Resources for Indie Authors

I’ve put together a list of some fantastic resources for indie authors to help with writing, marketing, and publishing. If there’s anything you think is missing, let me know.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase using this link, I’ll receive a tiny percentage of the sale. I have not included anything on this page that I don’t personally use or recommend.

Software

You don’t need much to write your book (just a word processor and something to write it on), but here are a few programs you may want to consider. These aren’t free, but in my opinion they’re worth spending the money to get. Many have free trials, so make sure you check those out if you’re on the fence.

Microsoft 365

Arguably, this isn’t a software but a suite of services that includes software. The subscription includes Microsoft Word which I use everyday, along with Excel and Powerpoint. Most notably for me, it includes OneDrive with 1TB of storage. I use OneDrive for everything. It’s a fantastic cloud storage option.

Scrivener

This program is a word processor, but it’s also so much more. I’ve been using Scrivener since Scrivener 1 came out and I’m still learning new things about it. There is a bit of a learning curve to figure everything out, but once you do, you’ll never look back. The only downside in my opinion is that there isn’t a way to use it with your editor.

Scapple

Made by the same company that makes Scrivener (Literature and Latte), this program is essentially a mind mapping program for authors. It’s simple to use and a lot of fun. It doesn’t work for my personal method of planning (but I wish it did).

Plottr

This is another plotting tool. Unlike Scapple, it’s a little more structured. It comes with many templates to work from and even has an app. Every author I’ve mentioned this too has ended up loving it.

Publisher Rocket (AKA KDP Rocket)

This software is geared toward the publishing side of things. It might be easy to throw up some random keywords when you’re uploading your manuscript and hope for the best, but this software will help you choose keywords that work for your book and will help you to rank higher on Amazon.

Grammar

I wanted to include these grammar checkers separately. Each of these is very similar. All of them have a few issues in terms of things they’re most likely to miss and you’ll likely find one with an interface you prefer. Any of these are helpful tools to improve your grammar and stylistic choices.

ProWritingAid

You can use this as a browser extension or a plugin for Word or Scrivener, but you can also use it right in your browser or as a separate program. There are 20 different reports you can run to see how your writing is measuring up.

Grammarly

Very similar to ProWritingAid, you can use this as a browser extension, within your browser, as a Word plugin, or a downloadable program. It checks for grammar and spelling but also tone and style.

Hemingway App

This one is a little different to the options above though it does check for many of the same things. Right now, there is a browser option and a newly released desktop app.

Websites

There are so many websites I could list here, so you know that any website that made it to this list has to be amazing. These are a mix of writing, publishing, and marketing websites that will help you on your writing and publishing journey.

4thewords

This website is great to get you writing regularly. You’ll battle little monsters to reach your word count and can join a community of likeminded authors. It’s a lot of fun.

One Stop for Writers

This website is an interactive version of one of my favorite book series (the first book in the series is linked in the book section below). At it’s most basic, it’ll help you enrich your writing by giving you new ways to talk about emotions. Dive a little deeper and you’ll find some amazing character development tools.

Canva

For creating promo images, you really can’t go past this tool. The free version is plenty to get you started and there are hundreds of templates for all social media platforms.

Book Brush

This website is designed specifically for authors. You can make some gorgeous cover reveals and slot your cover into a range of templates to give a slightly more polished look than Canva.

Book Funnel

This website allows you to distribute books directly to your readers in whichever format you choose. You can also use it to grow your mailing list.

Draft2Digital

If you want to release your book wide, this is a great option. You’ll be able to publish to all the available platforms at once without messing with all those logins (perfect for those who are constantly losing passwords).

Podcasts

I love podcasts. It’s great to be able to listen to words of wisdom while I’m doing some chores, walking the dog, or driving somewhere. Here are a few of my favorites that deal with publishing.

The Creative Penn

This podcast has been going on for at least 11 years. It’s hosted by Joanna Penn and includes a fantastic weekly round up of news in the publishing world, a new guest each week, and futurist updates to stay ahead of trends. There are also nearly 700 episodes for you to catch up on.

Self Publishing Show

Hosted by Mark Dawson and James Blatch, this podcast discusses all aspects of publishing with a special guest each week and a quarterly book lab. Even if you listen to nothing else, the quarterly book lab episodes are amazing.

Next Level Authors

Hosted by Sacha Black and Daniel Willcocks, this podcast is all about celebrating the wins. They’ll definitely make you laugh. They don’t often have special guests, instead they focus discussion on a single question each week.

Six Figure Authors

This podcast is no longer filming new episodes (the last episode was in 2022). However, there is so much fantastic information shared by the hosts that it’s well worth going back and checking out some episodes. The hosts are Lindsay Buroker, Joe Lallo, and Andrea Pearson.

Books

I had to save the best for last. While I have a lot of writing books, these are the ones I find myself coming back to the most or recommending the most. They cover a mixture of topics so look out for the tags telling you what they’re about/who they’re best for.

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

There is a fantastic online version, but if you prefer something solid, this is the one for you (at least if you’re writing American English).

Companion
Grammar and Punctuation
Elements of Style - Strunk and White

This style book will give you a great basis without being as hefty as the Chicago Manual of Style. This is a must have for all authors in my opinion.

