But because of the friendly and knowledgeable people that work there, if I crave a bookstore experience, it’s Left Bank for me.

Nook Press:  Publish on Barnes & Noble’s (?) Nook.

Software

Aeon Timeline:  For creating a timeline of the overall story, character arcs, and subplots of your story. Timeline gives you the ability to create a one page overview of your book. It’s been very helpful for me.

Amazon:  For books, they have better prices and better selection than anyone. It’s where I buy my books.

Grammarly:  Can’t afford an editor? Run your story through Grammarly software online, and it will review your work for grammar, spelling, and vocabulary errors. And no, I haven’t run this page through their software, so don’t blame them!

Kindle Reading App (Free):  Download the free app and read from your computer, tablet, or phone.

Scrivener:  My favorite writing software by far. Can you write your book another way? Sure. But if you’re serious about writing, you owe it to yourself to check out Scrivener. They typically offer a 30-day free trial, and there are free videos everywhere to teach you how to use it correctly. I read on KBoards that they will sell it for $32 using the Coupon Code “WORDSWITHJAM”.  They also offer a bigger discount to NaNoWriMo winners. Here’s a discussion from KBoards talking about what people like and dislike about Scrivener.

WordPress.org:  This website was built using WordPress.org.  It’s still a work in progress, but it wasn’t particularly difficult.  I chose HostGator to host the site for a small fee. Here is one of many YouTube videos that will show you how to do it. For those less computer savvy, you may opt for WordPress.com instead.

Books For Writers

On Writing – Stephen King:  You want to improve your writing?  If I could recommend only one book, this would be it.  I love when he writes about the difference between people that “like the idea of being a writer,” vs. people that will actually do the work.  “Read a lot, write a lot,” and start here.

Immediate Fiction – Jerry Cleaver:  Many self-publishing guides start off by saying, “Write a good book,” as if that was the easy part, and then everything that comes after.  Cleaver’s book will help you write the good story in the first place.

Shameless Plug – Michael Griffith:  Okay, I don’t even have a title for it (No, it won’t be “Shameless Plug”), but my upcoming book will certainly be a classic for indie authors 🙂

Articles and Video

Cheat Sheets For Writing Body Language: Published by WritersWrite.co.za as one of their Top 40 Articles of 2014.

TED Talk/Sir Ken Robinson:  A case for how our current education system stifles creativity, rather than encourages it.  If you’re a parent and/or a writer, this is fifteen minutes you should spend.