The journey from idea to publication is hard.
Here’s some help.
If you’re new to the writing and publishing world, first of all, welcome! Second of all…
…you might find yourself a little lost right about now.
That’s okay! Everyone starts somewhere, which is why I’ve compiled this list of indie author resources to help you get moving in the right direction.
And if you’re already a pro at this, I hope this list will help you find some more places and people to connect with.
I’m continually adding to it, so if you know of a great resource, feel free to hop over to my connect page and send me an email with the recommendation!
Commissioning an artist can make the writing process tons of fun! Whether you want an illustrated story, want character art for your social media or merch, or just want to stare at their smiling faces as you write, an artist can help you achieve that reality.
Be sure to check each artist’s terms for how they handle commercial use.
Susanna Fullerton @suzelfruz_draws
Custom character commissions—portrait, half, full, and chibi style, plus pet portraits. Discount for more than one character. Commissions open periodically.
Sarah Y. (@sketchbook face)
Bust, half, and full body portraits available, with or without background.
Nate Philbrick (@CaffeinateArt)
Single-character commissions for portrait or full illustration.
Thanks to their bite-sized, practical articles, blogs are fantastic places to pick up new tips and tricks!
Helping Writers Become Authors
Blog by K. M. Weiland, award-winning and internationally-published author of acclaimed writing guides, like Outlining Your Novel and Creating Character Arcs. Features over 1000 articles on the writing craft.
Blog that helps Christian writers enthrall readers with honest storytelling that depicts both beauty & brokenness
The Steve Laube Agency blog
Blog from acclaimed literacy agency featuring posts on the writing craft and the publishing world
The Young Writer blog
Articles from students and instructors in the Young Writers Workshop on the writing craft, writing lifestyle, and writing career
Getting a book into a beautiful, clean format can be a challenge with a steep learning curve! Here are some book formatters who can take that work off your hands.
Kairos Book Design
Also offers inexpensive critique to help you polish up interior formatting you’ve done yourself!
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” means nothing to the average reader. More than just attracting impulse buys (though it does that too!), a good cover helps readers anticipate what’s going to be inside the book.
Kairos Book Design
Also offers inexpensive critique to help you polish up a cover you’ve done yourself!
If there’s one single service any indie author should pay for, it’s editing! An editor can help you take your book far beyond where you could on your own. There are several different types of editing that provide very different services, so that’s how they’re broken down here.
Learn about the different types of editors and how to work with them, and get the chance to enter a giveaway for line edit, proofreading, and coaching services at the webinar Friday, December 1, at 7 PM Eastern. Register here!
This type of edit looks at the big picture, like character arcs, plot development, and overall pacing. I recommend looking for this sort of editor after you have completed several drafts, have incorporated beta reader feedback into your story, and are ready to get a deeper level of feedback.
Generally, a line edit focuses on scene pacing and paragraph-level edits to help the story flow better, while copy edits focus more on word choice, sentence-level edits, and a light proofread.
However, not all editors use the terminology exactly the same way, so I recommend checking each editor’s website to see how they break their services down.
R. M. Scheller (hey look, that’s me!)
This is for the final manuscripts after all other editing has been completed. It checks for grammar, spelling, etc.
From independent study courses to guided programs to one-on-one coaching, these resources can help you get started or level up your writing journey!
Author Adventure (Glory Writers)
An interactive, end all-be all education and community platform for the next great Christian writers. Ages 13+, excellent for both indie and traditional.
Coralie Terry Coaching
Private coaching for young writers on story structure, line-level craft, and career from a writer and educator
Sara Ella Mentorship
Personalized experience that includes one-on-one career coaching, writing encouragement, story brainstorming, and more
Self-Editing for Authors (Nadine Brandes)
Self-edit your first draft without overwhelm or endless rewrites: a 4-week guided course
The Young Writers Workshop
Helps young writers (13–25) achieve their goals and pursue their dreams, from as small as conquering writer’s block and finishing that chapter, to as big as signing your first book contract and building the foundation for an author career
From social media posts to book promo images to your website to DIY book projects, an indie author can greatly benefit from free graphic design tools.
Easy online graphic design tool. Has a free plan with many features for basic graphic design.
Free, open source Photoshop alternative. Has a learning curve, but can take you further than Canva can.
Medibang Paint Pro
Free digital art program. Has a learning curve, but can take you further than Canva can.
Free, royalty-free photos and high-quality videos. Large selection of photos, not as many art pieces/drawings/fantasy edits as Pixabay.
Free, royalty-free photos and art. Does contain user-submitted AI generated images, but you can filter them out.
Free, royalty-free photos. Large selection of photos, not as many art pieces/drawings/fantasy edits as Pixabay.
ISBNs are a unique identifier. If you independently publish, you need to purchase an ISBN.* Each format of your book needs a unique ISBN (e.g., hardcover, paperback, ebook). You can save a lot of money if you purchase many ISBNs at once.
*If you publish through Kindle Direct Publishing, they’ll assign a unique number specific to Amazon if you don’t have an ISBN. Though this is free, you retain more control by supplying your own ISBN instead.
United States—Bowker (This is the ONLY authorized source of purchasing an ISBN in the United States.)
Whether you want to purchase a stock for in-person events, run your very own merch shop online, or use a print-on-demand service to make it as hands-off, running a merch shop is a great idea for an indie author! Here are some resources to get you started.
Print-on-demand merch products and shop; popular for fandom merch and for small creators
Order many different items like stickers, standees, keychains, and more. Low minimum order quantities, and bulk discounts apply quickly.
Print-on-demand merch products and shop
Here are a couple popular self-publishing/printing companies. Each one has its own specialties—for example, IngramSpark is great if you want global distribution, and Lulu is fantastic if you want to order copies to sell at in-person events.
Just like blogs, YouTube channels contain tons of free info in bite-sized pieces.
Helping Writers Become Authors (K. M. Weiland)
Writing tips from the award-winning and internationally published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic.
Make Your Story Matter (Abbie Emmons)
Teaches writers how to make their stories matter by harnessing the power and psychology of storytelling, transforming their ideas into a masterpiece, and creating a lifestyle that makes their author dreams come true.