Beginner Friendly
Grammar and Punctuation
Outlining Your Novel - K.M. Weiland

This book is a fantastic resource for learning how to outline your novel.

Beginner Friendly
Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
Structuring Your Novel - K.M. Weiland

If you’ve got a good grasp of novel structure but want to dive in a little deeper, this book is for you.

Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
Creating Character Arcs - K.M. Weiland

If you’ve got a good grasp of novel structure but want to dive in a little deeper, this book is for you.

Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
Characters
The Emotion Thesaurus - Becca Puglisi

Will help you to incorporate emotions into your story more naturally.

Companion
The Negative Trait Thesaurus - Becca Puglisi

Will help you add depth to their character by charting negative traits throughout their life.

Companion
The Positive Trait Thesaurus - Becca Puglisi

Will help you add depth to their character by charting positive traits throughout their life.

Companion
The Emotional Wound Thesaurus - Becca Puglisi

By taking a look at your character’s emotional wounds, you can chart which negative and positive traits they have and how they manifest.

Companion
The Conflict Thesaurus - Becca Puglisi

Use this book to see where conflict could crop up in your work and how it may be reacted to.

Companion
Seven Basic Plots - Christopher Booker

This book is a beast. Seriously, it’s thicker than some epic fantasy books I own. This is the kind of thing you’ll be reading for months.

Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
Story Engineering - Larry Brooks

You’ll see a few Larry Brooks books around the place. This is one of my favorites so I had to include it here.

Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
Story Structure Architect - Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Another fantastic book about novel structure. It’s not particularly beginner friendly, but well worth the effort.

Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
Story Genius - Lisa Cron

This one is a little on the advanced side but I recommend it so often because it has amazing information in it.

Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
Wonderbook - Jeff VanderMeer

This is the illustrated guide to writing sci-fi and fantasy that you didn’t know you needed. It’s gorgeous and perfect if you love a visual aid with your information.

Craft of Writing
Fantasy and sci-fi
Novel Structure
The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction - Philip Athans

This book looks at some of the things unique to science fiction and fantasy books. It’s a must have for all the worldbuilders reading this.

Craft of Writing
Fantasy and sci-fi
Novel Structure
Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction - Orson Scott Card, Philip Athans, and Jay Lake

I loved this book so much I bought it twice (okay, I do love this book but buying a second copy was an accident). This book will give you all the worldbuilding ideas you need.

Craft of Writing
Fantasy and sci-fi
Novel Structure
Writing Monsters - Philip Athans

Are you writing monsters and need some tips? This is the perfect book for you.

Craft of Writing
Fantasy and sci-fi
Novel Structure
The Emotional Craft of Fiction - Donald Maass

I picked this book up on a whim, and I’m so glad I did.

Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
Wired for Story - Lisa Cron

This one is a little on the advanced side but I recommend it so often because it has amazing information in it.

Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
How to Write Dazzling Dialogue - James Scott Bell

Pick up any James Scott Bell book and you’ll get some awesome tips, but I wanted to include a book dedicated to dialogue. It’s such a tricky skill to master and Bell does an excellent job of explaining with plenty of examples.

Beginner Friendly
Craft of Writing
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel - Jessica Brody

You’ll see some mixed thoughts on this one among editors, but I think it’s a great starting point to get you thinking about story structure.

Beginner Friendly
Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
Romancing the Beat - Gwen Hayes

A must have for all the romance writers out there. It’s a very short read but packed full of useful information about structuring romance.

Beginner Friendly
Craft of Writing
Novel Structure
Romance
Naughty Words for Nice Writers - Cara Bristol

A thesaurus of words for romance authors. Need I say more.

Companion
Romance
8 Steps to Side Characters - Sacha Black

It’s easy to forget about your side characters, but fear not, Sacha Black has you covered.

Craft of Writing
Characters
Dear Writer, Are You In Burnout? - Becca Syme

A lot of Becca’s work surrounds the Clifton strengths. It’s a fascinating subject and I highly recommend all of her books as well as her Facebook group, podcast, and YouTube channel.

Beginner Friendly
Publishing
5,000 Words Per Hour - Chris Fox

You’ll see some mixed thoughts on this one among editors, but I think it’s a great starting point to get you thinking about story structure.

Beginner Friendly
Publishing
Let’s Get Digital - David Gaughran

This is a great introduction to self-publishing for any author.

Beginner Friendly
Publishing
Newsletter Ninja - Tammy Labrecque

Whether you’re just starting out with a newsletter or looking to grow, this book has lots of tips for you (check out its sequel below).

Beginner Friendly
Marketing
Newsletter Ninja 2 - Tammy Labrecque

This sequel offers just as much information as the first book does. If you haven’t read the first book, go back and read that first.

Marketing
The Successful Author Mindset - Joanna Penn

This is just one book in an entire series of non-fiction books from Joanna Penn. They’re all fantastic, but I wanted to include this as it’s an often overlooked area.

Beginner Friendly
Publishing
The Relaxed Author - Joanna Penn

This is just one book in an entire series of non-fiction books from Joanna Penn. This is the most recent release in the series and takes a different approach to publishing. It’s a refreshing viewpoint.

Beginner Friendly
Publishing