Writing and Publishing Resources for Independent Authors

writing-and-publishing-resources
While I share a lot of my own experience and advice in writing and publishing articles, I thought it was time to highlight some of the many writing and publishing resources that I turn to for information and inspiration. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will certainly get you started on your author journey!

Books

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – Hands down the best writing craft book I’ve ever read. The first part is King’s life in writing. The second is full of great tips.

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler – My second favorite craft book. It breaks down Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey for fiction authors.

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee – Top of my own craft TBR. I’ve heard this has great insights for fiction writers, too.

Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant – Covers writing craft, editing, and the basics of independent publishing all in one clear, actionable guide.

Business for Authors: How to Be an Author Entrepreneur by Joanna Penn – A comprehensive book for those who have writing craft down and are ready to focus on the business and marketing sides of being an author.


Blogs

The Creative Penn – Joanna Penn shares great insights from her own author journey, as well as guest posts and podcast episodes that address all stages of writing and publishing. (Since I mention her podcast here, it’s not in my list below … but it’s definitely a must-listen for indie authors!)

Jane Friedman’s blog – A huge catalog of resources for both traditionally and independently published writers.

Dean Wesley Smith’s blog – Lots of practical, straight-forward advice, plus real experiences from an author whos written literally millions of words.

Goins Writer – More on the inspirational and craft side of the spectrum, Jeff Goins’ posts offer encouragement and beginner-/intermediate-level advice.

The Way Finder – Indie author legend Hugh Howey mixes writing tips with current events and personal musings. This one is my favorite writing post I’ve ever read.


Podcasts

The Smarter Artist – In (almost) daily, 10-minute-or-less episodes, the Sterling & Stone crew (aka Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, & David Wright) give fantastic craft tips.

Story Shop – Another Sterling & Stone great. This is a limited series where the guys share their writing process from brainstorming to drafting to editing.

The Petal to the Medal – My most recent podcast discovery. Veteran full-time author Rachael Herron and soon-to-be (as of July 2017) full-time author J. Thorn discuss quitting the day job, writing strategies, time management, inspiration and more.

Sell More Books Show – A weekly independent publishing news round-up and marketing tips, hosted by entrepreneurship guru Jim Kukral and author Bryan Cohen.

Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast – Simon Whistler’s weekly interview show introduced me to independent publishing and taught me the ropes.


What are your favorite writing/publishing books, blogs, and podcasts? Share your resources in the comments (with links, please!). And yes, feel free to promote your own work!

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Kate M. Colby is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. When she is not writing or working, Kate enjoys playing video games, antiquing, and wine tasting. She lives in the United States with her husband and furry children.

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Posted in Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles, Writing Craft & Tips
12 comments on “Writing and Publishing Resources for Independent Authors
  1. ofopinions says:

    Very useful! I actually find the For Dummies series very helpful. I’ve read several of them, including a couple on writing, and they are good for beginners.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Margarita Morris says:

    Some excellent recommendations here. I would also definitely include The Self Publishing Formula podcast with Mark Dawson and James Blatch.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. zippywings says:

    I’ve been collecting and studying books on writing for years (I do it now just to refresh my brain, as I learn a lot of repeat information these days, and it’s good to be reminded of what I need to do to improve or get motivated), and one of these days I’ll get around to putting together my books on writing review series, which I hope will help focus aspiring writers into getting the best education early in their careers. But, here, in my opinion, are the standouts from recent years, especially if you’re into genre fiction, though any fiction still applies:

    Pretty much everything on your list, plus:

    Story Engineering, Story Physics, and Story Fix by Larry Brooks

    This trilogy on story structure is a foundational must for anyone who wants to understand what holds a story together, and what happens if the story goes too far off its rails. The appeal this series has over any other is that Brooks doesn’t mess around with language. He gets to the point and makes it VERY easy to understand. The last book in the trilogy, Story Fix, is the least important of the three as, even though it’s about revision, it covers much of what the first two cover, and serves really as diagnostic tool to see if you remembered everything you learned previously. It’s the “plotter” bible. Even if you’re a “pantser,” it’s still recommended reading.

    Hooked by Les Edgerton

    This book is getting a bit older now, and might be more difficult to find than the previously mentioned series, but it’s still a must for anyone who struggles with how to open a novel. It basically makes the opening hook seem easy to master. One of my favorites. And it’s funny.

    The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne

    There are many, many books about how to WRITE, and some about how to PROOFREAD, but hardly any about how to developmentally EDIT. But this book is exactly about that. The author is a veteran New York editor who decided that it was time to share his secrets with the world before the art of editing gets lost. It’s more complicated than the other books, and might take some extra time to really grasp, but if you spend enough time really learning it, it’ll show you how to identify genre, how to identify whether your story addresses all of the expected conditions, whether your scenes turn the right way, etc. It’s an expensive book compared to most, but highly valuable, and his blog and podcast, both of which can be found at his http://www.storygrid.com website, iterate, reiterate, and supplement the information he writes about. It’s my happy discovery of 2016 (even though the blog’s been around since 2014 and the book since 2015). Note that the book focuses on the thriller genre, but the blog, podcast, and forums attempt to tackle other genres, and the principles established in the book apply to anything.

    Writing a Fiction Series: The Complete Guide for Novels and Novellas by Karen S. Wiesner

    Like the above examples, this book is somewhat of an outlier to traditional fiction books in that it goes for the topic that most books shun, this case the fiction series. Although I wouldn’t call it compelling reading in the way that I might classify the others, it is nevertheless a valuable resource for anyone who wants to figure out how to structure a series effectively. Even if you’ve already written some of the books in your series, there’s probably something to gain by reading this.

    This is not to mention the numerous books on micro elements like character, setting, emotional hooks, etc, many of which are well covered by smart people who know their stuff, but I think it’s important to know our foundations and structures before we can really master our aesthetics, and these books are excellent resources for getting writers back on track (or teaching them how to get on track in the first place).

    Anyway, I will be putting together that writing book review series one of these days. The only reason I haven’t started it is because my memory is awful, and I’d have to reread most of these books again to remember why I liked them so much. :p But I will. Hopefully soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Once you’re ready to publish, the kboards writers’ cafe is an absolutely essential resource.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Becky B says:

    Reblogged this on Turn the page and commented:
    A great collection for the aspiring (or veteran) indie author!

    I will add in Ursula K. Le Guin’s “A Wave in the Mind.” The whole book is delightful, yet if you’re looking for inspiration and insight into the writing process, you will definitely find such gems here.

    Liked by 1 person

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